Five of the Best Sports Movies

Sports has served as the backdrop for many great movies. In this article, we make a brief review of the most outstanding. We're sure you won't know them all.
Five of the Best Sports Movies
Cristina Roda Rivera

Written and verified by the psychologist Cristina Roda Rivera.

Last update: 03 April, 2023

Movies that touch on the theme of sport or take place in sports settings are often inspiring . In fact, this topic lends itself to framing dreams, disappointments, and unexpected collaborations.

Sport might appear in the movies as a source of income, an inexhaustible source of frustration, or a means of obtaining social recognition. It’s a flexible subject that offers many talking points.

Best sports movies

The best sports movies don’t only tell us about the host of sensations we experience when doing sports, but about the importance sport has had in the political and social history of the world. Furthermore, its role in the fight for equal opportunities.

1. Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is a movie to satisfy audiences of all ages. It’s a little melodramatic at times, but works really well overall.

The story takes place in Virginia, where high school football is a way of life. It’s set in 1971 when the local school board was forced to end racial segregation and integrate two extremely different schools. 

As a token gesture, the school appoints a black head coach for the soccer team. The organizers hope that the act will show they’re respecting the rights of the black community. After many ups and downs, the team achieves racial harmony and comes out as a united team. Nevertheless, this doesn’t prove to be to everyone’s liking.

2. Chariots of Fire

This movie starts with one of the most emblematic scenes in the history of cinema. Indeed, the famous slow-motion beach race that shows runners dressed in white training barefoot on the sand has become a classic.

With Vangelis’s music in the background, the movie exposes the soul of teamwork, camaraderie, freedom, and innocence, while projecting a particular image of British heritage, which was a popular subject for movies in the 80s and 90s.

Chariots of Fire tells the true story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who won gold medals for Great Britain at the 1924 Paris Olympics. The movie also focuses on class differences in the years after World War I, a time when the country was trying to rebuild itself.

Eric and Harold could be considered to be two ‘outsiders’ from Britain. A Scottish son of a missionary couple in China and a Jew whose father is an immigrant from Lithuania. They both use running as a means of asserting their dignity.

The music sets the emotional tone of the film. It’s a nostalgic theme, and goes back to the time when these two young athletes ran fast enough to achieve Olympic glory at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

3. Concussion

If you’d like to watch a thriller set in the world of sports, this movie is for you. It won’t disappoint. It includes secrets about the National Football League, hidden diseases, a lot of money, and an investigator who makes it extremely difficult for those involved in the scandal.

Will Smith plays Omalu, a Nigerian immigrant and scholar who works, methodically and unassumingly, for the Pittsburgh coroner’s office. When legendary Steelers center, Mike Webster (David Morse) ends up on the slab in Omalu, dead at age 50, something doesn’t seem to add up for Omalu. He orders a full battery of tests on the athlete’s body and sees something in the results.

Omalu develops a theory that Webster and several other players fell victim to a neurodegenerative disease he terms chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

This disease is characterized by brain damage similar to dementia or Alzheimer’s, caused by head trauma. He publishes his findings in a small medical journal, but when he presents them to the League, the consequences are swift and devastating: harassment, threats, and denial.

This situation portrays, in vivid detail, the consequences of speaking out against an organization that, as his friend and doctor Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin) says, “The NFL owns a day of the week. The same day the church used to own. Now it’s theirs”.

4. FoxCatcher

The first thing that might draw you to FoxCatcher is its absurdity. It concerns one of the richest men in the United States who wants to become a wrestling coach despite not knowing anything about the discipline.

The plot centers on the billionaire, John du Pont (Steve Carell), and his invitation to Olympic wrestler, Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to move onto his estate.

However, the purpose of this invitation is none other than to help him form a wrestling team for the 1988 Olympics. Nevertheless, the billionaire has in mind larger and more symbolic aims.

5. I, Tonya

The norm in these types of movies is for the lead protagonists to be men, but there are some delightful exceptions. Naomi Osaka’s documentary is one such example.

The plot of I, Tonya follows the controversial career of Tonya Harding. In an early scene, Harding’s mother hammers the carcasses of various animals to make a fur coat. It serves as a warning that the movie we’re going to watch isn’t going to be a pleasant one.

Scenes depicting domestic violence oscillate between cartoonish playfulness and shock. These occasional shifts in tone add to the echo of Harding’s own dark humor: “Look, Nancy gets hit one time, and the whole world shits… For me, it was an all-the-time occurrence”, declared Tonya after the event that would send her out of skating competitions for good

Margot Robbie starred in what could be considered the performance of her career (at least so far) as Tonya, the first American woman to complete a triple axel. A success that was obscured in 1994, when her ex-husband conspired to hurt Nancy Kerrigan, an Olympic hopeful, in an ill-conceived attack that forced the young woman to withdraw from the national championship.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.