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4 Of The Best Sports Movies Everyone Should Watch

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?

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”Nelson

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

The Critics View – 84% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

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.

3. Moneyball

The Critics View – 94% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

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.

2. The Hustler

The Critics View – 98% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

Piling up with nine Academy Award Nominations, including Best Picture, The hustler remains a powerful and provocative masterpiece that explodes onto the screen. Paul Newman is electric with his brilliant portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson, an arrogant hustler whose wild ambition takes him to challenge legendary pool player Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) – but the stakes are higher than either of them could have imagined.

1. The Wrestler

The Critics View – 98% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

Darren Aronofsky directs this independent drama starring Mickey Rourke as retired professional wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, who had his heyday in the late 1980s as a headlining professional wrestler but is now reduced to eking out a living by performing in high school gyms and community centres in New Jersey. Estranged from his teenage daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and unable to sustain any real relationships, Randy lives for the thrill of the show and the adoration of his ever-dwindling fan base. When a heart attack forces him into retirement, his sense of identity starts to slip away, and he is forced to evaluate the state of his life. But his fumbling attempts to reconnect with his daughter and forge an on-going relationship with exotic dancer Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) are overshadowed by his strong desire to get back into the ring, whatever the cost.

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Featured Image: Rex Features

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Tom Pitts

Tom Pitts

Film Editor

Independent & foreign film aficionado, Pilsner lover and Rocket League troll. I’m a big fan of the work of directors like Wim Wenders and Wes Anderson, and a sucker for pretty cinematography. Will take an isometric, turn-based tactical RPG over an FPS any day of the week.


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