As Wimbledon advances toward the finals and Euro Football proves promising: we look at some movies about sports..
I think it’s quite difficult to ‘do’ sport on film. How much of the game does one show? How to engage the audience if they are non expert in the games under scrutiny? Do you make the film ‘about’ winning a specific event / prize, or is there some wider motif with the sport simply a means to that end? So may pitfalls. That’s why so few sports films imho get it ‘right’ or stand out as my favourites of all time in the pantheon of great cinema. But there are some gems out there and am happy to list them in no particular order..
- ROCKY / ROCKY 3 / ROCKY 4 / ROCKY BALBOA / CREED 2: Those are my choices in that particular series. Mostly upbeat, still underdog stories yet they do not wallow and you get a rollicking good ride from start to finish via the best montages. Happy Birthday, Stallone, btw!
- BULL DURHAM: It’s not so much about Baseball as it is sexual politics and management. Very sexy Susan Sarandon.
- CHARIOTS OF FIRE: Reinvented British cinema. Definitive running movie. Atmospheric. Great score!
- ESCAPE TO VICTORY: War movie meets world cup replay. High camp hokum fun. Stallone again!
- WIMBLEDON: Developed for Hugh Grant but Paul Bettany does a fair job in his place.
- COOL RUNNINGS: Heartwarming story about Jamaican bobsledders. John Candy’s final film.
- WHEN SATURDAY COMES: A just post GOLDENEYE Sean Bean shows us the fun of football.
- THE BEST OF TIMES: Kurt Russell meets Robin Williams in this underrated gem about scoring touchdowns.
- TIN CUP: Endearing rom-com about a Golf pro making a comeback. Rene Russo is charming here.
- ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: An early indication of Tom Cruise’s star-power (belated happy birthday btw, Tom!).
- LE MANS 66 AKA FORD V FERRARI: The moment I saw this movie I knew director James Mangold could handle Indy 5!
- BLUE JUICE: Surfing movie that serves also as a time capsule ode to the biggest and best of upcoming UK stars from the 90s.
- 42: Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman both brilliant here. Deserved a bigger fanfare.
- ANY GIVEN SUNDAY: Rough, tough, visceral, immersive, with Oliver Stone directing a first rate cast.
- THE KARATE KID: Wax on. Wax off. Come on, how can one assemble a sports film list and omit this? See also: Cobra Kai.
- CASINO ROYALE: This 2006 version is technically a sports film imho. Poker is a sport! Many celebrities play it, too. For more interesting facts, check out this article on celebrity poker players
There are many others, of course. This is by no means and exhaustive or definitive list. Feel free to suggest your own favourites. Meantime? GO ON ENGLAND! BACK O’ THE NET!