The best movies & documentaries about sport
23rd June 2020
Ozark Season 3 – Check.
Re-watched the Sopranos – Check
Tiger King – remember when that was a thing?
Ok, it’s been a long lockdown so if you feel like you’ve completed Netflix, so much so that you’ve defaulted to re-runs of Friends, let us give you the top recommended films and documentaries about sport to instil a little inspiration and ambition for when we’re back in the full sporting world.
1. Remember the Titans
The one that always gets mentioned when we ask people what their favourite film about sport is. Featuring legendary Denzel Washington, it follows the story of newly appointed African-American coach as he trains the high school team on their first season as a racially integrated team. One to watch for the motivational speeches alone. Oh, and it’s a true story.
Fun fact: After Boaz Yakin was hired as the director, producer Jerry Bruckheimer learned that he didn’t know anything about American football. He arranged for Yakin to attend a football camp, where he picked up enough information in two weeks to resume full-speed work afterwards!
Brad Pitt, mathematics and baseball on a budget. Not the sexiest sell but this film as Rotten Tomatoes says is “for anyone who has ever dreamed of taking on the system.”
Forced to build his baseball team, the Oakland As, on a tight budget, Manager Billy Beane turns to a mathematician to help him choose and bag bargain basement players, It brings you behind the scenes of the professional sports world where life is a bit less glamorous and much more cutthroat.
For anyone climbing the walls
3. The Dawn Wall
If climbing is your passion then you’ve most likely already seen this, but non-climbers will love it too. A documentary from Red Bull follows American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson as they attempt to free climb the 915m Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. After 6 years of methodically planning their feat, their attempt has the world watching. The pair lived for weeks on the sheer vertical cliff and just watching it will give you the confidence to take on any of your current challenges
4. Free Solo
Also starring Yosemite’s El Capitan, Free Solo follows Alex Honnold as prepares to climb the world’s most famous rock…without a rope. As you do.
It took him 8 years to work towards achieving his goal and as one of the world’s most famous climbers, his achievement is often heralded as the greatest athletic feats of any kind.
For the F1 fans
This award-winning documentary offers insight into the legendary Brazilian Formula One driver who was seen as the most gifted driver of his generation and tragically died at the age of 34. Using archived footage gives it a sense of real-time action rather than a posthumous biography, and portrays his compelling need to compete perfectly. His charisma, undeniable love of driving really, REALLY fast and his palpable rivalry with Alain Prost makes this film much more than just watching cars go round and round a track.
6. Drive to Survive
Trust us when we say that you don’t have to be an F1 fan to enjoy this series! Bringing us behind the scenes of the glamorous F1 life to meet the competitors and experience the tension and drama, between teams and teammates, the series shows us what it takes to become one of 20 people in the entire world to become an F1 driver! We challenge you not to try and binge-watch this one!
7. Le Mans 66
Also known as Ford v Ferrari, this film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It follows a team of determined American engineers and designers sent by Henry Ford II to build a new racing car with the ambition to finally beat the Ferrari team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans Race in France. Ford’s team has less than ninety days to change history! Do they succeed…?
The lesser known ones
8. 100 metres
This film is based on a true story of a guy who finds out he has multiple sclerosis. Rather than sitting back and accepting his fate, he decides to train for an ironman. His wife enlists her grumpy father to train him as a way to keep him occupied also and their fraught father-in-law/son relationship is played out over the training period. A heart-warming, yet a tear-jerking film that will have you signing up for some sort of sporting challenge by the end of it!
9. The Battered Bastards of Baseball
This Netflix documentary tells the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor league baseball team made up of no-hopers and underdogs, who was owned by Hollywood actor Bing Russell. He opened up tryouts for the team to the public and attracted the type of people who just wanted to play ball. Despite sceptics saying it would never work, the team went on to break attendance records, signed Kurt Russell (Bing’s son), produced the most successful batboy in Baseball and hired the first female general manager of Baseball. A true underdog story!