It’s a very common fallacy to believe that sportsmen and their mentors have a glamorous life led by booze, endorsement, and loads of cash. What we see on television is an athlete putting his body on the line for his nation or club and earning cash on the way, but what we miss is the bruises and burns of his struggle to get to the top-level. Biographical sports drama films pay an ode to such athletes and mentors who burnt the midnight oil, fought all adversities to be the best in the business.
Before we start the list, there are a handsome number of movies that couldn’t make the cut but deserves a shootout. Radio directed by Michael Tollin, 42 by Brian Helgeland, Rudy, and Hoosiers by David Anspaugh are all inspirational sports films that you should not miss out on. Well, moving to the list – inspired by real-life incidents – these five sports biographical drama movies would keep you on edge of your seat.
Directed by Bennett Miller, the movie is about simple mathematics. We are not reminding you of your high school syllabus, but the movie depicts the importance of statistics in sports (and some economics). Imagine Norwich City FC rising from the dungeons of relegation to win the English Premier League. Well, that’s what the film is all about, except that it features baseball, not football.
The film is about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their coach Billy Beane. Brad Pitt playing the central character of the coach in this gripping drama plays around recruiting players on a restricted budget following a technique called Sabermetrics, recognizing the player’s value and what they add to the team. The Oakland Athletics won twenty consecutive games in a row in the American League record in real life.
Martin Scorsese as the director and Robert De Niro in and as Raging Bull is enough to make a theatre houseful. The story is based on the real-life incidents of boxer Jake Lamotta. Reflecting on the demons that live within us, it tells the story of a man from being the most ferocious boxer to a futile man who you’d sympathize with despite his abusive nature. What makes the film so beautiful to watch is the black and white cinematography and badass acting by Robert De Niro. The film is all about emotions, anger, and jealously packed with action in two-hour nine minute drama.
The 2021 American biographical sports drama film is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin. Inarguably, the greatest tennis movie of all time, it features Will Smith in the lead. The film follows the story of a father who is in pursuit to make his daughters the greatest ever in Tennis. The story of prejudice, struggle, and hope will not let you hop to a different seat. The adrenaline pumping dialogues and unconditional acing by Will Smith would keep you on edge of your seat. Smith as the lead portrayed the character of Richard Williams to perfection, which even earned him the Academy Award for best actor.
The Pride of the Yankees
It’s been more than ten years since the New York Yankees won the league. However, the film takes us back to the time when they were dominating Major League Baseball. The film is an all-time classic and revolves around ‘The Iron Horse’ of the Yankees, Henry Louis Gehrig. What sells a sports drama is David pitched against Goliath and a perfect underdog winning against all odds? But the particular film is less about a pinch hitter and more about a man and the beloved star who wasn’t just a sportsman but a hero of the entire community. Kudos to Gary Cooper for portraying the role of Louis Gehrig to perfection.
Chariots of Fire
We conclude the list with a film that is, for some buffs, a cinematic delight. Released in 1981, it is a historic British sports drama film featuring two British runners, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell who brought glory to their country in the Paris Olympic Games of 1924. The film won an Academy Award and is praised worldwide eversince Featuring the journey of the two spinsters, the film depicts the power of faith and courage. Wonderful performances by Ben Cross and Ian Charleson make it one of the best sports movies of all time.