Starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight, Tatyana Ali, Mehcad Brooks
Directed By: James Gartner
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com link
An inspirational true story that changed the face of basketball, and one small Texas town during the 1966 NCAA Basketball season, Glory Road is an exciting and entertaining sports film. Starring Josh Lucas as Coach Don Haskin, who was the first coach to start 5 African American players in the NCAA championships, went on to become one of the best coaches in NCAA history, and his talent is evident in Glory Road. Tough issues abound like racism overwhelms the players, and give them the ability to rise and overcome it. Glory Road is a great companion film for Remember The Titans and Friday Night Lights.
The year is 1966 and racism is still a huge concern of the nation. It would definitely test the wills of several people in El Paso, Texas during that year. To help get his college career moving, Coach Haskins (Lucas) goes all over the country looking for the best players to start for Texas Western. Compared to players that were all white for Kentucky, Haskins and Texas Western recruited 7 African American players to start for his ball club. This was a huge controversy because no one before has ever done that. Haskins didn’t care. He wanted to play the best players for his team, but deep down I think Haskins was looking to make a point. Adding to the troubles to the team, people looked at Haskins differently because it was his first season with Texas Western and before that he was a High School girl’s coach. That was another taboo during that time. As the season progressed, spectators throughout the town and country realized that Haskins was no joke as the team played great and had continued success. The team had great chemistry and camaraderie amongst both white and black players. The players would always try and sneak out for a night on the town, and that meant that most likely Haskins would catch them too. Practice was seen to be even harder than the games because Haskins preached Defense first, offense second. As any player would say, offense is the fun part of the game. The defense first attitude would definitely help them out in the home stretch of the NCAA finals that’s for sure. Coming together, the men of Texas Western bonded and united to show the world they meant business, and that nothing would stand in their way.
Glory Road features a few featurettes that are nice. Featuring the real players of that magical 1966 season and several well known players that have played for Coach Haskins over the years are also interviewed. Some of the well known faces are Pat Riley and Tim Hardaway. One featurettes shows highlights from Coach’s Haskins career as well as interviews with himself, and his players. The other featurette gets extended interviews about the whole 1966 season, who Haskins was a person and what each team member meant to each other. The featurette all in all was a nice retrospect. During the production of filming, the director James Gartner and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer invited Haskins to join them in training and help run a practice for the day. “Surviving Practice” shows briefly what that entailed. For being retired, Haskins is certainly not ready to relax, as he was barking orders and tips to the actors playing the real players. Other extras featured are a music video, for Alicia Keys’ “Sweet Music,” deleted scenes, and two audio commentaries.
Glory Road is a great story that helps give a better understanding what a hardship it was to be an African American during the 60s, especially in Texas. While its themes resemble Remember The Titans, it has better humor in the film than “Titans” but overall stands next to the film as a great companion piece and exciting sports story.
-Legacy of the Bear: Highlights of Coach Haskins’ Illustrious Career
-Surviving Practice: An Inside Look Into Coach Haskins’ Training Regimen
-In Their Own Words – Remembering 1966: Extended Interviews with Players and Colleagues of Coach Haskins
-Alicia Keys Music Video – “Sweet Music”
-Two Audio Commentaries
-Director James Gartner & Producer Jerry Bruckheimer
-Writers Chris Cleveland & Bettina Gilois
-ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
-SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
-FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
-Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: Recruitment, Training, NCAA Championships
Running Time: 118 minutes