They are the cinematic space where blood, sweat and tears combine, either for the greater good of the team, or as the modern incarnation of personal glory. The best sports movies all seem to follow a distinct emotional journey – one that includes sacrifice, failure, and eventual redemption. They are often full of inspirational force – but what is it that makes the best sports movies so powerful?
The films below each chronicle or challenge one or more of these qualities that Nelson Mandela touched upon in this quotation. Take a look at our choices and leave a comment if you think we should have picked something else!
4. Chariots of Fire
A winner of four Academy Awards (including Best Picture), Chariots of Fire tells the true story of two British sprinters vying for gold in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a driven Jewish athlete, runs to overcome prejudice and to achieve personal fame; his rival, Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), is a devout Scottish missionary and competes for the glory of God. The Film is an inspirational story of both spirit and strength in the face of enormous odds, combining the finest elements of athletic competition and human drama to create a compelling and timeless cinematic classic.
The Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) throws a cog in the system and defies conventional thought when he is forced to rebuild his small baseball team, on a limited budget. Despite facing opposition from the old guard of coaches, the vicious media, questioning fans and even his own field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane – along with the help of a young, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist (Jonah Hill) – develops a roster of misfits; and, along the way, forever changes the way the game is played.