6.7/10
69,210
75 user 38 critic

White Men Can't Jump (1992)

Black and white basketball hustlers join forces to double their chances of winning money on the street courts and in a basketball tournament.

Director:

Ron Shelton

Writer:

Ron Shelton
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Popularity
4,085 ( 1,049)

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4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wesley Snipes ... Sidney Deane
Woody Harrelson ... Billy Hoyle
Rosie Perez ... Gloria Clemente
Tyra Ferrell ... Rhonda Deane
Cylk Cozart Cylk Cozart ... Robert
Kadeem Hardison ... Junior
Ernest Harden Jr. ... George
John Marshall Jones ... Walter
Marques Johnson Marques Johnson ... Raymond
David Roberson David Roberson ... T.J.
Kevin Benton ... Zeke
Nigel Miguel ... Dwight 'The Flight' McGhee
Duane Martin ... Willie Lewis
Bill Henderson Bill Henderson ... The Venice Beach Boys
Sonny Craver Sonny Craver ... The Venice Beach Boys
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Storyline

Billy and Sydney think they're the best basketball hustlers in town, so when they join forces, nothing can stop them, except each other. To add to their problems, Billy owes money and is being chased by a pair of gangster types. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It ain't easy being this good. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 March 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los blancos no la saben meter See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$76,253,806

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$90,753,806
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the many lessons Ron Shelton learned from his time making Bull Durham (1988), the biggest may have been, "You've got to play." Yearning for credibility, he knew that he needed to find actors who could pass for ballplayers, so before he would let actors read for the project, weeks of pick-up games were set up. "I just threw a ball out there", he says. "That sort of weeded it out. Agents would call asking about their clients and I'd say, 'He can't play. He can't beat me, never mind these guys.'" It even meant ruling out high-profile up-and-comers like Keanu Reeves, as Shelton describes the Point Break (1991) star as a hard worker, but "not a basketball player." "Everybody who was anybody at the time and everybody who wanted to be somebody were all there for this audition", adds Snipes. With credits as a football player in Wildcats (1986) and a baseball player in Major League (1989) to his name, the actor was looking for the trifecta with a basketball role, his lack of jump shot be damned. "Wesley is not a great basketball player, but he is a great athlete, big distinction," explains Shelton. "When he showed up to audition, he just had more attitude than anybody. He walked on the court trash-talking and it didn't matter if he had any game. He showed up with more attitude and less jump shot than anybody." While Snipes doesn't dispute the assessment of his game, it's clear that from day one, he personified the cocky, confident Sidney. "I had great handles, great passing, great defense, but every shot I took was a brick", he laughs. "Every time I shot it, even if it didn't go in, I talked like it did. I made you believe that you were lucky it didn't go in." With the future star signed on, the search was still on for his deceptively talented and jumping-challenged partner. The prospect of reuniting with Harrelson, his Wildcats (1986) co-star, was enticing for Snipes. "I can neither confirm nor deny", he chuckles when asked about his past comments about leaving a hopeful Reeves out to dry during an audition in the hopes of helping Harrelson land the role. "Woody and Wesley had magic instantly", says Shelton. "Woody's a great counterpuncher. Wesley could come up with a funny line and Woody could steal the moment with his reaction. That's the key to chemistry, and you don't get it very often. You need two people who can't do what the other one does." To round out the main trio, Rosie Perez came in and made Shelton completely reimagine the role of Gloria, originally written as a white, upper-class Southern woman. "You can't invent that", he recalls of watching the actress become Gloria. "That's original." See more »

Goofs

As Billy is about to leave the apartment after the "drink of water" fight, Gloria's shirt is pulled to the side and her right breast is fully exposed. In the next shot of her she hasn't moved but the shirt is in a totally different position. See more »

Quotes

Gloria Clemente: [referring to Sidney] He lives in The Jungle, right?
Billy Hoyle: [while on a bus] No honey, we can't. They don't let white people into the Crenshaw District. I don't know about Puerto Ricans but it's a reverse discrimination thing.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, we can hear the classical 20th Century Fox Fanfare in a hip hop style. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some U.S. video versions are three minutes longer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blue Bloods: Hall of Mirrors (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

A to the K
Written by B-Real, Senen Reyes and Larry Muggerud
Performed by Cypress Hill
Courtesy of Ruffhouse / Columbia Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Woody and Wesley when dey was cool
12 March 2005 | by ztruk2001See all my reviews

Undeniably Hoosiers would get the win, if they ever polled film buffs and critics asking what the best movie is revolving around basketball. Hoosiers, the movie about a failing Indiana high school basketball team being led to success by their new coach played by Gene Hackman and the drunken assistant coach (Dennis Hooper) has enjoyed its fair share of the spotlight. Granted the field of movies about basketball isn't nearly as deep as say movies with plots concerning baseball or boxing, Hoosiers still generally beats out what little competition there is.

However in my opinion the best movie to ever capture the game of hoops is the criminally underrated and underseen White Men Can't Jump, by director Ron Shelton. Shelton also brought us the more popular baseball film Bull Durham and the golf flick Tin Cup. But I'd argue White Men Can't Jump is his centerpiece. The story revolves around two street court b-ball hustlers. One new in town, smooth, and white (Woody Harrelson), undoubtedly to his advantage. The other man, a black, a veteran of the LA courts, and fast-talking (Wesley Snipes). After Harrelson hustles Snipes the two form an unlikely partnership "ebony and ivory" but as always it is on edge and lacks a required amount of trust.

For a film that was released in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the L.A. riots and just before the O.J. Simpson debacle, White Men Can't Jump is surprisingly mature, witty, light hearted and open-minded in its approach to the race issue. Ron Shelton's dialogue is amazingly rapid fire and smart. It bites and certainly has a sting to it, but it's all in good fun. The multi-flamboyant personalities on the outdoor L.A. street courts hustler each other, crack "yo-mama" jokes with one another, and try to look better than the other. This is the movie that really put Wesley Snipes on the map and showed that Woody Harrelson was far more than just another face in the "Cheers" ensemble. Both provide excellent work in not only playing the characters but also learning how to play basketball and talk like actual street hustlers. There's very few standins here. Both Snipes and Harrelson learned to play the sport as well as any actor could be expected to. Rosie Perez is good as Harrelson's annoying and overbearing Puerto Rican girlfriend. If any one word can describe White Men Can't Jump, that word is "fun." The movie tackles serious issues like hustling, family, relationships, race, life in poverty, and gambling debts. However if Robert Rossen's pool hall film The Hustler presented the dark side of the life, Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump shows the flip side of the coin. How hustling can be fun and games.

Grade: A-


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