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A Few Fantastic Sports Films That Simply Have To Be On Your Watch List

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Sports movies are a special, often underappreciated genre of film.

They aren’t just ways for sports fans to get more of the action they love when the stadiums are closed. They’re a chance to experience dramatic realizations of the adrenaline and passion of live sport, envision new ways of persevering against the odds, and further understand the icons that have helped shape some of the most memorable moments in our lives.

Whether fictional, dramatic re-tellings, or insightful documentaries, sports films have a special place in fan’s hearts. If you’re an avid watcher or a new fan looking to fill the sports-spaced hole in your life lockdown has caused, here are some sports films that simply must be on your watch list.

Moneyball (2011)

In their list of the best sports films for betting fans, Online Casinos said they loved Moneyball for its focus on data, analysis, and success.

Now that might make this Bred Pitt feature seem like nothing more than a number game, but it’s actually a fascinating insight into one of the most incredible sports stories ever told, and a look at the internal battle going on behind the scenes at a lot of major sports franchises. One between old-school methodology and new, data-driven ways of achieving glory.

Based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, Moneyball tells the true story of the Oakland A’s, a middling baseball team that shocked the world by winning the MLB World Series with a team of undervalued players scouted using innovate data analysis.

Not just one for the sports nerds, Moneyball will excite old school fans with excellent acting and the drama of a genuinely amazing story you’d be a fool to pass on.

Diego Maradonna (2019)

Diego Maradonna is one of the most revered soccer players of all time. A maverick known just as well for his off-field antics as the beauty he could create with a ball at his feet.

Playing out more like a dream than a traditional documentary, Diego Maradonna captures everything that made the Argentine one of the greatest to ever play the game, and all that eventually cast a shadow over him.

The film covers Maradonna’s transfer to and time with Italian club Napoli, making heavy use of previously unseen archive footage that helps to establish the cult of Maradonna. The shots of him driving through the streets of Naples, addressing feverish crowds that look like something out of the peak of Beatlemania and, of course, dominating on the football pitch manage to capture the beauty and flaw of Maradonna in equal measure.

Driven by voiceover and insight from experts on the man, we study Maradonna’s life, his ethics, and the role football plays within it. Unlike any sports documentary out there. This is not one to watch to understand the facts and figures of the game, but why some players take on iconic status.

Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows (1998)

It’s up for debate whether or not it’s right to call professional wrestling a sport, but there’s no doubting the athletic demands and sheer bizarreness of it all. Paul Jay’s Wrestling With Shadows shows that in wrestling aggression, passion and backstabbing aren’t just confined to what’s happening in the ring.

Like all good documentaries, production started with one intention before naturally transforming into a completely different film (for the better). Wrestling With Shadows was originally intended to document the final year of fan-favorite Bret Hart’s time with Vince McMahon’s WWF before controversially jumping ship to rival organization WCW.

Rather than a victory lap, the film becomes a tale of betrayal and paranoia as Hart’s agony at the decision before him and the shocking real-life climax of the film shows the passion and blind dedication many wrestlers had for their craft at the apex of the 90’s wrestling war.

One that all sports fans can find something in, whether it’s a peek behind the often mysterious wrestling curtain, a dramatic tale of an underdog hero or a shocking reminder that good doesn’t always prevail over evil.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Few sports films have the cult status Hoop Dreams does.

Esteemed film critic Roger Ebert named it the best film of the 1990sand one of the best he’d ever seen about American life. High praise, but there’s no denying Hoop Dreams lives up to it.

Following the story of two black American teenagers looking to make it big in basketball, Hoop Dreams is a sports film that realizes sport is less about the ball, the court and who wins in the end, but the people involved and the circumstances that surround their lives.

Hoop Dreams clocks in at about 3 hours in total, so it’s not one to flip on when you’re still running off the energy of a big game. You connect with the two central protagonists over the course of 5 years as they struggle to balance the demands of breaking into professional basketball with the socioeconomic hardships of growing up young, black and poor in America and finding your way in a predominately white education system.

A unique palate cleanser after the majesty of The Last Dance, you can’t call yourself a true sports film fan if you haven’t experienced Hoop Dreams.

When full time is called we can’t think of many better ways to wind down for an evening than with these great sports films. Some will shock you while others will keep you in suspense, but they all capture what’s so enticing about sport.

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