Whether on grass, dirt, outdoors, in the ring or in an indoor arena, almost any sporting discipline has all the ingredients for a cinematic story that, if approached with intelligence and skill, can be anthologised.
That said, it is not surprising that there are as many best UK bookies as there are films in the sports drama sub-genre.
Moreover, they have transcended their category to be remembered as great works in the history of cinema. For this reason, we would like to dedicate this article to the 6 best sports films for film enthusiasts
1. The Pride of the Yankees
Although it only won one of the eleven Oscars it was nominated for at the 1943 ceremony, this film, halfway between a biopic and a sports drama, is a real treat in both technical and artistic aspects. Its emotive portrayal of baseball legend Lou Gehrig, played by an immeasurable Gary Cooper, its fantastic cinematography and Sam Wood’s impeccable staging make this film worthy of a place in the film library of any lover of good cinema and sports.
2. Chariots of Fire
Although the first thing that usually comes to mind when reading or hearing the title of ‘Chariots of Fire’ is the eternal soundtrack composed by Vangelis for the occasion, this sports drama stands out for being part of that select group of opera primes awarded the Oscar for best film.
Hugh Hudson’s first work is as academic in formal terms as it is effective: visually impeccable, with a contained and perfectly structured script and a capacity to move that has not aged in the slightest over the last 37 years.
3. Any Given Sunday
Formally, ‘Any Given Sunday‘ may suffer too much from the tacky, over-the-top tone that marked many productions of the late nineties, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the most intense exercises in American football directing. Who better than Oliver Stone to delve for nearly three hours into the darkest corners of the sport, and who better than Al Pacino to bring the legendary coach D’Amato to life in an experience as exhilarating as winning a game with a last-second touchdown.
4. The Damned United
Take a director with the more than proven talent of Tom Hooper, add a screenwriter who has given birth to scripts such as ‘Frost v. Nixon’, ‘The Queen’ or ‘The Last King of Scotland’, complete the mix with a first class cast with some of the best British actors of the moment and the result is what is probably the best football film in the history of cinema. Fantastic direction, tone and a gripping true story with a real-life feel make it a strong contender for this list.
5. Escape to Victory
Only a legend like John Huston could turn an idea as crazy as the one that shapes the premise of ‘Escape to Victory’ into a cult classic that triumphs from the perspective of both prison drama and sports film. Above and beyond the master Huston’s direction, it is worth mentioning a cast in which great acting names such as Max von Sydow and Michael Caine shared the set with players of the stature of Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles and Pelé himself. A highly entertaining twist on World War II cinema that worked wonders at the box office, and for good reason.
6. The Wrestler
The Wrestler is not only an excellent and moving drama, directed with the indistinguishable stamp of the New York filmmaker, starring a Mickey Rourke who displays overflowing sensitivity and photographed in beautiful 16mm by a Maryse Alberti in a state of grace.
In addition to all this, it is a faithful representation of the world of wrestling praised by personalities such as Vince McMahon, president of WWE, Bret Hart or Roddy Piper himself, and which has great professionals of the wrestling industry such as Necro Butcher, John Zandig, Chuck Taylor or Nate Hatred as luxury supporting actors.