Anspaugh made a smooth, engaging big screen directing debut with "Hoosiers" (1986), a nostalgic college basketball drama starring Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper. His follow-up feature, the little-seen "Fresh Horses" (1988), was less impressive, but five years later he re-teamed with the writer of "Hoosiers" and ventured back to collegiate sagas with "Rudy" (1993), a deliberately modest but appealing true story of a college student who overcomes his short stature to become a successful quarterback for Notre Dame. A sharp change of pace was "Moonlight and Valentino" (1995), which the director laughingly called "an estrogen-driven" film, as opposed to his former sports-related "testosterone films." Scripted by Ellen Simon and based on her own experiences, "Moonlight and Valentino" focused on a woman coping with her new status as a widow. His feature output was slowed in the late 90s due in part to a highly publicized battle with depression which was reportedly a factor in the break-up of his marriage to actress Roma Downey.