10 sports films to stream while social distancing
With many people now at home for a few weeks, here are 10 of the best sports movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer to keep you entertained.
Moneyball – Netflix
You don’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy Moneyball.
Brad Pitt stars as Oakland Athletic general manager Billy Beane, whose team of misfits are set up as classic sporting underdogs against the formidable, big-spending New York Yankees.
The film is a realistic depiction of how Beane, along with assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), ditched traditional scouting philosophies in favour of analytics and changed baseball – and sport in general – forever.
Friday Night Lights – Netflix
Friday Night Lights was a hugely successful television show in America, but the film is the more faithful – and superior – adaptation of H. G. Bissinger’s book.
It follows the Permian Panthers, a high-school team in the American-football-obsessed city of Odessa, and stars Billy Bob Thornton as under-pressure coach Gary Gaines.
It’s authentic. It’s gritty. It’s brilliant.
Rush – Netflix
Rush depicts the fierce rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970, and is possibly the most underrated film on this list.
The genuinely exhilarating race scenes and Daniel Bruhl’s exceptional performance as the relentlessly driven Lauda mean this really should be talked about as one of the best sports films of the 21st century.
Aside from some occasionally dodgy commentary, it doesn’t miss a gear.
The Fighter – Netflix
Of the many, many boxing films out there, this is one of the best.
The Fighter tells the true story of the career of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a professional boxer from the working-class town of Lowell, Massachusetts.
The real star is Christian Bale, though, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund, Ward’s crack-addicted older brother who trains Ward and lives off the fact that he once fought Sugar Ray Leonard.
Warrior – Netflix
The premise of Warrior alone should convince you to watch it.
Tom Hardy plays a former marine who trains to compete in an MMA tournament, in which he’s destined to face his own estranged brother in the final.
If that wasn’t enough, former WWE superstar Kurt Angle appears as a formidable Russian fighter called Koba, who Hardy meets in the semi-finals. Sign us up.
Fighting With My Family – Netflix
Does wrestling qualify as sport? We think so.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Stephen Merchant teamed up to create this comedy about the career of real-life professional wrestler Paige, who grew up in Norwich and made it all the way to the WWE.
It’s got an unbelievable ensemble cast that features Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Julia Davis (Gavin and Stacy) and Vince Vaughn (Dodgeball).
Happy Gilmore – Netflix
You’ll probably need a laugh after a few weeks at home with no sport to watch.
This comedy about a failed ice hockey player who takes his talents to professional golf is one of the funnier sports films available on streaming services, and is a high point in Adam Sandler’s mixed 1990s filmography.
Christopher McDonald steals the show as Shooter McGavin, one of the most loathsome villains in the history of cinema.
Looking for Eric – Amazon Prime
There aren’t many good football films around, but Looking for Eric is certainly one that’s worth watching.
The comedy-drama about a depressed Mancunian postman’s imaginary relationship with his hero features a typically charismatic performance from Cantona himself.
It’s one of Ken Loach’s more positive films, and the director does an excellent job of portraying just how much football can mean to the working class.
I, Tonya – Amazon Prime
Margot Robbie earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title character in this biographical comedy-drama about American figure skater Tonya Harding.
Starting out as a relatively light-hearted biopic, the film gets very dark very quickly as it retells one of the most controversial incidents in the history of American sport.
It delves deep into the past of Harding – widely considered a sporting villain – and leaves you rooting for her.
Foxcatcher – BBC iPlayer
Foxcatcher is only available on iPlayer until 6 April, so this isn’t one to save until the summer.
Steve Carrell proved he’s not just a comedy actor with a critically acclaimed performance as John du Pont, the eccentric billionaire who established a training facility for American wrestlers at his Foxcatcher Farm.
The eerie drama that depicts Du Pont’s descent into madness earned five Oscar nominations in 2015, including Best Actor for Carrell.