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Three of the Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

Because movie-goers love sports films.

Rocky statue

The general public loves an underdog story, which is one of the reasons sports movies are so popular. It does not matter if the film is about a team of has-beens donning their uniforms one last time or an underprivileged potential star finally getting their shot at the big time; movie-goers love sports films. They are never only about sports but tales of overcoming adversity. They give us hope alongside entertainment. The following three sports movies do that in abundance.


The first Rocky film hit the silver screen in 1976 and has since become one of the biggest grossing series’ of all time, taking $1.7 billion worldwide. It was a huge hit, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. Sylvester Stallone wanted to tell the story of a down on his luck boxer who met and fell in love with a girl and got a shot at the big time in a world championship boxing match. It is fair to say Stallone ticked all three boxes and then some.

Stallone portrays the titular Rocky Balboa, who somehow finds himself fighting for the heavyweight world title against reigning champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). If this were a real fight, the top sportsbooks would have Creed as the considerable favourite, not least because Rocky does not have access to gyms and an elite training team. Instead, he famous runs up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, uses carcasses as punchbags, and even chases chickens during his training regime.

Rocky eventually steps into the ring on New Year’s Day in what is billed as the greatest underdog story of all time. The fight goes the complete 15 rounds, each leaving Rocky more bloodied and damaged than the previous. Creed eventually retains his title by a split decision. Still, Rocky captured the hearts and imaginations of the people in the film and those who enjoyed watching it at the cinema.

Hoop Dreams

Basketball hoop

Hoop Dreams was meant to be a 30-minute short film about two African-American high school students from Chicago who dreamed of becoming professional basketball players. However, filming spanned five years and more than the capturing of 250 hours of footage. Hoop Dreams eventually launched in October 1994, spanned 171 minutes, and raked in $11.8 million. The movie has regularly ranked highly by critics, with Current TV ranking it first in the 50 Documentaries to See Before you Die.

The movie follows William Gates and Arthur Agee, and it is a masterpiece. Despite the positive reviews and critical and public acclaim, Hoop Dreams was never nominated for the Best Documentary category at the Academy Awards, which led to revamping the nomination process. You simply have to see Hoop Dreams, even if you have little to no interest in basketball, because it is much, much more than that.

Bull Durham

When Ron Shelton decided to combine minor-league baseball, romance, and comedy into a film, you can imagine the funny looks he received from investors. Shelton is the one laughing now, however, because Bull Durham achieved legendary status in addition to grossing almost $51 million in the United States alone from its $9 million budget.

Bull Durham stars Kevin Costner as “Crash” Davis, a veteran bullpen catcher who is brought in to teach the rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins). Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) romances Nuke but becomes increasingly attracted to Crash, creating something of a love triangle.

Costner is hilarious and charismatic in Bull Durham, one of the reasons the New York Film Critic Circle named the movie the Best Screenplay of 1988. It never won an Academy Award but was nominated for Best Original Screenplay; the Oscar went to Rain Man with Big, A Fish Call Wanda and Running on Empty being the other nominees; not bad company to keep.

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