Ever wondered why we watch sports movies? We can always watch a real match of baseball instead of watching a movie about it. But we still dig all these inspirational sports movies. The reason behind this is that sports movies offer us something that’s much deeper than the game itself. We get to dwell deep into the psychology and mindset of the characters and also understand their struggles as they make their way to the top. Be it any sport, nothing is more fascinating and inspiring than the story of an underdog making his way to being the champion and the journey of a long shot starting off as a dark horse all the way till he becomes the front-runner.
It doesn’t matter which sport you’re into, Netflix has a movie for each one. From some extreme action-packed boxing films to inspirational real-life adaptations, the streaming giant has it all. So if you’re tired of scrolling through long lists of sports movies without being able to decide on one, we’ve got a list of really good sports movies on Netflix. The list includes sports movies for kids and inspirational sports movies.
17. Born Strong (2017)
A must-watch documentary for all the powerlifters out there. The film features four powerlifters from four different countries competing against each other for the title of 2016 Arnold Strongman Classic. Only one out of England’s Eddie Hall, America’s Brian Shaw, Iceland’s Hafthor Bjornsson (The Mountain from Game of Thrones) and Lithuania’s Zydrunas Savickas will eventually become the world’s strongest man alive. “It’s great to see these monsters.” quotes Arnold Schwarzenegger and he’s right. There’s nothing more intimidating yet exciting than seeing four 400 plus pound giants competing against each other to be the best among the best.
16. Icarus (2017)
Sports are often glamorized in the most beautiful ways in movies and on sports channels. But we never really get to see what happens behind the screen, behind the closed doors of gyms, behind the protected confinements of an athlete’s home and inside shady dark laboratories. ‘Icarus’ is a documentary that reveals, or I’d rather say, exposes the darker side of sports. Bryan Fogel, who won an Academy Award for directing this documentary, sets out to seek the truth about doping in sports as an experiment of his own but later he somehow ends up meeting a Russian scientist. This accidental meeting lands him right in the middle of a global conspiracy, dirty politics and filthiest scandals ever in the history of sports.
15. The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014)
Did you know that Kurt Russell played baseball in the minor leagues for a team that owned by his father Bing Russell? Well, neither did we. The documentary above is about how Bing Russell, who is known for his roles in ‘Bonanza’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’, started a baseball team called the Portland Mavericks with a bunch of players who had been rejected from organized baseball. The team was heavily criticized and experts believed that a team of spurned players would never work. But they displayed an impeccable record and went far beyond everyone’s expectations. The film is a truly inspiring story of a man who delivered something very unique and delightful for the love of his game.
14. The Short Game (2013)
‘The short game’ is the kind of film that can be enjoyed by any age group. It may come off as a little uninteresting initially but when you actually sit and watch it, this documentary is as good as a full feature movie. The documentary is about a Wolf Gold Championship that is held at Pinehurst, NC for 7 and 8-year-olds. It’s amazing to watch how these passionate child prodigies compete with each other and handle the pressure of such a serious game with subtle charm and wonder. If you’re planning to watch a movie this weekend with your kids, forget about the animated movies they keep demanding and watch this one as a family together.
13. Goon (2012)
Sean William Scott, who is best known for his role in the American Pie series plays the role of Doug Glatt, who is good at nothing but brawling. He is approached by a minor league hockey coach who hires him to play for his team in the hope that he will be able to use his fighting skills to the team’s advantage. Doug is initially a complete slacker but he soon starts to learn how to skate and earns the respect of his team and everyone around him. A simple opportunity to play as the enforcer for the team turns into a journey of self-actualization and professional success for Glatt as he leads his Hockey team to glory.
12. Southpaw (2015)
A sports movie list is incomplete without a boxing movie. They say that you truly find yourself only when you’ve lost everything. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of a boxing champion known as Billy “The Great” Hope. But in a tragic accident, he ends up losing everything- his wife, his daughter, his manager and eventually his whole boxing career. That’s when he comes across a mentor who trains him to fight again and get back in the ring where he struggles to regain the trust of his loved ones. The storyline of the movie is based loosely on Eminem’s life as a rapper and how he fell to rock bottom but made his way back up again to become one of the best rappers in the world. The movie also features Eminem’s soundtracks which makes it even more raw and motivational.
11. The Water Boy (1998)
‘Waterboy’ is a sports comedy about a struggling football team’s water boy named Bobby Boucher played by Adam Sandler. Bobby initially comes off as a socially awkward stuttering young man who is often bullied by other players. The team’s coach later realizes Bobby’s true potential when Bobby decides to stand up for himself one day and ends up tackling the team’s quarterback. The coach decides to take advantage of his repressed anger and rage and trains him to become a gridiron beast whose insane tackling skills could potentially do wonders for the team.
10. 42 (2013)
42 is a sports biopic written and directed by Brian Helgeland. The movie is the story of Jackie Robison played by Chadwick Boseman, who wears a jersey numbered 42 throughout his major league career. Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play for Major League Baseball. The film shows the struggle of the protagonist as he is signed up to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and how he manages to defy the confinements of racial barriers that are forced upon him. It’s a very inspiring and powerful story of a man who goes against all the odds to later take his team to the World Series of baseball.
9. Undefeated (2011)
Between every successful sports team, there is a hard-working coach. ‘Undefeated is the story of three underprivileged football players who are mentored by their volunteering coach who tries to help them overcome all the odds on and off the gridiron. The movie brings about the immense value that sports bring to one’s life and the importance of all the lessons kids learn in the field. The film is not just for football lovers but for all sports lovers who want to watch a truly moving masterpiece. ‘Undefeated’ is not just a film, it’s real life and that’s the reason why it later won the Oscar for The Best Documentary.
8. Iverson (2014)
‘Iverson’ is a raw documentary that covers the ups and downs of basketball legend Allen Iverson. Clearly, since childhood, Iverson had a hunger to crush his impoverished circumstances to later become an 11 time NBA All-Star and be known as “The Answer.” But it wasn’t just his successful career that made him stand out from other players but also his unconventional style that later made him a huge youth icon. Allen Iverson became this controversial polarizing figure who introduced the NBA a then considered unorthodox culture of baggy clothes and sleeve tattoos. Allen Iverson was definitely no saint but he did manage to start something of a modern religion.
7. The Fighter (2010)
‘The Fighter’ has an amazing cast with Mark Wahlberg as the lead who plays the role of a struggling named Micky Ward. Hia half brother Dicky played by Christian Bale is a retired boxer who is drowned by the miseries of drugs, alcohol and long lost glory as a boxer. But somehow, Dicky manages to bounce back from his addictions and starts to train his brother more seriously. Micky, along with with his brother’s help, sets out on an unconventional journey to the world light welterweight title.
6. 4 Minute Mile (2014)
‘4 Minute Mile’ tells the story of Drew Jacobs, played by Kelly Blatz, who is a promising natural athletic talent.Coach Coleman, a former track star notices this talent and decides to coach Drew Jacobs. But Drew has to overcome the negative influence of his elder brother on him and his family which holds him back while also trying to find a way to go beyond his physical and mental abilities. Only when tragedy strikes Drew is forced to break through all the chains that were bounding him from reaching his full mental and athletic potential.
5. Under the Arctic Sky (2017)
A very well-edited film with spectacular imagery and cinematography. This beautiful wonder captures Icelandic sceneries while projecting the story of six young surfers who travel to The North Coast of Iceland to experience an adventure of a lifetime. The film has the most amazing visuals of six fearless surfers surfing through a storm, gliding their way between the most perfect unrealistic waves under a sky that sheds the most pleasing contrasting colors of the Northern Lights.
4. Trouble with the Curve (2012)
‘Trouble with the Curve’ is the story of an old baseball scout named Gus (Clint Eastwood) who is becoming slower with age is his sight is also fading by the day. When he is asked to retire, he just asks for one more chance to prove his worth. Along with his Estranged daughter, Mickey who’s still trying to figure out why her father had abandoned her, Gus reaches North Carolina for last scouting assignment. The movie offers some exhilarating baseball and at the same time, touches upon nostalgic family issues.
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3. Pele (Birth of a Legend)
If you’ve ever played soccer even once in your entire life, then you’ve probably heard of the soccer Messiah, Pele. Pele is one of the biggest names known in the history of soccer who is known for leading the Brazilian football team to the FIFA World Cup Finals and later winning it. The movie shows us how this iconic star was made and how he shaped up into becoming an icon of the game. The film depicts the journey of a young man who tries to support his family but at the same time never gives up on what he loves to do. He never stops improving and polishing his football skills which later makes him not just a national icon but a worldwide legend as well.
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2. Losing Sight of the Shore
‘Losing Sight of the Shore’ is the story of an impossible dream that was shared by four women who decided to row across the Pacific Ocean from America all the way to Australia. The four brave women also known as The Coxless Crew spend 9 grueling months in the sea rowing over 8000 miles. The film is an inspiring story of the perseverance of the four women and also the friendship they develop while supporting each other through moments of extreme physical and mental stress. They start off on a journey losing sight of the shore to eventually find it again as entirely different people.
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1. The Phenom (2016)
The film is about an aspiring baseball player who suddenly loses his pitch and seeks help from a psychologist. The movie does not directly focus on the game of baseball but on something much deeper. Phenom is more of a reflection of the immense pressure the protagonist is facing to perform, as everyone expects a lot out of him. It’s the kind of movie that you’ll like if you enjoyed watching Good Will Hunting.
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