Happiness is good for the body but sorrow strengthens the spirit.Source Unknown
- Directed by David Anspaugh and written by Angelo Pizzo.
- The film is loosely based on the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions, Milan High School.
Coach Norman Dale
- My practices aren't designed for your enjoyment.
- Welcome to Indiana basketball.
- I've seen you guys can shoot but there's more to the game than shooting. There's fundamentals and defense.
- [to player who is praying] Strap, God wants you on the floor.
- If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners.
- There's a, um tradition in tournament play- not talk about the next step until you've climbed the one in front of you. I'm sure going to the state finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there.
- [to Jimmy Chitwood] You know, in the ten years that I coached, I never met anybody who wanted to win as badly as I did. I'd do anything I had to do to increase my advantage. Anybody who tried to block the pursuit of that advantage, I'd just push 'em out of the way. Didn't matter who they were, or what they were doing. But that was then. You have special talent, a gift. Not the school's, not the townspeople, not the team's, not Myra Fleener's, not mine. It's yours, to do with what you choose. Because that's what I believe, I can tell you this: I don't care if you play on the team or not.
- [a player complains about the training] You are in the Army. You're in my Army. Everyday between three and five.
- Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team - no one more important that the other.
- Stick with your man. Think of him as chewing gum. By the end of the game, I want you to know what flavor he is.
- My team is on the floor.
- I love you guys.
- Jimmy Chitwood: I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.
- Jimmy Chitwood: I'll make it.
- Wilbur 'Shooter' Flatch: Clete, you tell him. Sectionals of '33, one point down. Five, four, three, two, one, let 'er fly... in and out. Yeah, well, I was fouled...
- Wilbur 'Shooter' Flatch: I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented.
- Wilbur 'Shooter' Flatch: You got to promise me that you're not gonna get thrown out of any more games.
- Wilbur 'Shooter' Flatch: Boys, we're gonna run the picket fence at em...Now, don't get caught watching the paint dry.
- Opal Fleener: Sun don't shine on the same dog's ass everyday, but, mister you ain't seen a ray of light since you got here.
- Player: [to shorter player] Didn't know they grew 'em so small on the farm.
- Merle Webb: Let's win this game for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here.
- Preacher Purl: [Just before the big game] And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen.
- Myra Fleener: Leave him alone, alright? He's a real special kid and, and I have high hopes for him and... I think if he works really hard, he can get an academic scholarship to Wabash College and can get out of this place.
- Coach Norman Dale: Why, do you have something against this place?
- Myra Fleener: A man your age comes to a place like this, either he's running away from something or he has nowhere else to go.
- Coach Norman Dale: What I'm doing here has nothing to do with you.
- Myra Fleener: Just stay away from Jimmy. I don't want him coaching in Hickory when he's fifty.
- Coach Norman Dale: First of all, let's be real friendly here, okay? My name is Norm. Secondly, your coaching days are over.
- George: Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with.
- Coach Norman Dale: Translate. That some sort of threat?
- George: I don't know why Cletus drug your tired old bones in here, he musta owed you somethin' fierce. Fact is, mister, you start screwin' up this team, I'll personally hide-strap your ass to a pine rail and send you up the Monon Line!
- [George angrily turns and storms out of the gym]
- Coach Norman Dale: Leave the ball, will you, George? [to himself] OK, let's see what kind of hand I've been dealt.
- Coach Norman Dale: You know, if everyone is as nice as you, country hospitality is gonna get an awful name.
- Myra Fleener: What a pleasant thing to say.
- [Strap is continuing his prayer as the team gets ready to leave the locker room]
- Coach Norman Dale: Strap?
- Coach Norman Dale: [to another player] How long is he going to go on like this?
- Rade: I don't know. He'll come when he's ready, not before.
- Coach Norman Dale: Hopefully that'll be sometime before tip-off.
- Myra Fleener: [about Jimmy Chitwood] You know, a basketball hero around here is treated like a god, er, uh, how can he ever find out what he can really do? I don't want this to be the high point of his life. I've seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.
- Coach Norman Dale: You know, most people would kill... to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.
- Gene Hackman - Coach Norman Dale
- Barbara Hershey - Myra Fleener
- Dennis Hopper - Shooter
- Sheb Wooley - Cletus
- Fern Persons - Opal Fleener
- Chelcie Ross - George
- Robert Swan - Rollin
- Michael O'Guinne - Rooster
- Brad Boyle - Whit Butcher
- Steve Hollar - Rade Butcher
- Brad Long - Buddy Walker
- David Neidorf - Everett Flatch
- Kent Poole - Merle Webb
- Wade Schenck - Ollie McClellan
- Scott Summers - Strap Purl
- Maris Valainis - Jimmy Chitwood