THE SPORTS GENRE
Sports movies are in a class of their own. If ever there were tales of the underdog triumphing over adversity you'll find them in sports movies. The classics are those that can reach into our souls and have us rooting for the little guy every single time. Raging Bull (1980), When We Were Kings (1996), Rocky (1976) and Chariots Of Fire (1981) epitomise the build-up for one last-gasp grab at glory. They hook us in, toy with our emotions, and if we're lucky give us the payoff of the big win at the end.
Now there are movies classed as sports but in reality, they don't have that special something that makes them true sports movies. I'm talking about the likes of Fast & Furious films that may be about racing but are really more action flicks. Or the Cars movies – seriously, who would consider them sports movies?!? Nope, I'm talking about Any Given Sunday (1999) or Bull Durham (1988). Heck, I'll even take The Mighty Ducks (1992) because at least that had all the elements for a bonafide sports film!
And no matter what your preferred sport is you can bet there's a movie about it. What is surprising though is that the ones based on real-life tend to be about individuals and not teams. According to encyclopedia.com, there are only eleven feature films about sports history that are not biography films. And even though they focus on teams such as The Harlem Globetrotters (1951) or A League of Their Own (1992), they still really only focus on two or three key players.
AMAZON PRIME SPORTS
DISNEY SPORTS FILMS
APPLE TV SPORTS FILMS
PARAMOUNT SPORTS FILMS
CLASSIC SPORTS FILMS
We may all love a truly great sports film but there is a downside. Hollywood has taught us that if we are determined enough and work harder than anybody else, that we will triumph and unfortunately that is a little bit of a fantasy as life just doesn't work that way. But even if we insert a little dose of reality into our movie-going, there is something incredibly inspirational about watching somebody try and fail only to try again and succeed. It makes us feel good. It allows to think that the world is fair.
But more than that, sports movies are unpredictable. You genuinely do not know what will happen. You know exactly what will happen in a romcom, you know the hero will triumph at the end of an action movie but you just never know with a sports movie. Sure, some of them stick to a formula but the best ones rattle us. Maybe the good guy won't win, maybe Rocky won't beat Drago. Can Daniel LaRusso really beat Johnny Lawrence (The Karate Kid)? Was Tonya Harding really the villain? Can white men actually jump?
It's the surprise we want. And with sports movies, it's what we get. So at least there's one genre left that isn't copying and pasting the same ‘ole tired tropes. And even these days, you can get as much from well-made sports documentaries as the movies themselves. There's more insight, greater revelations, and even more glory for the little guys. So if you want to watch a truly feel-good movie, get stuck into a sports film.
RECENT SPORTS REVIEWS
Here you can view our latest Sports movies and series reviews from major streaming services.
SPORTS HIDDEN GEMS
Here you can view hidden gems which you may have missed on original release.