We’re all looking for ways to be entertained during the coronavirus lockdown and sports films are a great solution to that problem.
The problem is that there are so many sports films there and you don’t want to be wasting your time looking through Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, or another platform to find the best ones.
I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve seen many of the top sports films – it’s why I’ve made this list for you, to pass on my tips and to save you a little time.
From a Jamaican bobsled team to one of Formula One’s finest drivers, these are the sports films you simply have to watch.
Starring John Candy and Leon, Cool Runnings is a Disney classic tells the story of the first Jamaican bobsled team – including all the trials and tribulations that come with a country’s first venture into the sporting unknown.
Cool Runnings is sweet, uplifting, and very affecting – if you don’t find yourself moved by the guts on Candy and Leon’s characters then your heart is made of stone.
I’ll admit, this is a childhood favourite of mine and the moment that still gets me comes towards the film’s close. It’s when the team crash (due to their cheap, old sledge) with a medal in sight – it’s making me tear up as I write and you’ll feel the same when you watch it.
When Saturday Comes
Sheffield’s finest shows why football is the globe’s most popular sport in When Saturday Comes– he portrays a character who rises from nothing to play for his boyhood club, something millions of people dream of and the goal of many of the best sports films.
It’s not just that this is one of the best sports films ever. One of the main reasons When Saturday Comes is great to watch is that it’s a rare cinematic occasion – a film where Sean Bean doesn’t die!
The key moment for is when Sean Bean takes a penalty against the Red Devils. It perfectly encapsulates his rise in the story, as he becomes his team’s key player at a crucial moment. Does he score? You’ll have to watch it to find out!
Trey Parker and Matt Stone will be well-known to anyone with even a passing interest in comedy – they’re the writers and creators of South Park. BASEketball is neither made nor created by the duo, but it has their satirical imprint all over it.
Sporting comedies aren’t a unique idea (Caddyshack nearly made this list) but few use their laughs to say serious things. In the case of BASEketball, it’s to talk about the over-commercialization of sports.
While the social commentary in BASEketball is great, the best bits are the laughs and there are few occasions in the film where you’ll laugh harder than the hospital scene – trust me, it’s a hoot!
One of the highlights of Sly Stallone’s career, Rocky (and the rest of the films in its series) showed that sports films could reach a global audience without cheapening their subject matter.
It’s hard to look beyond “Adrian!” when searching for the most recognizable moment in Rocky – if you’ve seen it already then you’ll know what I mean.
Golf is one of the trickier sports to extract great cinema from – it doesn’t have the same rootsy, rags-to-riches quality that you get from, say, basketball. But Happy Gilmore expertly shows that you can be a self-made golfer.
Whether you love or hate Adam Sandler, Happy Gilmore is a truly heartening story of how an outsider can take on the establishment and win.
My favourite moment has to be when Happy tells the “son of a b****” ball to “just go home.” It genuinely captures the feeling that any sports fan gets when they can’t get their equipment to do what they want it to.
Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time – a gritty, gifted, and charismatic competitor who transcended the sport with his incredible performances. Senna brings the great man to life.
It’s a hard call on naming the finest Formula One driver of all-time. Senna doesn’t have the most titles, but he could have done and it’s the tragedy of that opportunity being wrenched from him that makes the film such an infectious watch.
Death is something that hurts everyone, but it’s something that affects the families even more so. It’s why the closing moments of Senna, where you see his family at his funeral, are the ones that live longest and hardest in your memories.
Recommended reading: Priestley footballer secures scholarship in America
I’ve given you six great sports films to watch but I could easily have doubled the length of the list – I surprised myself when making the shortlist because I didn’t realise there were so many great ones out there.
These are a few that didn’t quite the cut, but that you should still watch – Any Given Sunday, 61*, The Damned United, Basketball Diaries, Raging Bull, Caddyshack, Dodgeball, Moneyball.
I recommend that you watch the six that I’ve covered in detail and then treat yourself by making your way through the ones that didn’t quite make the cut – you won’t be disappointed.