Cinema: Knight-Errant Hoosiers

Directed by David Anspaugh Screenplay by Angelo Pizzo

The first time Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) meets his new team, everyone witnessing the encounter knows intuitively that whatever obstacles lie in their path, the Hickory Huskers are going to win the high school basketball championship of Indiana this season.

This conviction arises not from any air of promise about them but from their total lack of it. Norman and his charges are such stuff as Rocky Balboa and the Karate Kid are made of -- not to mention old Frank Capra movies. The coach is a Knight-errant, a good man with a blemish on his record that only redemptive...

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