My favourite Sports Films

The European football championship – soccer for the American readers – has started, and the first countries have already qualified for the next round. Unfortunately, my favourite team, The Netherlands – of course – , is not part of the championship this team. This means no fans in orange shirts, yet. Because in a few weeks the Olympic Games start in Rio! An event every sports fan is looking forward to, especially since the Dutch football team is absent during this championship. To kill the time, I’ve put my favourite sports films in a row!

1. Bend It Like Beckham – 2002

The women football team in the Netherlands is becoming more and more popular. In England however there already was a successful football film in 2002 where women are in the lead roles. In Bend it like Beckham, Keira Knigtley and Parminder Nagra play the roles of Jules and Jess, who work hard to win the championship with their team. As an Pakistan-English girl, Jess doesn’t get the support from her family in her decision to play football, which makes the film a bit more dramatic. A very young Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the role of the team’s trainer, which is Jules is in love with. The film is highly suitable film for the ladies.

Bend it like Beckham

2. She’s the Man – 2006

The comical She’s the Man is also perfect for a girls night out. The lead roles are played by Channing Tatum (Duke) and Amanda Bynes (Viola), who end up in a team together. When the girls team is lifted, Viola makes a plan so she can still play football. She heads over to her brother’s boarding school and disguises herself as him. With the help of one of her teammates, Duke, she/he becomes the star if the team. Troubles start when Viola falls for Duke, but another girl wants the attention of Viola’s alter-ego. Former footballer Vinnie Jones plays the team’s trainer. 

She's the man

3. Mean Machine – 2001

Vinnie Jones also plays in the film Mean Machine, a rough film where inmates have to face the prison guards in a soccer match. After Jones’ character football player Danny Meehan has to go to jail for assault against police officers, it’s up to Danny to set up a football team. This team consists of only inmates who have to face the far better team of the prison guards. Starring action hero Jason Statham in the other lead, which is a good thing for Statham fans! 

Mean Machine

4. Invictus – 2009

Invictus shows a different sport: Rugby. It’s 1995 when South-Africa organises the world championship rugby. Nelson Mandela has just started with his president ship and sees the championship as a way to unite the country. There’s only one problem: the country’s rugby team, known as the Springboks, sucks. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon play the lead parts as respectively Nelson Mandela and the team’s captain: François Pienaar. Invictus has a more dramatic vibe than the films mentioned before, but the rugby matches are amazing to watch! 


5. Eddie the Eagle – 2016

England doesn’t know many ski jumpers, but after six decades in 1973 there was Eddie Edwards. When Eddie was a young boy, he dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete. After lots of training and with some ups and downs, he could join the Olympic Games of 1988. Despite of his bad results, Eddie put down a British record and the whole world cheered for him and got the nickname Eddie the Eagle. Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman play the lead parts in this biography. 

eddie the eagle

6. Creed – 2015

Sylvester Stallone is back as Rocky Balboa in boxing film Creed. He is a few years older and less fit, and takes it easy. Untill he meet Adonis Creed, the son of boxing rival Apollo Creed. Adonis wants to become just as good as his father was, and with Rocky’s help and training he hopes to make it on his own. Michael B. Jordan plays the role of Adonis Creed, but despite of everybody’s wishes, Jordan didn’t receive an Oscan nomination for his performance. Stallone did get a nomination and also won a Golden Globe. 


7. The Karate Kid – 2010

There are multiple films with the name ‘Karate Kid’, but the 2010 version starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan is my favourite. The American boy Dre moves with his mother to China, where Dre learns everything about karate. He gets fascinated by the sport and to prove himself before his classmates, Dre decides he want to be trained by handyman Mr. Han (Chan). This version is just like Eddie the Eagle a nice feel-good film which shows that with hard work and dedication you can accomplish more than you think.

the karate kid

8. Space Jam – 1996

Space Jam is a very hilarious film every nineties kid must have seen a few times in their life. The combination of live-action and animation, Looney Tunes characters and a famous basketball player, makes this film brilliant. Basketball legend Michael Jordan plays the lead part in this film where he teams up with the Loony Tunes who need his help in a basketball tournament against some evil aliens. These aliens suck the talent out of other famous basketball players to get even better. The film is still very popular, and therefore it is no surprise the film is getting a sequel. This time with an other legend: LeBron James. 

Space Jam

9. Cool Runnings – 1993

A different very funny nineties sports film is Cool Runnings. A group of Jamaican athletes put everything aside to qualifier themselves for the Winter Games as a bobsled team. It’s a tough path to the games. They need money, equipment and lots of training. But also this film is in the end a feel-good film that shows hard work and dedication is all you need. 

cool runnings

10. Bring It On (franchise)

The last film in this list is actually a franchise and can not be missed, because where would an athlete or team be without their fans and supporters? The Bring it On franchise consists of five films and cheerleaders play the lead part. The films are probably not meant for men, but it’s very enjoyable for girls and maybe older ladies as well. The films show lots of predictable clichés and is perfect for film night with your girlfriends.

Bring it on

There are of course a lot more films where a sport is being played. The ten above are my personal favourites. Not because they are Oscar worthy, but mostly because they are fun to watch. 


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