There’s something about sports movies and documentaries that make these titles never grow old. It’s how people relate to the heroes in the movies and sports figures, in general, that will always create a strong link with this genre.
No matter if we’re talking about the old David vs Goliath type of situation where the underdog manages to overcome difficulties and get the win, or how huge success leads to downfall, sports movies are always engaging.
In recent years, sports movies and documentaries depicting the lives of great athletes or teams have enjoyed excellent popularity. So, it’s no wonder that the number of spectators also spiked since people are drawn to sports as their favorite pastime activity. We’re inviting you to check out some of the most popular sports movies, series, and documentaries. Get a notepad ready, you’ll probably want to write some down to watch later.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive
It’s true, this isn’t your typical movie (since we’re talking about a Netflix series) but it’s the most recent example on how a sports documentary mobilized millions of people and helped the sport it’s inspired from.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive is more than just a documentary of the latest seasons in Formula 1, the world’s most popular motor racing sport. This series managed to bring a lot of old fans back to the sport, thanks to the way it was produced and delivered.
F1 ran through some rough patches ever since the likes of Michael Schumacher retired and new regulations that made the sport quite … boring. However, through some new management decisions and exciting drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen or Charles LeClerc (to name a few), Formula 1 started to live again. However, the effect of this Netflix series was felt immediately with audiences going up almost instantly after the first season.
Furthermore, the show has the merit of making F1 popular even in the USA. It’s no secret that the American car racing enthusiasts see Nascar as the only motor sport worth watching. However, “Driver to Survive” managed to turn the world of Formula 1 racing into reality TV and make it available to the wide public.
Sure, it’s no Need for Speed movie, but this Netflix series showed its potential to spike audiences all across the globe and remind people of a great sport that spent some years in the shadows. The 946,000 viewers per race for Formula 1’s 2021 season is the only proof you need considering that the figure was lower than 450,000 in 2020.
From Formula 1 we switch to basketball with Hoop Dreams. This 1994 movie evolved from the idea of a short about playground hoopsters to a three-hour story about the NBA dreams of two highschool kids.
Arthur Agee and William Gates are the protagonists of what is by now a landmark American documentary. With lots of on-court action, drama, and suspense, Hoop Dreams is the perfect way to address more sensitive issues like poverty, adolescence, and racial inequality. All in all, it’s about the agonies of day-to-day life that sports help us tolerate.
This one is a classic. If you were born anywhere between 1985 and 1995, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen all parts of Rocky or at least the first one. However, even though it may be hard to believe not everyone enjoyed this great piece of sports cinematography, younger generations may be interested in different movies.
The story of a working-class underdog that finds the way towards glory against all odds should remain an example for all generations. There’s a good reason why the original Rocky got an Oscar for Best Picture. It’s very sensitive telling the story of a broken-down boxer who gets one last chance to get the World Heavyweight title.
If we’re talking about sports-move symbolism, fewer titles got it better than Rocky. A determined Sylster Stallone that won’t give up no matter how tough his Russian opponent proved to be. Sure, it may have some political influences here and there since it was made in full-blown Cold War, but it’s all about the American dream transposed in a Sisyphean beat-down.
The list could go on with plenty of titles inspired by football, baseball, the NFL, and many other professional sports. With actors like Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks and many others, the sport-inspired movies have an ageless component that transpires through generations. And the more recent cinematic biographies of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Sergio Ramos continue the legacy.