Glory Road (2006)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, Sport


Glory Road (2006) Poster

In 1966, Texas Western coach Don Haskins led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.


7.2/10
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9 March 2006 | Buddy-51
7
| conventional but entertaining sports flick
"Glory Road" tells the true story of Don Haskins, the basketball coach for Western Texas College, who in the mid 1960's, broke the color barrier in the NCAA by being the first to feature a majority of black players on his team. The movie chronicles the obstacles he and his players faced, as well as their ultimate triumph when the team won the national championship in 1966.

"Glory Road" worships at the altar of just about every underdog-sports-movie cliché one can imagine, yet the viewer can't help getting caught up in its story anyway. The scenes in the first half of the movie definitely have a familiar ring to them, as we see the coach first alienating his players with his hardnosed tactics, then winning them over by building comradeship and showing them how much they can accomplish when they work together as a team rather than as individuals. However, as with "Remember the Titans," "Glory Road" is more interested in examining the social background of its time period than in merely telling yet another sports-oriented David and Goliath tale. The second half of the film concentrates more on the overt racism the team members face and the surprising courage they and their coach demonstrate in confronting it (could this really be set a mere 40 years ago?). The young actors are uniformly excellent, but it is Josh Lucas as Coach Haskins who delivers the powerhouse performance here. And director James Gartner manages to keep the film moving at a fast clip, never allowing it to get bogged down in message-mongering or overt preachiness.

Almost in spite of itself, "Glory Road" turns into a genuinely inspiring story about courage and determination in the face of societal pressure and incalculable odds. And that's pretty much what sports stories, familiar though they might be, are really all about.

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