A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
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Popularity
4,029 ( 503)
10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Jake Shuttlesworth
Ray Allen ... Jesus Shuttlesworth
Milla Jovovich ... Dakota Burns
Rosario Dawson ... Lala Bonilla
Hill Harper ... Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
Zelda Harris ... Mary Shuttlesworth
Ned Beatty ... Warden Wyatt
Jim Brown ... Spivey
Joseph Lyle Taylor ... Crudup
Bill Nunn ... Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay Michele Shay ... Aunt Sally
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ... Sweetness
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Big Time Willie
John Turturro ... Coach Billy Sunday
Lonette McKee ... Martha Shuttlesworth
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Storyline

Tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation. Jesus and his dream to make it to the big ranks in professional basketball are overshadowed by his father, Jake, who is spending his life in prison for killing Jesus' mother. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A father's freedom depends on his son's choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexuality, some drug content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Soundtrack is a mix of Public Enemy and Aaron Copland; the former an early 90s hip-hop group, and the latter being what is considered a quintessential American composer. The juxtaposition of the two musical artforms seems appropriate for Spike Lee, and for the subject matter of basketball. See more »

Goofs

At first while D'Andre is touching Lala's neck, he's not wearing any ring - next scene he's wearing a silver ring on his ring finger. See more »

Quotes

Dom Pagnotti: When making a business decision, the only color that matters is green.
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Connections

Referenced in Sports Jeopardy!: Episode #1.22 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

He Got Game
Written by Chuck D, LuQuantum Leap and Stephen Stills
Contains a sample of "For What It's Worth"
Written by Stephen Stills
Performed by Public Enemy featuring Stephen Stills
Produced by Hank Shocklee & Keith Shocklee
Public Enemy appears courtesy of Def Jam Records
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User Reviews

A flawed film that still flies.
4 May 2003 | by ericb336See all my reviews

My two favorite Spike Lee movies are "Clockers" and "He Got Game" and they share similarities: both are about guys trying to keep integrity amidst characters whose primary motives are to persuade him to leave the path.

"He Got Game" gets the edge because I love basketball and because I'm a sucker for well done father-son conflicts. The basketball parts of this movie are absolutely brilliantly shot. Most sports movies share two commonalities: completely ridiculous storylines and actors who throw like sissies. He Got Game avoids both.

Okay, some parts of the story are hoky, but allowable. But what makes this movie work, similar to "Clockers" is that you get sucked into a main character whose nobility is tested at every turn. Will Jesus Shuttlesworth make it through the maze or fall prey to it? And will he be able to recognize that his father is not just one more flesh peddler? It makes for good drama. But above that, the basketball scenes just completely rock. They're examples of absolutely masterful cinematography and editing. In fact, the movie has some of the best montage sequences every put on film. Seriously.

Denzel is excellent in this movie. He plays a Jeckyll and Hyde and plays both sides well. This conflicted character was very easy to root for. (I can identify.) NBA perennial All-Star Ray Allen, while more than a little stiff at times, holds his own as a non-actor in a dramatic role.

He Got Game is a flawed piece of work: parts drag, it's not without its hokiness, and the subplot with Denzel and Jojovovich didn't quite fit. But the essential storylines work and play true: you believe in a conflict between father and son and you root for a high school basketball player who requires the wisdom of an adult to avoid the flesh peddlers. Kudos to Spike for not trying to hit us over the had with his message, but letting it unravel naturally.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

He Got Game See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,610,663, 3 May 1998

Gross USA:

$21,567,853

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,567,853
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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