With sport on all our minds this summer what better time to take a look back at our most inspirational sports films, many of which depict true stories of sporting greatness.
Winner of three Oscars, including Best Picture, grossing over $225 million and spawning five sequels Rocky is the most renowned sports film of all time. Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, a small time boxer who gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavy weight champion in a fight in which he endeavours to go the distance for his self-respect.
Raging Bull (1980)
Martin Scorsese brings us the critically acclaimed boxing film made from the memoirs of Italian American boxer, Jake LaMotta. Robert De Niro plays Jake, a prize fighter in the ring who obliterates his opponent, but when he treats his family the same way, he is viewed as a ticking time bomb. This rage that makes him a champion, in real life leaves him struggling to hold onto his family and friends, leaving him alone in the ring.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
We’ve all recreated the beach scene and this British classic tells the true story of our two most renowned British track athletes, Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God and Harold Abrahams, a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs to overcome prejudice and their battle to compete at the 1924 Summer Olympics.
Days of Thunder (1990)
Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder is described as Top Gun on Wheels. Cruise plays Cole Trickle a young driver who is recruited to drive in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the film follows his trials and tribulations to the race of the year, the Daytona 500.
Cool Runnings (1993)
Loosely based on a true story, this comedic portrayal of the Jamaican bobsleigh teams attempt to compete at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics won the hearts of many upon its release. It’s become a firm family favourite as the unlikely team train in the blistering heat and see the snow for the first time on their arrival to Calgary unprepared without even a bobsleigh to their name.
Space Jam (1996)
A sports film with a twist; Space Jam see’s NBA star Michael Jordan help the Loony Toons play a basketball game against the alien slavers to determine their freedom. Bugs Bunny & Co challenge their puny stubby legged foes to a game on basketball but find the tables turned when they steal the talents of the top basketball team leaving the Loony Toons to desperately enlist Jordan if they have any hope of winning.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Any Given Sunday follows Tony D’Amato, head coach of the American football two-time champion team The Miami Sharks as he tries to hold his losing team together. With an all–star cast featuring Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, this film has gone down in history as one of the all-time greats.
Tobey Maguire plays Red, the child of a wealthy family ruined by the Great Depression, who is employed as ahorse trainer due to his family’s desperate need for money and ends up a champion jockey. The story of Seabiscuit the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of its team but also those of the whole nation is a film not to be missed.
The Blind Side (2009)
This semi-biographical film of the story of Michael Oher, is a heart-warming tale of a homeless and traumatized teenager whose life is transformed when he is taken in by a charitable dynamic women played by Sandra Bullock, who offers him a home and a chance to change his life forever through football.
Two-time Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood directs Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman in a deeply moving true story of two men who unite to heal the wounds of a nation.South Africa, 1995, after surviving years in prison for his efforts to end injustice, Nelson Mandela (Freeman) has led his country to defeat apartheid and been elected President, but the legacy of 50 years of hatred still threatens to tear South Africa apart. Now, Mandela reaches out to Francois Pienaar (Damon), captain of the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, long a symbol of white oppression. By championing the Springboks’ thousand-to-one chance, Mandela, Pienaar and the Springboks unite 43 million South Africans into one nation dreaming of winning the World Cup of Rugby.
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