Glory Road Parent Guide
Playing an all-black starting lineup in a college basketball team in Texas in the 60s has its risks.
Parent Movie Review
Sports stories, especially ones about the underdog, are as common as corn in Kansas. Yet when they’re told with passion (and a great soundtrack), they are one of the movie industry’s most inspiring genres.
In Remember the Titans, producer Jerry Bruckheimer tackled the racial tensions that erupted on a Virginia football squad during the early era of school desegregation. Now in Glory Road, he hits the hardwood with a historical tale of black players integration into collegiate basketball. Based on events from the sport’s 1966 NCAA season, the story focuses on the gutsy moves one determined coach makes in leading his interracial team to the final championship against the country’s top-rated contenders at the University of Kentucky.
A position at Texas Western (now University of Texas at El Paso) looks like a promotion for Don Haskins (Josh Lucas), the former coach of a high school girls’ squad. But with little to no recruitment funds and a dismal winning record, his chances of signing any top players are minimal. Nevertheless, he accepts the challenge, relying on his tough-minded tenacity and formidable spirit.
After failing to catch the attention of any high scorers at a recruitment meet, Don approaches Bobby Joe Hill (Derek Luke), an African American player who has been passed over by the other schools. With nothing to promise, except a chance to play, Don ultimately convinces the boy to sign up. Then the coach and his assistant Ross More (Red West) hit the highway, stopping in black neighborhoods along the way to scout out potential players.
When the bus finally rolls back into El Paso with a line-up of African American hoopsters, a wave of worried whispers ripples through the school administration and community boosters. On the court, an uneasy and suspicious relationship develops between the players and their white teammates when the squad is threatened with a loss of school funding. Outside of the gym, the new recruits endure racial slurs and personal attacks from some of the locals.
However, Haskins doesn’t sit on the bench looking for approval from anyone. Demanding hard work, discipline and grit from all of his players, he knows the only way to overcome the swell of prejudice is with a cohesive and winning team. Setting down strict rules and harsh penalties for breaking them, the coach begins to mold the beleaguered Texas Western Miners into a respectable squad.
With only brief profanities, the biggest penalty in this script goes to the repeated portrayals of drinking by the young athletes who face relatively minor consequences for their infraction of this team rule.
Despite the hostile climate in the community and the overall unrest surrounding interracial integration in sports, these athletes rise above their mistrust of one another and work to build an unbeatable team. Focusing on skill and heart rather than color, they and their coach set out to win a season and end up changing history.Directed by James Gartner. Starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release January 12, 2006. Updated April 13, 2020
Watch the trailer for Glory Road
Rating & Content Info
Why is Glory Road rated PG? Glory Road is rated PG by the MPAA for racial issues including violence and epithets, and momentary language.
Set in the turbulent 1960s, the script includes some offensive racial slurs, and brief depictions of violence against the black players, including one athlete who is beaten up. On a road trip, the boys find their hotel rooms vandalized and splattered with blood. Following the incident, the boys discuss taking retaliatory actions. Despite the rules, the team members sneak out of their dorm on several occasions and visit the local bar or house parties where they are shown drinking.
Page last updated April 13, 2020
Glory Road Parents' Guide
A local booster threatens to cut off his funding to the school when Coach Haskins recruits African Americans for the team. How does his attitude change during the film? What is behind his transformation?
What prejudices have to be overcome by the community? The Caucasian players? The African American players? What does Coach Haskins mean when he says, “Dignity is within you. Only you can give it away.”
Someone must make a stand in order to change history. What sacrifices do the coach and his family make? What fears do the players have to face? What other historical figures have taken simple but powerful positions?
Read a brief biography of Coach Haskins at the Basketball Hall of Fame site.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a Newberry Medal and Coretta Scott King Award Honor winning book about two African-American brothers who find common ground in basketball. Written by real-life NBA pro Stephen Curry, The Boy Who Never Gave Up tells the story of a young boy who was determined to make basketball his life, in spite of all the voices telling him he was too small.
The most recent home video release of Glory Road movie is June 6, 2006. Here are some details…
Walt Disney Home Entertainment helps you enjoy this DVD trip down Glory Road with an audio commentary by director James Gartner and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, as well as screenwriters Christopher Cleveland and Bettina Gilois.
Learn just how important work ethic was for Coach Haskins and journey into the world of the team portrayed in the movie by watching More Than a Game: Legacy of the Bear (a featurette highlighting Coach Haskins’ 38-year-long career, with commentary by Don Haskins and Pat Riley), Surviving Practice (a look at Coach Haskins’ grueling four-hour per day practice schedule, with commentary by NBA star Tim Hardaway) and extended interviews with the real University of Texas El Paso basketball team members that have played for Coach Haskins.
Deleted scenes and a portion of a music video by Alicia Keys are also included. Available in either wide or full screen presentations, the DVD provides audio tacks in English (Dolby Digital 5.0), Spanish and French, with subtitles in Spanish and French.
Related home video titles:
In The Basket, basketball becomes a unifying force for a group of students when their teacher uses it as part of his program to help them overcome their prejudice toward two German refugees. Two documentaries follow aspiring athletes in their journey toward the NBA. Hoop Dreams focuses on two inner-city kids from Chicago and The Year of the Yao tracks China’s first citizen to play in the national league. For another sports drama about race in America, Remember the Titans tells the true story of an African-American football coach struggling to integrate a high school team.