Above the Rim

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This article is about the film. For the soundtrack to the film, see Above the Rim (soundtrack). For the song by Bell Biv DeVoe, see Above the Rim (song).
Above the Rim
Above the rim poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jeff Pollack
Produced by James D. Brubaker
Benny Medina
Jeff Pollack
Screenplay by Barry Michael Cooper
Jeff Pollack
Story by Jeff Pollack
Benny Medina
Starring Duane Martin
Leon Robinson
Tupac Shakur
Bernie Mac
Tonya Pinkins
David Bailey
Marlon Wayans
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • March 23, 1994 (1994-03-23)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.5 million
Box office $16,192,320[1]

Above the Rim is a 1994 American sports film co-written, storied and directed by Jeff Pollack in his directorial debut.[2] The screenplay was written by Barry Michael Cooper,[2] from a story by Benny Medina.

The film stars Duane Martin, Tupac Shakur, Leon Robinson and Marlon Wayans. The film tells the story of a promising New York City high school basketball star and his relationships with two people; one a drug dealer and the other a basketball star now employed as a security guard at his former high school. The movie was shot in Harlem with various scenes in the movie filmed at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics in East Harlem. Some of the basketball scenes were filmed at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, NY.


Kyle Watson (Duane Martin) is a talented basketball player who is about to graduate from high school. While he waits to find out if he will receive a scholarship to Georgetown University he finds himself in a difficult dilemma over a playground basketball tournament. He must decide whether to play for and follow his widely beloved basketball coach or Birdie (Tupac Shakur), a local thug in the neighborhood. Flip a homeless man remember playing basketball with Thomas "Shep" Shepard (Leon Robinson)a high school security guard. Kyle is also feeling resentment towards the security guard, because Kyle's own mother is falling in love with Shep.

Coincidentally, Kyle's coach also wants Shep to coach his team when he feels it is time for him to retire, since Shep was previously a star basketball player himself. It is later revealed to Kyle that Shep is Birdie's older brother. Kyle made a decision to run with Birdie's team until he decided to come back to his old team, because of Birdie's wrongful actions against Flip and Bugaloo. After Kyle's team won the tournament shootout, Motaw tries to kill Kyle until Thomas pushed him from getting shot, Motaw gets shot and killed by security, Bugaloo shoots and kills Birdie in the club. Kyle's mother and Thomas watch college basketball on television when Kyle makes the winning shot at Georgetown University. Due to the death of a friend, Nutso, Shep cannot bear the thought of playing again.



Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
U.S. U.S. R&B
1994 Above The Rim 2 1
  • US: Platinum


The movie was filmed in the summer of 1993. Allen Payne was the original choice to portray Kyle Watson, but was rejected by Pollack in favor of the lesser known Duane Martin.


Box office[edit]

The film was released on March 23, 1994, grossing $3,738,800 on opening weekend. At the end of its theatrical run, it had grossed a total of $16,192,320.


1995 MTV Movie Awards


It holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews. Peter Travers stated "It's Shakur who steals the show. The rapper's offscreen legal problems are well known, but there's no denying his power as an actor." Variety said "A fine cast and the movie's general energy can't overcome that mix of cliches and technical flaws, which should conspire to prevent any high flying at the box office."[3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]