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13 of the best sports films to watch during lockdown

Having already put together a list of sports documentaries to keep you entertained during lockdown, we decided to name our favourite sports films as well. So here are 13 of the best sports films to watch during lockdown. Don’t forget that you can get free trials of Netlix, Disney+ or Now TV if you don’t wish to pay.


Best sports films to watch during lockdown


Rocky (Amazon, £7.99)

Best quote: “ADDRRIIAAAAAAN!!”

A steep price to pay for a 44-year-old film, especially given the amount of ‘free’ content available through the various subscription services. But how could we not include one of the best sports films of all time?

Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in the story of Rocky Balboa, a journeyman Philadelphia Boxer given an unlikely shot at a world championship. Going on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture that year, Rocky is the ultimate underdog story.

It spawned multiple sequels and two spin off movies of varying quality, however none came close to touching the original which will have you cheering Rocky on from the comfort of your own settee.



Warrior (Netflix)

Best quote: “You don’t knock him out, you lose the fight. You understand me? You don’t knock him out, you don’t have a home.”

Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte star in this gritty, action-packed drama about two brothers who enter a lucrative MMA tournament in Atlantic City.

Nolte was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor in his role, playing the recovering alcoholic father of Hardy and Edgerton.

Don’t be fooled by the subject matter. Although the film is packed with adrenaline-fuelled fight scenes, it is really about the dysfunctional family dynamic of the trio and, with the mood dictated by an outstanding soundtrack featuring several songs by The National, it will put a tear in your eye as it reaches its tense conclusion.



Happy Gilmore (Sky Movies / Now TV)

Best quote: “I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!”

No list of sports films would be complete without Adam Sandler’s ridiculous golf comedy.

Sandler plays Happy Gilmore, a wannabe ice hockey player with limited talent but a wicked slapshot who is discovered by former golfer Chubbs Peterson, played by Rocky’s Carl Weathers.

Undeniably stupid but eternally quotable, Happy Gilmore makes no attempt to take itself seriously from start to finish. Certainly not the most inspirational entry on this list but probably the funniest.



Remember the Titans (Disney+)

Best quote: “Sometimes life is hard for no reason at all”

Based on a true story, Denzel Washington plays Herman Boone, an African-American football coach placed in charge of the T.C. Williams High School football team in a racially divided-Virginia in 1971.

The sporting action takes a distinct backseat to the narrative of segregation and racial divide in the film and rightfully so.

A common theme with many of the sports films on this list, it is in parts inspiring and at others devastating. However, it is certainly worth two hours of your time.



Moneyball (Netflix)

Best quote: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.”

Nominated for an array of Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, Moneyball is a biographical sports drama about Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, Beane, faced with the realisation that his team can’t be competitive with their limited budget, employs a sabermetric approach to scouting and picks up a range of players that were unfancied by other teams, convinced he can make them competitive.

A fascinating watch, Beane’s approach had huge ramifications in the world of sport and, domestically, has been adopted by Brentford in recent seasons. Based on award recognition, it’s tough to argue against Moneyball as one of the best sports films ever.



Any Given Sunday (Amazon, £3.49)

Best Quote: “The inches we need are everywhere around us.”

Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Dennis Quaid headline Oliver Stone’s testosterone-charged NFL drama about an aging coach questioning his relevance in the game.

Undoubtedly the most memorable moment is Al Pacino’s famously motivational ‘Inches’ speech in the latter stages of the film, which has been used to spur on multiple real sporting sides over the years.

It doesn’t carry the same gravitas as some of the others but is a very entertaining watch nonetheless and is worthy of a place on our best sports films list.



Jerry Maguire (Sky Movies / Now TV)

Best Quote: “Show me the money!”

Who among us hasn’t at some point yelled Jerry Maguire’s most famous line? It is a line which has become so famous that it threatens to overshadow the quality of the actual film. That would be a mistake, however.

Starring Tom Cruise in the titular role alongside Cuba Gooding Jr and Renee Zellwegger, Jerry Maguire is a sports agent who creates his own agency after being fired for exposing the industry’s illegal practices.

The only problem? Cuba Gooding Jr is his only client. As much a romantic comedy as a sports film, it has a definite feel good factor throughout.



The Fighter (Netflix)

Best quote: “I’m the one who’s fighting. Not you, not you and not you.”

Nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture, The Fighter stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams. The latter two each received an Oscar for their supporting roles.

A typically intense Bale plays Dicky Eklund, a former boxer with drug issues who teams up with his up and coming younger brother Micky Ward, played by Wahlberg, torn between ambition and loyalty.

An absolutely terrific film, it happily sits alongside the likes of Rocky and Raging Bull as one of the best boxing-themed films of all time and perhaps one of the best sports films in general.



I, Tonya (Netflix)

Best Quote: “There’s no such thing as truth.”

Another Oscar nominee, Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding, a key player in one of the most famous scandals in sporting history.

In 1994, Harding’s key Olympic rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was assaulted with a police baton by an assailant in an attempt to derail her chances of competing. The attack was later revealed to have been planned by Harding’s ex-husband, with Harding herself inevitably swept up and tainted by the scandal.

A powerful film that is sympathetic to Harding, vilified by the world of sport at the time. Well worth a watch.



The Wrestler (Amazon Prime)

Best quote: “You know what? The only ones gonna tell me when I’m through doing my thing is you people here.”

Darren Aronofsky’s tale about an aging wrestler coming to terms with the end of his career earned Mickey Rourke an Oscar nomination for the headline role.

In an industry often derided for being scripted, Robin Ramzinski (Rourke) is suffering the result of years of injuries and steroid abuse. Medically advised to retire with immediate effect, Ramzinski attempts to adjust to normal civilian life.

However, as with many aging sportsman, he struggles to let go. A demon-plagued Rourke absolutely steals the show in one of the best sports films ever which harbours a brutally open ending.



Rush (Netflix)

Best Quote: “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.”

Telling the story of one of motor racing’s most famous rivalries, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Rush is especially poignant given Lauda’s recent death.

It details the rivalry between the pair during the 1976 Formula 1 season. Chris Hemsworth plays Hunt, the talented but undisciplined Englishman, and Daniel Bruhl plays Lauda, the hard-working, tunnel-visioned Austrian.

Unfairly ignored by the Academy Awards, Rush is one of the best sports films of the last 20 years and one of the greatest racing movies ever.



Le Mans’ 66 (Amazon £4.49)

Best quote: “We’re going to make history.”

Another of the greatest racing films ever, and one that was acknowledged by the Oscars, is Le Mans’ 66, also known as Ford vs. Ferrari.

It tells the story of Ken Miles (Christian Bale) a fearless British driver who led Ford into the 1966 Le Mans Race in their quest to topple the dominant Ferrari.

Only just released, it isn’t yet available for free on any streaming service but can be rented for £4.49 from Amazon. It’s money well spent.



Caddyshack (£3.49)

Best quote: “Hey everybody! We’re all gonna get laid!”

The second comedy on the list. The second insane golf comedy on the list. Caddyshack, like Happy Gilmore, had to be included.

Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield are the Saturday Night Live alumni leading the way in this hysterical National Lampoons spoof directed by Harold Ramis of Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day fame.

The plot is absurd and irrelevant but it’s perfect laugh out loud, Saturday night, on your settee fodder.



If you finish those…


Netflix: Goon, Eddie the Eagle, Space Jam, Coach Carter

Disney+: Cool Runnings, The Mighty Ducks, Million Dollar Arm, Secretariat, Miracle, The Greatest Game Ever Played

Sky Movies / Now TV: Chariots of Fire, Field of Dreams, Hands of Stone, Glory Road, Mean Machine, The Blind Side, Talladega Nights, Kingpin



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