Celia Roche takes a look at her 3 favourite sports films.
Hollywood loves a sporting biopic. Not only are they huge money-makers, they also offer directors the chance to make poignant and critically successful films. Just look at The Blind Side, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film, while Sandra Bullock’s lead turn won her an Oscar for best actress.
Below are three of the best sports films ever made…
Rocky – 1976
The film that transformed Sylvester Stallone from a Hell’s Kitchen street tough to a Hollywood megastar. Written by and starring Sly, Rocky paints a bleak portrayal of a Philadelphia amateur boxer who makes ends meet by being a mob enforcer, something that really goes against his moral code. Rock’s life gets turned upside down when he gets picked to fight the world champion Apollo Creed after Creed’s opponent pulls out injured. The training scenes for said fight are now iconic and pioneered the way for montages on film. Everyone has seen Rocky using the cow carcass as a boxing bag and running up those steps outside the Philadelphia Museum. With Academy Awards for best director and best picture Rocky is the undisputed greatest sports film of all time. And, while there may not be any more Rockys, there’s still plenty of boxing action on offer for punters, so check out the Titan Bet markets for the latest bouts.
Seabiscuit – 2003
With a cast involving Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges, on paper Seabiscuit had all the makings of a great film, while on-screen it proved to be a great film. The smaller-than-average horse Seabiscuit comes into the ownership of Charles S. Howard (Bridges), who employs fiery jockey Red Pollard (Maguire). The film has some fantastic Depression era racetracks and the race scenes are fantastic, but it’s more than just about horse racing; the film focuses on how this one temperamental horse (who in today’s world resembles Titan Bet’s Cheltenham Festival bet and watch contender My Tent or Yours), managed to fix all these broken people rather than how they fixed him. With seven Academy Award nominations to its name, it is one of the most critically respected sports films ever produced.
The Fighter – 2010
The film that kick-started the David O. Russell renaissance, The Fighter proved a big hit with both audiences and critics. Based on the life of boxer Mickey Ward and starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Yeo, the film amassed seven Academy Award nominations, with Bale and Yeo both winning respective supporting male and female Oscars. Not only is the storyline overwhelmingly absorbing, the realism that Wahlberg wanted really comes through. There was no stunt double used in any of the fight scenes. What you see is actually someone properly battering Wahlberg. It’s a gritty film and Bale’s performance as Ward’s drug-addled brother is phenomenal.