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The Hill’s Inspiring True Story Adaptation Has A Hidden Connection To 2 Of The Greatest Sports Movies Of All Time


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Summary

  • The Hill, a hit Netflix movie, tells the inspiring true story of Rickey Hill, a professional baseball player with a degenerative spine disease who defies all odds to pursue his passion.
  • Dennis Quaid stars in The Hill as Rickey’s concerned but involved father who believes his dream of becoming a baseball player is too difficult to achieve. Quaid had a busy year in 2023 with other notable acting roles.
  • The Hill shares a connection with two other classic sports movies, Hoosiers and Rudy, as all three were based on screenplays written by Angelo Pizzo. The director of The Hill aimed to recreate the success of Pizzo’s previous hit sports movies.


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The Netflix hit movie The Hill has a lesser-known connection to two of the best sports movies ever made. The Hill tells the miraculous true underdog story about real-life professional baseball player Rickey Hill, who defied all odds and expectations despite having a degenerative spine disease. The film, directed by Jeff Celentano (Breaking Point, Glass Jaw), was released in theaters back in August 2023 and debuted on Netflix on January 20, 2024, marking its first availability on any streaming service.

The Hill features Dennis Quaid in one of the busiest years of his illustrious acting career, having also starred in several other 2023 titles such as the Paramount+ miniseries Lawmen: Bass Reeves and the Max limited series Full Circle. Quaid portrays Pastor Hill, Rickey’s involved but concerned father who believes that Rickey’s road to becoming a professional baseball player is too difficult to sustain. Rickey, played by Jesse Berry and Colin Ford in The Hill, overcomes his physical limitations to follow his passion, much like another classic sports film.

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The Hill’s Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo Also Wrote The Sports Drama Classics Hoosiers & Rudy

The Hill shares a commonality with two other classic sports movies, Hoosiers (1986) and Rudy (1993), which were also based on screenplays written by Angelo Pizzo. Despite only helming a few screenplays, Pizzo has written some of the greatest and most inspiring sports movies of all time. He also wrote the story for Bleed for This (2016), The Game of Their Lives (2006), and My All-American (2015), a clear indication that Pizzo has a lot of sports drama experience under his belt.

Hoosiers was so beloved upon its 1986 release that it was nominated for 2 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Dennis Hopper and Best Original Score. Starring Gene Hackman as a formidable head coach, Hoosiers is still heralded as one of the best basketball films ever made. 1993’s Rudy, starring Sean Astin and Jon Favreau, is also cherished for its inspirational underdog spirit and has maintained its place as one of the most iconic football movies ever made for over three decades.

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The Hill’s Director Wanted To Recreate The Success Of Pizzo’s Previous Hit Sports Movies

Rudy being carried off the field

According to Deadline, Celentano points out the initial intention of The Hill mirroring the success of Pizzo’s 1993 movie Rudy, saying before production in 2021 “I’m setting out to make an iconic film in the classic sense, a beautiful sweeping and powerful inspirational story. One that will stand the test of time like Blindside, Rudy, Field of Dreams and The Natural.” Based on the recent success of The Hill on Netflix, it’s clear that Celentano and Pizzo have succeeded in capturing the classic underdog spirit of the beloved sports genre.

Source: Deadline

The Hill 2023 Movie Poster

The Hill

The Hill is a sports-drama biography about Rockey Hill, a baseball player who suffered from a degenerative disease but battles to overcome his condition to achieve his life-long dream of playing in the MLB. Despite protests from his family and community faith leaders, Rickey will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Release Date
August 25, 2023

Director
Jeff Celentano

Cast
Dennis Quaid , Colin Ford , Joelle Carter , Randy Houser , Jesse Berry , Bonnie Bedelia , Scott Glenn

Runtime
126 Minutes

Writers
Angelo Pizzo , Scott Marshall Smith

Studio(s)
Vitamin A Films , Rescue Dog Productions , Piney Pictures

Distributor(s)
Briarcliff Entertainment

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