top of page
  • Stefan Riedlinger

Hoosiers - Jerry Goldsmith - Soundtrack Review

I have to apologize for the long break and not writing a new review for the last weeks. I was enrolled in a Project Management class at UC Berkeley Extension due to my full-time job at Google and was not able to update the website and write a new review, but now I will keep on track again. Thank so much for the high amount of views on my website in the meantime. This makes me really proud; otherwise I would be an author without an audience.

“Hoosiers” is one of my favorite soundtracks. It features a great combination of orchestra and synthesizer, has a wonderful main theme, and especially the last track with over 15 minutes is a wonderful piece of music. Goldsmith received another Academy Award nomination of this soundtrack, but in the end he lost again and did not win his second Oscar. This time Herbie Hancock with “Round Midnight” was the lucky guy.

The movie

"Hoosiers" is a 1986 American sports film written by Angelo Pizzo and directed by David Anspaugh in his feature directorial debut. It tells the story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. It is loosely based on the Milan High School team that won the 1954 state championship. Here is the trailer:

The movie stars Gene Hackman as coach of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. The script written by Angelo Pizzo is based loosely on the Milan High School team that won the 1954 state championship. Some critics mentioned that the heavy use of synthesizers it not suitable for a movie which is based in 1951 but this is really not a good argument. The movie is also shot by using modern cameras and modern film techniques, so why not having also a modern music?

Pizzo and Anspaugh shopped the script for two years before they finally found investment for the project. Despite this seeming approval, the financiers only approved a production budget of $6 million, forcing the crew to hire most of the cast playing the Hickory basketball team and many of the extras from the local community around New Richmond. Gene Hackman also predicted that the film was going to be a "career killer." Despite the small budget, dire predictions, and little help from distributor Orion Pictures, Hoosiers grossed over $28 million and received two Oscar nominations (Dennis Hopper for Best Supporting Actor and Jerry Goldsmith for Best Original Score).

Shortly after the film's release, five of the actors who portrayed basketball players in the film were suspended by the NCAA from their real-life college basketball teams for three games. The NCAA determined that they had been paid to play basketball, making them ineligible.

The music

A great idea is that Goldsmith used the ball dropping of a basketball on the floor and transformed this into music. For this approach, he recorded hits of basketballs on a gymnasium floor as additional percussion sounds. You can hear this especially in “You Did Good”, one of the best tracks of the soundtrack, “Get the Ball”, “The Pivot” and “The Coach Stays”. The last track offers a very nice version of the main theme with strings in the background.

When I first bought the soundtrack, I just get a CD with a few tracks on it. Intrada, and again Thank you Douglass Fake!, published 2012 the complete score on CD with much more music. I did not know about this expanded CD and discovered it a few weeks ago, and that was the reason for writing this review.

One of the new tracks I like very much is the track called “First Workout”, a short track, but I like it very much because of the heavy use of percussion and electronics. The rhythm of this track is wonderful, and you can really hear the ball dropping on the floor. In the last 25 seconds, you can hear again the wonderful main theme of the movie, in my opinion one of the best themes Goldsmith ever composed.

The last track “The Finals” is a marvelous piece of music. It builds slowly up (nearly two minutes), and then the main theme and the action music start to underscore the last match. In the last five minutes, the music is more lyrical and comes to a wonderful ending. My favorite part of this track is from 8.03 to 10.02.

Goldsmith, Pizzo and Anspaugh worked again together on the successful sports film “Rudy”, again a wonderful score that I will discuss in a few weeks. But now, enjoy the music to “Hoosiers”! Here I linked to the first minutes of the music with the wonderful main theme.

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2015, all rights reserved. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Stefan Riedlinger.

Jerry Goldsmith First Knight.png
Next review...
Latest reviews...
bottom of page