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White Men Can't Jump

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

White Men Can't Jump
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Shelton
Written byRon Shelton
Produced by
  • David V. Lester
  • Don Miller
  • Michelle Rappaport
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited by
  • Kimberly Ray
  • Paul Seydor
Music byBennie Wallace
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 27, 1992 (1992-03-27)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$31 million[1]
Box office$90.8 million[2]

White Men Can't Jump is a 1992 American sports comedy film written and directed by Ron Shelton. It stars Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as streetball hustlers. The film was released in the United States on March 27, 1992, by 20th Century Fox.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was a box office success. A loose video game adaptation was released in 1995, while a remake film was released in 2023.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Ballers | White Men Can’t Jump | 20th Century Studios
  • WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP Clips (1992) Woody Harrelson & Wesley Snipes
  • Official Clip 'Don't Worry' | White Men Can’t Jump | 20th Century Studios
  • White Men Can't Jump | #TBT Trailer | 20th Century FOX
  • White Men Can't Jump (2023) Movie Review



Billy Hoyle is a former college basketball player who makes his living by hustling streetballers who assume he cannot play well because he is white. Sidney Deane is a talented but cocky player who is twice beaten by Billy, once in a half-court team game and later in a one-on-one shootout for money.

Billy and his live-in girlfriend, Gloria Clemente, are on the run from the Stucci brothers, mobsters to whom he owes a gambling debt. A voracious reader who frequently makes note of obscure facts, Gloria's goal in life is to be a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy! and make a fortune. Sidney wants to buy a house for his family outside the rough Baldwin Village neighborhood. He proposes a business partnership with Billy where they will hustle other players by deliberately setting them up to pick Billy as Sidney's teammate. At first, their system is very successful, but when they unexpectedly lose a game, it turns out that Sidney had double-crossed Billy by deliberately playing badly to avenge his earlier loss to him, causing Billy to lose $1,700 to a group of Sidney's friends.

Gloria, who wants Billy to find a stable job, is incensed at Billy for blowing his money again, but realizes he was hustled after Billy tells her how it happened. They go to Sidney's apartment and appeal to his wife, Rhonda. The women agree to share the money, provided Sidney and Billy team up for a major two-on-two outdoor tournament. Despite their constant bickering, Sidney and Billy win the tournament and the grand prize of $5,000, largely due to Billy's ability to disrupt his opponents' concentration. Billy's most notable claim is that he is "in the zone", a state of mind in which nothing can distract him. Sidney is pleased with the outcome, but he cannot help mocking Billy about his inability to slam dunk.

Billy insists that he can indeed dunk, and after Sidney disagrees, Billy offers to bet his share of the $5,000 on his ability to dunk. Sidney gives him three chances, telling him "white men can't jump". Billy fails and squanders his share. When he tells Gloria, she leaves him. Desperate to get her back, Billy goes to Sidney for help. Sidney reveals that he has a friend who works as a security guard at the TV studio that produces Jeopardy! His friend, Robert, agrees to use his connections to get her on the show if Billy can sink a hook shot from beyond the half-court line, which he does. Gloria initially stumbles over sports questions (such as naming Babe Ruth as the all-time NBA rebound leader), but makes a comeback with a pet topic, "Foods That Begin With the Letter Q". She wins $14,100 on her first episode.

Billy sings Gloria a song he has composed and wins her back. As Billy and Gloria discuss their new future, Sidney approaches Billy for help: His apartment was burglarized and his winnings were stolen. He and Rhonda are desperate for money, so they can move to a better neighborhood. Gloria is expecting Billy to get a steady job and settle down, but Sidney informs him that two hoops legends of the L.A. streetball scene, "The King" and "The Duck", are playing at the courts downtown. Sidney asks Billy to partner with him to play against them. Billy enthusiastically agrees, offering to gamble his share of Gloria's take. Gloria warns that if Billy gambles with her money, they are through, even if he and Sidney win. Billy sides with Sidney, feeling he must honor the obligation he owes Sidney for getting Gloria on Jeopardy!. They play a final game against King and Duck. In a very tight game, Sidney and Billy prevail, the winning point coming when Sidney lobs an "alley-oop" pass to Billy, who dunks it.

Billy returns home, happy for having doubled his share of Gloria's winnings, but he is crushed to find that Gloria has kept her word and left him for good. The mobsters who are after Billy find him, and he pays off his debts. Billy asks Sidney to set him up with a real job, and Sidney remarks that Billy and Gloria may be better off without each other. The film ends as Billy and Sidney launch into yet another basketball argument and return to the court where they first met to play a one-on-one game, this time as friends.



Ron Shelton conceived of the idea for the film while he was working on a script for another movie, Blue Chips. He had been writing a scene that takes place on a playground and became interested in the "wonderful craziness that goes on behind those chain link fences".[3] Shelton drew on his experiences as a former college basketball star and a regular at YMCA pickup games in Hollywood for the script.[3] Shelton said he "love[d] the theater of [basketball], the posturing and the rituals."[3] Shelton put aside work on the Blue Chips script to concentrate on White Men Can’t Jump.[3]

Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks player and Hall of Famer, was hired as the basketball coach for the film.[4] Harrelson, Snipes, and other cast members attended an intensive month-long basketball camp to prepare for filming.[3][5] During camp and film production, Lanier noted that between the two of them, Harrelson actually was the better player.

The character of Gloria was originally conceived as "an upper-class white girl at Smith or Barnard who runs away with a bad boy."[5] However, actress Rosie Perez left a lasting impression on Shelton when she said she could not audition because she was "having a bad hair day", and he reconfigured the character to cast her.[3]

Marques Johnson has a supporting role as Raymond, who loses a game to Snipes and Harrelson.[6] Johnson was a star player for UCLA's 1974–75 national championship team coached by John Wooden and later played for the NBA's Bucks, Clippers, and Warriors. According to Johnson, former NBA player Reggie Harding was the inspiration for the character of Raymond.[7]

Freeman Williams, who played "Duck" Johnson,[3] also had a distinguished NBA career, playing for the Clippers, Jazz, and Bullets from 1978–86.

NBA player Gary Payton made an uncredited appearance as an unidentified street baller.[8]


Two soundtracks were released by Capitol Records. The first soundtrack using the film title was released on March 24, 1992, and consisted mostly of R&B. The soundtrack peaked at number 92 on the Billboard 200 and number 48 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and features the single "White Men Can't Jump" by Riff, which peaked at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. The accompanying music video featured Harrelson, Snipes and Perez.[9] AllMusic rated it two and a half out of five stars.[10]

The second album, titled White Men Can't Rap, was released on April 7, 1992, and consisted entirely of hip hop. It reached number 79 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. AllMusic rated it two out of five stars.[11] The only single coming out of the EP soundtrack was "Fakin' the Funk" by Main Source.

White Men Can't Jump soundtrack

  1. "White Men Can't Jump"- 3:35 (Riff)
  2. "Sympin" (Radio Remix)- 5:02 (Boyz II Men)
  3. "The Hook"- 3:43 (Queen Latifah)
  4. "Let Me Make It Up to You Tonight"- 4:30 (Jody Watley)
  5. "Don't Ever Let 'Em See You Sweat"- 4:19 (Go West)
  6. "I'm Going Up"- 3:40 (BeBe & CeCe)
  7. "Can You Come Out and Play"- 3:45 (The O'Jays)
  8. "Watch Me Do My Thang"- 3:58 (Lipstick)
  9. "If I Lose"- 4:04 (Aretha Franklin)
  10. "Jump for It"- 4:08 (Jesse Johnson)
  11. "Just a Closer Walk With Thee"- 3:07 (Venice Beach Boys)

White Men Can't Rap

  1. "A to the K" – 3:20 (Cypress Hill)
  2. "Area Code 213" – 4:28 (Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.)
  3. "Fakin' the Funk" – 3:30 (Main Source)
  4. "Freezin' Em" – 5:14 (Level III)
  5. "How to Act" – 3:14 (College Boyz)
  6. "Now You're Mine" – 2:55 (Gang Starr)


Box office

White Men Can't Jump grossed $14,711,124 in 1,923 theaters in its opening weekend, with a total gross of $76,253,806 in the U.S. and $90,753,806 worldwide[2][12] and was the 16th highest-grossing movie of 1992.

Critical response

The film received positive reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 75% based on 106 reviews, with an average score of 6.40/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "White Men Can't Jump provides a fresh take on the sports comedy genre, with a clever script and a charismatic trio of leads."[13] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 65 based on 28 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars, saying it was "not simply a basketball movie", praising Ron Shelton for "knowing his characters".[15] Janet Maslin from The New York Times praised Wesley Snipes for his "funny, knowing performance with a lot of physical verve".[16] The film was a favorite of director Stanley Kubrick.[17]

Year-end lists

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

In popular culture

The category "Foods that start with the letter 'Q'" was an actual category on an October 1997 episode of Jeopardy![19]

In 2009, Nike teamed up with the filmmakers of White Men Can't Jump to assemble the package of shoes inspired by the characters Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane.[20][5]

Video game

A video game based on the film for the Atari Jaguar console was released in 1995.[21][5]


In January 2017, Kenya Barris was developing a White Men Can't Jump remake with NBA star Blake Griffin and NFL player Ryan Kalil producing.[22] In March 2022, rapper Jack Harlow was cast in the film.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "PowerGrid: White Men Can't Jump". The Wrap. December 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "White Men Can't Jump". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved July 28, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "White Men Can't Jump". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  4. ^ "The 50 sport films you must see - #mybestsportfilm". BBC. April 5, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d Golianopoulos, Thomas (August 21, 2012). "You Either Smoke or You Get Smoked". Grantland.
  6. ^ Aschburner, Steve (January 14, 2019). "Q&A: Bucks legend Johnson not holding on to past glories". Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  7. ^ Marques Johnson Breaks Down His Top Career Moments. January 10, 2023. Event occurs at 32:01 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Wednesday Watch: White Men Can't Jump". March 25, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  9. ^ "Riff - Why Men Can't Jump". May 29, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2023 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Various Artists - White Men Can't Jump". AllMusic. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  11. ^ "Various Artists – White Men Can't Rap". AllMusic. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  12. ^ Dutka, Elaine (April 7, 1992). "Weekend Box Office : 'White Men' Outjumps 'Basic Instinct'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  13. ^ "White Men Can't Jump (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  14. ^ "White Men Can't Jump (1992)". Metacritic. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 27, 1992). "White Men Can't Jump". Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  16. ^ Maslin, Janet (March 27, 1992). "Review/Film; Oh Well, Jumping Isn't Everything". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  17. ^ Miller, Julie (February 13, 2013). "Stanley Kubrick Considered White Men Can't Jump One of His Favorite Films". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "Show #3008". Jeopardy. Season 14. Episode 24. October 1, 1997. NBC.
  20. ^ Halfhill, Matt (July 15, 2009). "Nike Hyperize "White Men Can't Jump"". Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  21. ^ ""White Men Can't Jump" -- but can they play ball? Atari Corp. launches "hoops" game with Team Tap peripheral". Business Wire. August 1, 1995. Archived from the original on September 5, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  22. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (January 17, 2017). "'Black-ish' Creator and Blake Griffin to Remake 'White Men Can't Jump'". TheWrap.
  23. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 3, 2022). "Jack Harlow To Star in 20th Century's 'White Men Can't Jump' Reboot Off His First Ever Screen Audition". Deadline. Retrieved March 10, 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 June 2024, at 02:16
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