Believe in Me (2006 film)

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Believe In Me
Believe in me (poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Collector
Produced by Caldecot Chubb
John Bard Manulis
Written by Robert Collector
Starring Jeffrey Donovan
Samantha Mathis
Bruce Dern
Music by David Torn
Cinematography James L. Carter
Edited by Anthony Redman
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date(s)
  • February 6, 2006 (2006-02-06)
(Santa Barbara International Film Festival)
Running time 131 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Believe In Me is a 2006 American drama film directed by Robert Collector. The film stars Jeffrey Donovan, Samantha Mathis, and Bruce Dern. The film was shot in various locations in New Mexico. The film is based on the novel Brief Garland by Harold Keith. The novel is about Keith's real life nephew, Jim Keith.[1][2]


In early 1960s Oklahoma, a time of economic distress and small town politics, high school sports are an integral part of the town's fabric and pride, but girls' sports are an afterthought and warrant little or no attention. Clay Driscoll, a young coach with big dreams, is hired by the local superintendent to coach boys' basketball. Clay immediately finds himself head-to-head with Ellis Brawley, the town's ultimate boss, great-great grandson of the town's founder, owner of the bank and head of the school board. Clay is crushed by the news from Brawley that the job of boys’ coach has gone to “someone more qualified” and that he will be coaching the girls’ team.

With his dream dashed and his future uncertain, Clay begins a journey from despair to acceptance, challenge, and finally destiny. Supported and inspired at every hurdle by his wife Jean's wisdom and strength, Clay decides to stay and take on the seemingly impossible task of coaching the hapless Lady Cyclones. Lacking confidence, the rag-tag girls are ridiculed by the boys for wearing their oversized hand-me-downs, for even trying to play ball. But Clay learns as much from "his girls" as he teaches them. The Lady Cyclones are challenged at every step by a dismissive school board and the ever-present 1960s small-town attitude that girls just shouldn’t be playing competitive sports. Through it all, Clay and Jean fight the system, support the girls, work to heal a wound in their own marriage, and turn around what was a neglected stepchild program with a long history of losing. The community eventually rallies behind Clay and the girls as they strive to achieve the unbelievable — the State Championship.


  • Jeffrey Donovan as Clay Driscoll
  • Samantha Mathis as Jean Driscoll
  • Bruce Dern as Ellis Brawley
  • Bob Gunton as Hugh Moreland
  • Chris Ellis as Jim Stovall
  • Ryil Adamson as Myerson
  • Pamela Atherton as Ruth Selman
  • Kristin Brye as Pat Thompson
  • Mike Carlucci as Basketball TV Announcer (voice)
  • Paula Criss as Mrs. Blair
  • Camilla DeRamus as Mrs. Johnson
  • Jamie Dickerson as Liz Blair
  • Sean Dugan as The Heckler
  • Chris Ellis as Jim Stovall
  • Brandi Engel as Candy Brown
  • Chelsea Grear as Melba Johnson


Shooting locations[edit]

The film was shot in the following locations, all in New Mexico: Albuquerque, Clovis, Elida, Floyd, Moriarty and Portales.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

When the film made its debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Robert Koehler, the film critic for Variety magazine gave the film a mixed review due to the numerous basketball films that were released during the time; he wrote, "Even with ties to the true story of high school hoops coach Jim Keith and his unlikely triumph with a 1960s Oklahoma high school girls' squad, the hackneyed, overlong Believe in Me is much too similar to a recent flood of inspirational basketball pics to distinguish it. Carefully -- perhaps too much so -- crafted by writer-director Robert Collector as a tale of overcoming tall odds, pic will send out minor ripples in a large ocean of similar midrange indie projects and will have a hard time scoring in any commercial niche."[4]

On the other hand, Entertainment Tonight's film critic Leonard Maltin gave it three stars and wrote "Sincere heartland story rises above its familiar sports-underdog formula. Donovan and Mathis (as his supportive wife) are first rate."[5]



  • Jackson Hole Film Festival: Cowboy Award, Best Feature Film, Robert Collector; Best Score, David Torn. 2006
  • Jackson Hole Film Festival: Rosemount Diamond Award, Robert Collector. 2006.


  1. ^ Griffis, Molly Levite (Summer 2007). "Believe in Me". Sooner Magazine (University of Oklahoma) 27 (4): 25–27. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  2. ^ Believe In Me at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ IMDb. Believe In Me, "Filming Locations" section. Last accessed: February 10, 2010.
  4. ^ Variety. Film review, March 5, 2006. Last accessed: February 10, 2010.
  5. ^ Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide

External links[edit]