Oh boy, do we love a sports movie.
Always wrapped in some kind of redemption story, the obstacles of life and the kind of motivation we could surely do with a lot more of, there’s something about the lives of athletes we’re completely engrossed by. From real stories of coaches who changed games forever to the fictional rags to riches trajectory, these movies never get old.
Check out the best sport movies on Netflix.
Moneyball is based on the true story of how general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) paved the way to re-invent the Oakland A’s baseball team during the early 2000s. Faced with a super tight budget, Bean has to compete against richer baseball clubs so he starts by recruiting typically ‘bargain-bin’ players who have been labelled by scouts as flawed but have game-winning potential.
If you haven't watched Coach Carter—it’s a classic and it needs to go on your watch-list, stat. Another one based on a true story, Coach Carter tells the tale of Richmond High School’s basketball coach Ken Carter who made massive headlines back in the late nineties for suspending his undefeated team because they weren’t pulling their weight academically. Carter sets out to change the attitudes of all the players in this film that will pull all the heartstrings.
We mean—Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg, what’s not to love about The Fighter? For half-brothers Micky and Dicky Ward, boxing is a family affair. Micky is the athlete, Dicky is the extremely unreliable coach (with a cocaine addiction) and their brutal mother is the manager. Things begin to fall apart when Dicky can’t seem to get his collective shiz together so Micky takes the advice of his new girlfriend (played by the legendary Amy Adams) and splits from the family. He then becomes a real contender for the world title—his one shot at redemption.
This one is a drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Born into poverty, Ernie Davis has to overcome all the obstacles to get into Syracuse University's football program. Under the guidance of Coach Ben Schwartzwalder (played by Dennis Quaid), Davis becomes one of the school's absolute best players.
The Way Back
While the world is definitely not short of basketball movies, The Way Back is the newer guy of the lot. Ben Affleck plays a former high school basketball star turned alcoholic who gets a chance to redeem his life when he’s asked to coach the same school’s struggling basketball team years later. In real life—Affleck and the team actually became super close, so much so that he flew the entire group of guys to Vegas when filming wrapped up and we’re already swooning.
High Flying Bird
In the midst of a pro basketball lockout, sports agent Ray Burke (played by André Holland) finds himself caught in the face-off between the league and the players. His career is on the line, but Ray is playing for higher stakes. With only 72 hours to pull off a daring plan, he outmanoeuvres all the power-players as he uncovers a loophole that could change the game forever. The outcome raises questions of who owns the game in reality and who actually should, but doesn’t. You can watch High Flying Bird right here.
Million Dollar Baby
It’s the OG boxing movie that will leave you in tears. Maggie Fitzgerald (played by Hillary Swank) has never had much, but she knows what she wants and she will do whatever it takes to get it. In a life of constant struggle, Fitzgerald has gotten by on raw talent, unshakable focus and a tremendous force of will. All this combined is the reason she can persuade Frankie Dunn (played by Clint Eastwood), against his better judgment, to train someone who's both female and too old to begin a career. With Dunn's experience and Fitzgerald's talent and determination, she finds herself on track to be the first female to win one million dollars in prize money (a “million dollar baby”). However, the risks are high but we won’t spill any spoilers.
I, Tonya tells the story of American figure skater Tonya Harding (aka Golden Globe nominee Margot Robbie) and her rise to Olympic stardom. Tonya was the first woman to complete two triple axel jumps in competition. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Tonya becomes caught up in one of the biggest scandals in sporting history after the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan (played by Caitlin Carver). The film also stars Allison Janney who recently took home the Golden Globe for her role as Tonya’s abusive mother, LaVona Golden.
Billy "The Great" Hope (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), the reigning junior middleweight boxing champion, has an impressive career, a loving wife and daughter, and a lavish lifestyle. However, when tragedy strikes (and god did we cry), Billy hits rock bottom, losing his family, his house and his manager. He soon finds a saviour in Tick Willis (played by Forest Whitaker), a former fighter who trains the city's toughest amateur boxers. With his future on the line, Hope fights to reclaim the trust of those he loves the most. You can watch Southpaw right here.
Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn's Brownsville neighbourhood decides that joining the all-boys wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father. First Match stars Elvire Emanuelle, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Colman Domingo, Jharrel Jerome and Jared Kemp and is the first feature film for writer/director Olivia Newman. It’s a cracker so settle in and brace yourself.
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Image credit: Netflix