Sport is a great topic not only for pubs’ discussions, academic literature and news, but also an interesting theme for movies – comedies, documentaries, dramas, biographies, sience fiction, cartoons, whatever you like. Here you can find some suggestions for the sport movies I have seen. Enjoy watching them! 🙂
This film is not just about the Olympic race but more about the Human Race. Civil and Human Rights injustices were at it’s worst in the 60′s but one year in particular there was more happening than ever before. The Vietnam war, Assination of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr, Mexico City Students slaughtered in the streets for their part in protests and then a proposed boycott of the 68 Olympics by black nations. If there was a symbol of that decade it would have to be the symbol of strength, unity and stance. It was the “Black Power Salute” that populated the World more than any other story. When Tommie Smith & John Carlos raised their fists on the victory dais following the Olympic 200 metre final in Mexico City the repercussions were immediate. They were banished from the US olympic team and were subject to abuse and death threats on their return home. The third man on the dais had a similar experience, Australian silver medalist Peter Norman, who as punishment for his support of Smith and Carlos was reprimanded by the authorities and never ran for his country again.
Produced and directed by Norman’s nephew, Matt Norman, for the first time the complete story behind one of the most iconic images of all time is told. With never before seen interviews and footage, Salute is an inspiring and timely portrait of three competitors who became brothers.
INVICTUS (2009) (my favourite of course :))
Invictus is a 2009 biographical sports drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. While attending a game between the Springboks, the country’s rugby union team, and England, Mandela recognizes that the blacks in the stadium are cheering for England, as the mostly-white Springboks represent prejudice and apartheid in their minds; he remarks that he did the same while imprisoned on Robben Island. Knowing that South Africa is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup in one year’s time, Mandela persuades a meeting of the newly black-dominated South African Sports Committee to support the Springboks. He then meets with the captain of the Springboks rugby team, Francois Pienaar, with whom he develops a relationship of trust, respect and encouragement. Mandela also shares with François a British poem, “Invictus“, that had inspired him during his time in prison. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.
This is an emotional story about three outstanding top Athletes. Henry Wanyoike, a blind Marathon runner from Kenya, Kirsten Bruhn, paralyzed Swimmer from Germany and Kurt Fearnley, Australian Wheelchair racer. For over a year the film team around Michael Hammon followed these three Athletes on their daily routines. They gained a deep inside view into the private and professional lives and understood why they receive so much recognition in their countries and serve as role models within the educated society. They push to the limit every day, they support where there is need and they show us that inside each one of us lies something larger than life, something very valuable. The movie reaches its peak at the Paralympics in London 2012. The whole city celebrates the Athletes that have gathered from all around the world. People of all nations emphasize and cheer with the Athletes in front of their television sets at home. For 10 days London was in a state of pure excitement and taken up by a storm of the pure love for life which nobody could escape. This spirit made GOLD more than just a movie about exceptional Athletes. This documentary reminds you, that you can achieve much more than you think and that GOLD is in each and everyone of us.
It’s is a 2006 Iranian film directed by Jafar Panahi, about girls who try to watch a World Cup qualifying match but are forbidden by law because of their sex. Female fans are not allowed to enter football stadiums in Iran on the grounds that there will be a high risk of violence or verbal abuse against them.
A girl disguises herself as a boy to go attend the 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain. She travels by bus with a group of male fans, some of whom notice her gender, but do not tell anyone. At the stadium, she persuades a reluctant ticket tout to sell her a ticket; he only agrees to do so at an inflated price. The girl tries to slip through security, but she is spotted and arrested. She is put in a holding pen on the stadium roof with several other women who have also been caught; the pen is frustratingly close to a window onto the match, but the women are at the wrong angle to see it. The women are guarded by several soldiers. Part of the way through the second half of the game, the women are bundled into a bus, along with a boy arrested for carrying fireworks, and the soldiers ordered to drive them to the Vice Squad headquarters. As the bus travels through Tehran, the soldier from Tabriz plays the radio commentary on the match as it concludes. Iran defeats Bahrain 1-0 with a goal from Nosrati just after half time and wild celebrations erupt within the bus as the women and the soldiers cheer and sing with joy. The girl whose story began the film is the only one not happy. When asked why, she explains that she is not really interested in football; she wanted to attend the match because a friend of hers was one of seven people killed in a scuffle during the recent Iran-Japan match, and she wanted to see the match in his memory. The movie depicts the prohibition of attending football matches women have to endure in Iran very well and questions the sense of such policy that separates men and women in something that should be universal.
The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film, Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael “Big Mike” Oher. Michael has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael’s skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.
The American sports film is loosely based on the true story of the Jamaica national bobsled team’s debut in the bobsled competition of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Irving Blitzer disgraced himself when putting extra weights into his team’s bob in the Olympics, resulting in his gold medal being taken away from him. Years later, Derice Bannock, son to a former friend of Irv, fails to qualify for the 100-yard sprint for the Olympics due to a stupid accident. But when he hears of Irving Blitzer living also on Jamaica, Derice decides to go to the Games anyway, if not as a sprinter, then as a bobsledder. After some starting problems, the first Jamaican bobsledding team is formed and heads for Calgary. In the freezing weather Derice, Sanka, Junior and Yul are only laughed at, since nobody can take a Jamaican bobsledding team led by a disgraced trainer seriously. But team spirit and a healthy self confidence may lead to a few surprises in the upcoming Winter Games.
In 1999, Ken Carter, a successful sporting goods store owner, accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA, where he was a champion athlete. As much dismayed by the poor attitudes of his players as well as their dismal play performance, Carter sets about to change both. He immediately imposes a strict regime typified in written contracts that include stipulations for respectful behavior, a dress code and good grades as requisites to being allowed to participate. The initial resistance from the boys is soon dispelled as the team under Carter’s tutelage becomes a undefeated competitor in the games. However, when the overconfident team’s behavior begins to stray and Carter learns that too many players are doing poorly in class, he takes immediate action. To the outrage of the team, the school and the community, Carter cancels all team activities and locks the court until the team shows acceptable academic improvement. In the ensuing debate, Carter fights to keep his methods, determined to show the boys that they need to rely on more than sports for their futures and eventually finds he has affected them more profoundly than he ever expected.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when his is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Billy Beane is handicapped with the lowest salary constraint in baseball. If he ever wants to win the World Series, Billy must find a competitive advantage. Billy is about to turn baseball on its ear when he uses statistical data to analyze and place value on the players he picks for the team.Despite opposition from the old guard, the media, fans and their own field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane – 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.
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
Santiago’s father, Hernan Munez, smuggled his penniless Mexican family over the US border to seek a better, albeit modest future in L.A. Eldest son Santiago dreams of more, like native Angelinos, then joining Hernan’s gardening firm. His change arrives when a British ex-pro spots him as an exceptional soccer natural and promises he can arrange a real British talent scout to check him out. Although that falls trough and dad forbids it, Santiago accepts grandma’s savings to try out with English premier league club Newcastle. Despite his asthma, he gets in and befriends the freshly transferred, desperately undisciplined bad boy star scorer, party animal Gavin Harris, who becomes his bothersome house-mate, a recipe for trouble and yet each’s salvation.
Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice and to prove his place in Cambridge society. In a warmup 100 meter race, Eric defeats Harold, who hires a pro trainer to prepare him. Eric, whose qualifying heat is scheduled for a Sunday, refuses to run despite pressure from the Olympic committee. A compromise is reached when a nobleman allows Eric to compete in his 400 meter slot. Eric and Harold win their respective races and go on to achieve fame as missionary and businessman/athletic advocate, respectively.
Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra is the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs from Hounslow, west London. Jess is infatuated with football, but her parents have forbidden her to play because she is a girl. She plays in the park sometimes with her good friend Tony, a closeted homosexual, and his buddies, where her skills draw the attention of Juliette “Jules” Paxton, who plays for a local women’s team, the Hounslow Harriers. Their coach, Joe, is impressed with her play and puts her on the team. Jess pretends to have a job to play with the team, and Jules and Jess become fast friends, despite the fact that both are attracted to Joe. Jess enlists the aid of her sister to cover for her when the team travels to Germany for a big match, but everything unravels when Jules spies Joe kissing Jess, and then her parents find out and forbid her to continue. Meanwhile Jules’ mother wrongly fears her daughter is a lesbian, thinking the girls’ spat is a lovers’ quarrel, and Jess’ parents are confronted by a similar accusation before Jess reveals the truth about her attraction to Joe. While the elder Bhamras are distracted by the elaborate preparations for the upcoming wedding of their older daughter, Pinky, Jess continues to play, and the Harriers make their way towards the top of the league. Joe encourages Jess to come clean with her parents, and eventually approaches Mr. Bhamra to explain she has a chance to win a prestigious scholarship, but he refuses to believe it. Jess and Jules must sort their differences, make peace with their parents, overcome cultural prejudice, win their way to prestigious scholarships to Santa Clara University in California, and most importantly, dance at a big fat Indian wedding.
Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 sports drama film directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. It is the story of an under-appreciated boxing trainer, his elusive past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer (the film’s title character) achieve her dream of becoming a professional. Frankie Dunn has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend, Scrap, an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie’s gym, knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has been seeking, for the past 25 years, the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym – a poor thirty-one year old waitress from the very lower classes and with a dysfunctional loser family, decides to make a difference through boxing. She convinces Frankie Dunn to coach her and be her manager, with the support of his old partner Scrap, who sees her potential as a boxer. Frankie has a problematical relationship with his daughter, and practically adopts Maggie along her career.
AFRICA UNITED (2010) – my second favourite football movie, a really positive one! 🙂
The extraordinary story of three Rwandan kids who walk 3000 miles to the Soccer World Cup in South Africa. On the way to the vital selection trial, disaster strikes when Fabrice, Dudu and Beatrice board the wrong bus and cross into the Congo. Without papers, money or a believable story, they are escorted to a children’s refugee camp. Using a sack load of ingenuity and sass (and a World Cup wall chart for a map), our pint-sized protagonists set off through the endless horizons of Africa in pursuit of an unlikely dream. And as they walk they gather a tribe – a ragamuffin team – of broken and brilliant characters who help them negotiate a way through a series of glorious, dangerous, hilarious and often bizarre situations. Through these kids, we will encounter an Africa few people ever get to see; experience the hard reality of an epic walk through seven countries; as well as the joy, laughter and hope – ‘the ubuntu’ – that comes from making an incredible journey together.
“The Football Factory” focuses on two different groups of English football supportersthe Headhunters, who support Chelsea, and the Bushwhackers, who support Millwall. Throughout the movie, the Headhunters fight with other English groups such as those supporting Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, and Stoke City. The film follows Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer), a football hooligan in his late 20s who has begun to question his morals and the morals of those around him. Tommy’s major conflict in the film stems from his inevitable aging. Although he loves his weekend ‘meets’, he knows he cannot possibly play forever. The Football Factory is more than just a study of the English obsession with football violence, its about men looking for armies to join, wars to fight and places to belong. A forgotten culture of Anglo Saxon males fed up with being told they’re not good enough and using thier fists as a drug they describe as being more potent than sex and drugs put together. Shot in documentery style with the energy and vibrancy of handheld, The Football Factory is frightingly real yet full of painful humour as the four characters extreme thoughts and actions unfold before us.