There are few genres that elicit the same passion and inspiration as sports biopics in the world of filmmaking. These films take us beyond the scoreboard, delving deeper into the lives of legendary athletes and the very real-world trials they must face along their respective journeys to greatness. From tales of underdogs defying all odds to heart-stopping moments that can make or break careers, we’re unpacking our top five favorite sports biopics of all time. So, grab your popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon like no other!
Why do we love sports biopics so much?
Sports biopics have such a hold on sports fans because they offer a captivating blend of inspiration, the human-struggle and the thrill of competition that makes them very relatable. For sports bettors particularly, biopics provide a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the motivations and strategies of players as well as the unpredictable nature of sports. This type of analysis gives sports bettors an edge when wagering on the NBA odds, for example, by providing invaluable insights into factors that could influence game outcomes.
42 is a powerful sports biopic that recounts the life and career of the legendary baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He broke down barriers in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the 1940s as the first black player within the league. Robinson faced relentless racism and discrimination both on and off the field, but he persevered with his goals nonetheless. As a result, he became one of the best MLB athletes in modern times. The film is deeply moving and is perfectly led by the late Chadwick Bosman as Robinson.
Fans of tennis and specifically the Williams sisters will love this inspiring 2021 film. It tells the captivating true story of Richard Williams, father and coach of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. The film explores Richard’s unwavering determination to shape his daughters into tennis champions. Along the way he must face racism and skepticism from the tennis community among other challenges. However, his determination is unrelenting, and we watch as the tennis superstars we have come to know transform into champions in front of our eyes. With incredible performances from the likes of Will Smith, King Richard celebrates resilience, a father’s love and taking a chance on your dreams despite the odds.
I, Tonya, chronicles the tumultuous life of figure-skater, Tonya Harding — a story that is equal parts tragic, comedic and awe-inspiring. Margot Robbie delivers an award-winning performance as Harding, capturing the complexity of a woman embroiled in controversy while fighting against society’s expectations. With jaw-dropping skating sequences and a candid exploration of Harding’s life, the film transcends the realm of traditional sports biopics by showing the not-so-glamorous side of figure-skating.
In the realm of sports cinema, few have challenged the status quo quite like Moneyball, so fans were naturally thrilled to hear the film’s director Bennett Miller would be bringing yet another athlete’s story to life. Foxcatcher is set in the late 1980s and follows the events surrounding the life of Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler Mark Schultz. After meeting an eccentric wealthy heir, John Du Pont, the duo hit it off and form a wrestling training camp called Team Foxcatcher. Things go awry somewhere down the line with Du Pont being implicated in the murder of Schultz’s brother, among other tragedies. Foxcatcher eloquently unpacks the constructs of ambition, power and the destructive consequences of unchecked obsessions.
Fighting With My Family
Fighting With My Family is a surprisingly heart-warming sports biopic based on the true story of WWE diva Paige. Born into a family that loves all things wrestling, she sets her sights on becoming a professional female wrestler. When the opportunity to try out for WWE comes along, Paige must face intense competition not only from her rivals but her own brother too. Led by the talented Florence Pugh, the film manages to transcend the world of WWE by perfectly connecting Paige’s journey of becoming the youngest professional female wrestler to the toll it took on her family and relationships.
Sports biopics resonate with us on a profound level, tapping into our shared human experience and igniting our passion for the sports we hold dear. They invite us to see our beloved athletes and the sports they play through a fresh lens, shedding light on the challenges, triumphs and personal journeys that fuel their pursuit of greatness. So, whether you love sports or you’re simply looking for an inspiring film to watch, be sure to check these off your list.