Top 5 Sports Movies

by Dave Brown
30/12/2020
Basketball Movies

The sports movies genre is a bit of an odd one, not clearly defined but clearly recognizable and adding to some of the best Hollywood productions of all times. Today, we take a look at what we consider to be the best sports movies that transcend generations and are a cultural phenomenon well worth seeing no matter what age you are or how much you appreciate sports.

If anything, sports movies tell true stories, if somewhat idealized, and focus on the adversities and strife athletes go through to reach to the top. While sports movies tend to be a little predictable, with the protagonist triumph marking the final scene, this genre is still very much loved by movie buffs and sports audiences, and it has an important place in our culture. Today's pick consists of a number of great sports movies, including:

  1. White Men Can't Jump
  2. Rocky
  3. The Wrestler
  4. Eight Men

1. White Men Can't Jump

White Men Can't Jump is one of the most iconic sports movies of the 1990s. Starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez, the plot focuses on Billy Hoyle, played by Harrelson, who makes a living off the streets by conning African American men into believing that he can't play basketball, because he's white.

A former basketball college student, Hoyle is doing alright except for the fact he and his girlfriend, Gloria Caliente, are on the run from the mafia whom they owe a gambling debt. Playing against Sidney Deane, Snipes' character, Hoyle quickly realizes that by teaming up, they stand a chance to take down much bigger chances to get themselves out of their financial trouble and start fresh.

Of course, to do so, they would first need to convince a whole lot of people that they can't play basketball. White Men Can't Jump is one of the most remarkable sports movies to ever has made the big screen.

2. Rocky

Rocky is often poked fun at as a sports movie that gets a lot of the sport wrong. The boxing scene, some fans of the fighting sport say, is completely unbelievable, but the travails of Rocky Balboa who dreams of becoming a world heavyweight champion are very real and relatable.

Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, is given the opportunity to face off Apollo Creed, the reigning champion, who also proves a tough nut to crack. The fight goes the distance for full 15 rounds, with Stallone's character, Rocky, absorbing an incredulous number of punches.

Numerous injuries are inflicted on both Balboa and Creed who, by the end of the last round, are both in no condition to continue the fight. Rocky's swollen eye needs to be cut to restore his vision and Creed needs to be rushed away to a hospital because of a broken rib that gives him trouble with his breathing.

The movie definitely doesn't strike by being overly-realistic. Today, when you go to the best online sports betting sites out there, and want to make a bet on a boxing bout, you hardly ever expect both fighters to go the full distance or to take this many punches and not go down, or for the referees not to interfere and stop the fight itself.

Well, despite the lack of realism, Rocky is one of the most iconic movies of all times and nothing will change that.

3. The Wrestler

The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky is another great sports drama that is well worth seeing. It centres on the life of Robin Ramzinski, who is better known by his fighting moniker Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a professional but forgotten wrestler in the 1980s who wants to make a living by returning to headline fights.

The story begins with a promise of Ramzinski facing off his all-time nemesis, "The Ayatollah" whom he wants to meet once again for a chance of recognition, fame and money. Yet, as he realizes his opponent is much stronger than he is, The Ram opts for steroids which lead to him having a heart attack before the fight.

Unable to continue fighting, The Ram takes an ordinary job as a cashier at a Delhi and tries to make amends with his estranged daughter who rebuffs him. Following a scene in Delhi where a customer recognizes him, and The Ram feels antagonized, he throws a scene and is fired from the job.

With nothing left to do Ramzinski chooses to return and face The Ayatollah on his own for a shot at winning everyone's respect.

4. Eight Men

Long before you could join an online sportsbook, sports betting tended to be a little more restricted. In Eight Men Out, director John Styles explores the hardship of the Chicago White Sox who have delivered on outstanding performance year in and year out, only to be dismissed by their stingy owner Charles Comiskey, who refuses to pay them a just salary.

Upset with the club owners, Gamblers "Sleepy" Bill Burns and Billy Maharg find out about the club's internal strife and offer the eight players an opportunity to make a quick fortune, and doing so by playing badly.

Many of the players agree to participate, including Gandil, Swede Risberg, and Lefty Williams, although some have their qualms. It all starts well, with the team losing, and their partnership with Burns and Maharg paying off. However, journalists grow wary of suspicious plays and begin an investigation.

Eventually, the eight athletes participating are tried but ultimately acquitted. However, the newly-appointed commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, bans them for life from playing professional baseball ever again.

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