Representation of sport in movies is not always the best. Some films do not capture the sport they are trying to at all and it can be painful to watch, but some movies succeed, and those films are beloved by many.

With lockdown many of us have been missing our sport fix, and with games being played behind closed doors, what better time to turn to some big-screen offerings?

This is a list, in no particular order, of some of the best sports movies in cinematic history…

Goal

The first movie in this list is Goal. Released in 2005, this film did not quite manage to replicate the beauty of football on the big screen but the rags to riches story is loved by many and has become a cult classic with a dedicated following receiving two sequels.

It follows the young footballer Santiago Munez getting signed to Newcastle United and his story in the rough Premier League. It is full of clichés and classic tropes; it is very cheesy and predictable, and it is also an absolute cracker of a film despite all that.

Moneyball

The second film is Moneyball. Moneyball is based on a true story and stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Billy has an important realisation: everything that people think they know about baseball is wrong.

With this, he is forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget so that he can outsmart and outplay the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts think are flawed, but they all have an unerring tendency to win games. He uses various betting website odds like Findbettingsites.co.uk to rank players and thus find deals.

It is more than just baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.

Cool Runnings

The next movie in the list is Cool Runnings. This classic feel good flick is about a team of Jamaican athletes qualifying and competing at the Olympics. Another one based on a true story, they compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics, and it is a beautiful plucky underdog story.

John Candy puts in a brilliant performance as their coach, and the film alternates between very funny scenes and surprisingly touching moments. The film is very quotable and has also gained a following thanks to its joie de vivre. “Feel the rhythm, feel the ride! Jamaica, it’s bobsled time!”

Rocky

The next film on this list is a film that has spawned many sequels and will be etched into public memory for years to come. The story of a plucky small time boxer, Rocky was the movie that cemented Sylvester Stallone as a Hollywood superstar as he portrayed Rocky Balboa who gets the rare chance of facing a heavyweight champion.

The film is about Rocky’s journey and some of its footage has been parodied again and again, in shows like South Park, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the Simpsons.

Invictus

The last film on the list is Invictus. This film stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman as the South African rugby team captain and the South African president Nelson Mandela. The theme of racism and apartheid is closely intertwined with the sports sequences and the film is cinematically beautiful.

It is an incredible example of how sport can bring the most divided people together, even just for a small space of time, and both performances from the A-list stars were very memorable.

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