For movie fans who also enjoy the theatre of sport and all of its tales of human triumph and tragedy, there is nothing better than a dramatic sports film.
Whether they tell a real story – either in documentary form or through a biopic – or they are completely fictional, this is a hugely popular genre and some of the most enjoyable movies in the history of cinema are centered around sports.
Here is a list of the top five sports-related motion pictures of all time.
5) The Wrestler
You can debate as much as you like about whether professional wrestling is or isn’t a sport, but what cannot be denied is that The Wrestler is one of the most powerful, poignant movies ever made.
Mickey Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson – a wrestler who is past his prime but determined to keep on going even if it means taking steroid injections and ultimately putting too much strain on his body.
Randy tries to make amends for past mistakes as he attempts to reconnect with his daughter, but he finds it difficult to put things right as various obstacles – many of which are self-inflicted – get in his way.
One of those movies that everyone has seen, and rightly so. Every boxing film that has been made subsequently has been compared to Rocky, and that will likely always be the case.
It’s a classic underdog story in which Rocky – an unknown local contender – gets a shot at greatness and must overcome the champion, Apollo Creed, who has become an iconic character in cinema.
Of course, there is romance involved, and it ultimately overshadows the world championship fight that Rocky finds himself in.
The franchise is still going strong now, with Creed III set for a 2022 release. Deontay Wilder, who according to online betting sites is an underdog in his upcoming fight with Tyson Fury, was previously linked with a role in the movie.
3) The Damned United
This film is based on David Peace’s novel on Brian Clough’s 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United Football Club, and even though it is mostly fictional, it is still a fascinating insight into the politics and complex relationships within association football in the 1970s.
Michael Sheen shines in his role as Clough, whose rivalry with Don Revie and fallout with Peter Taylor are captivating to follow – so much so that you’ll find yourself searching through the internet to find out more as soon as the film ends.
If you dislike cliche sports movies that result in victory being snatched from the jaws of defeat, then this is an outstanding alternative.
Not only is this about as star-studded as it gets – with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Chris Pratt all part of the cast – but it is also one of the best sporting stories of the 21st century.
For those who are unaware of how the Oakland Athletics turned around their fortunes in 2002, but have even the slightest interest in sport, this is an engrossing watch and evidence that there is always room for innovation in a professional environment.
Moneyball earned six Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Awards nominations.
This is the only documentary on the list and it is only right that it takes the top spot.
With the inclusion of so much actual footage of Ayrton Senna – both on and off the grid – viewers are able to experience the entire adventure first-hand, and given the way that his career and life ended, this must be considered one of the most heartbreaking films ever made.
You certainly do not need to have an interest in Formula One or even sport in order to appreciate this production. Senna, the film, transcends the sports movie genre, and Ayrton, the person, will never be forgotten.