From football to bobsledding (no, really – check out Cool Runnings) … almost every sport has been covered in some form on film. Even if you don’t play, watch or talk about sport (and we’re not judging), there’s a great sport film waiting just for you. Don’t believe us? Here are some of the best sport-related flicks just waiting for the game to start.
Invictus, starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman and directed by Clint Eastwood, is a real-life fairy tale. South Africa had been barred from world sport for years because of its apartheid government, but after the country elected its first black president, Nelson Mandela, it was given the chance to host the Rugby World Cup.
The film focuses on Mandela’s battle against his political comrades who hate rugby, and see it as the oppressor’s sport. He and Springboks’ captain Francois Pienaar must overcome decades of hate and mistrust to carry the rainbow nation forward. Would it be too much to ask for a win against the ferocious All Blacks? There’s far more at stake than an egg-shaped ball and a high goal post. The film captures the divides and hopes of a nation on the brink of huge uncertainty and change.
Susan Ramsay, Editor
Space Jam (1996)
Sport movies are almost always tearjerkers that focus on an underdog team overcoming adversity, often based on race ( Invictus, The Blind Side), gender (Bend It Like Beckham), or utter inexperience (the hilarious Cool Runnings). But Space Jam is different; it features real basketball superstars – including NBA legend Michael Jordan – playing with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. And while there’s a lot riding on the final game, it’s all gloriously nonsensical, with plenty of cartoon physics. That, along with the plentiful cameos, makes this a sports film with a welcome difference.
Karly Cox, Deputy editor
Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone, is a cult classic. On the surface, it’s a film about boxing, but ultimately, it’s a motivational film about a man who is struggling to succeed. Everyone can relate to that, and this film can give anyone the drive and motivation to excel at the task in hand, whether it’s sport or studies. Plus, it has one of the greatest training montages ever.
Lucy Christie, Sub-editor
She’s The Man (2006)
She’s The Man isn’t as deep and profound as other movies of this genre, but it is a fun and mindless rom-com that’s loosely – and I do mean loosely – based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Viola (Amanda Bynes) dresses as a boy to impersonate her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) at his new school, all so she can beat her previous school’s football team to get back at her ex-coach for cutting the girls’ team. No, there was no football in Twelfth Night. Anyway, the cross-dressing Viola sets off a crazy-confusing love triangle … make that square … nope, penta … oh, it’s a love hexag … OMG, NO! It’s a love heptagon! And a ball gets kicked around and whatnot.
Heidi Yeung, Web sub-editor
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
If you’re looking for a movie that will encourage you to take on anything – even the impossible – then look no further than Eddie the Eagle. It’s based on the true story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), a British man who dreamed of taking part in the Olympics since he was 10 years old. Unfortunately, he was never good enough at any sport to play at an Olympic level. But then, in the run-up to the 1988 Winter Olympics, he meets a former champion ski jumper who agrees to train him in the event. His underdog story is filled with joy and pain, and you’ll find yourself cheering him on through it all.
Tiffany Choi, Junior reporters’ manager
Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
Parminder Nagra stars as Londoner Jess who loves football, but can’t play because her Sikh parents say it’s not for women. She secretly joins a local women’s football team, where she makes friends with Jules (Keira Knightley), develops a crush on coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and helps the team climb to the top of the local league. What will happen when her parents find out she has disobeyed their rules?
This is a film about a girl caught between who she feels she is, and who she is expected to be. Sure, there’s a lot of football talk but there are also a lot of societal issues that get kicked around (ha), too. What is life like for a woman of colour in a primarily white society? Can she fit in with two opposing cultures? How does one make perfect round chapatis? This film touches on everything: racism, gender norms, sisterhood, family expectations ... and one girl’s ultimate love of the game.
Ginny Wong, Sub-editor
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Not exactly the moving and inspirational stuff you get from your usual sports movies, Dodgeball is in fact a parody of the cliché of an underdog team of players standing up against “the man” and beating them in the sporting arena. Irreverent and goofy, it is a good laugh and it still has a place in pop culture today.
Wong Tsui-kai, Web reporter
A psychological sports thriller based on a real-life story. Steve Carell plays John du Pont, a multi-millionaire who loves wrestling, and makes it his mission to coach promising wrestlers for international events. He recruits US Olympic gold medallists Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who get close to du Pont – and feel the full extent of his paranoia when things start to unravel. Sports fans familiar with how the events played out in real life will know how the story ends, but that still doesn’t take away from the heart-racing climax.
Lauren James, Reporter
Set in India when it was still under British rule, this Bollywood movie uses cricket to show the conflict between India and Britain. Lagaan shows how a sport can help break through an unfair society, as cricket brings together people from different castes to fight against the repressive rule of the British. Even though this movie isn’t based on a true story, it gives you a glimpse of Indian history and the different social classes.
Ben Pang, Reporter
Blades of Glory (2007)
Blades of Glory focuses on the world of figure skating. Will Ferrell stars as the charismatically crude Chazz Michael Michaels, the sport’s long-reigning king, who is starting to be upstaged by newcomer Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). When their rivalry leads to an on-ice scuffle, both skaters receive a lifetime ban from men’s figure skating. But Jimmy’s coach discovers a loophole: even though he’s banned from men’s skating, Jimmy can still compete in the pairs category. Unfortunately it’s too late to find a partner in time for the Winter Games, so the coach has the radical idea to have Jimmy and Chazz skate together as the world’s first same-sex pair. Can they put their hatred behind them and work to win Olympic gold? Who cares? It’s hilarious.
Sam Gusway, Sub-editor
The Blind Side (2009)
This biographical film is about a family’s ability to love, and one lonely and traumatised boy’s struggle to overcome his past – and yeah, his brilliance at a game that plays a huge part in American life. Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), has run away from every foster home he has ever been in, until Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) offers him a home for the night. One night turns into a week, which turns into a month, which ... well, you know. The Tuohy family instantly accepts Michael, and he discovers a talent for American football that will eventually take him all the way to the top.