Ron Howard's new film Rush, centered on a 1970s Formula 1 (car racing) rivalry, comes out September 27 and has garnered a promising IMDB rating of 8.4 so far. Formula 1 might not appeal to you, but plenty of great sports films transcend sports and give non-fans a reason to take notice. Here are six of the best.
It was estimated that three million people were in the streets of Sao Paulo mourning the passing of the Brazilian Formula 1 Driver Ayryton Senna in 1994. When the 2010 documentary shows you how Senna drove and viewed himself, that starts to make sense. It made me care about a sport I never thought I would.
"You're 5 foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years."
Rudy's eventual garbage time sack against Georgia Tech will evoke something strong in you relating to dreams, adversity, and success, regardless of whether you know who Josh Scobee is. The music by Jerry Goldsmith has something to do with it.
3. Hoop Dreams
"People ask me will I remember them if I make it? I tell them 'will you remember me if I don't?"'
The 1994 PBS documentary shows us the high school years of two kids from Chicago dreaming of making it to the NBA. It's not often that 170-minute films about basketball get honored at Sundance. It's especially worthy of a watch at a time when amateurism and corruption in youth sports are hot topics.
Like Senna, Prefontaine is the story of a transcendent athlete who died tragically. It's also an underdog story despite its focus on a guy who shattered American middle distance records and never lost a college race. Not much in sports, real or fictional, is as heroic as Steve Prefontaine's late push in the 5,000 meters at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
5. Field of Dreams
"Ray, people will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past."
Kevin Costner's classic film beautifully celebrates family, tradition, and baseball's past.
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."
Hoosiers tells an uplifting story of a team growing together under hardship and excites everyone who has ever tried to win anything without having the most talent.