Sports and Cinema - A Match Made in Heaven

Written by Bob Rogers
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Sports and Cinema - A Match Made in Heaven Source: Pixabay

Why do we love sports so much? Is it the drama, the unexpected outcome, the colourful characters? Maybe it’s all at once.

The history of sports is full of surprising twists and inspiring stories of underdogs beating their much stronger opponents. So much story-telling potential couldn’t go unnoticed by the movie industry. Looking for suggestions for your next movie night? Sports fans and moviegoers have plenty of epic films to choose from.

The Beautiful Game Steals The Show

With about 4 billion fans spanning all continents, football is the biggest sport in the world. It is perhaps the most suspenseful sport of all too. Nothing can match the sheer excitement of a live football game. Still, cinema couldn’t pass by the opportunity to bring the beautiful game to the big screen. Some movies have explored the football industry from within, such as Tom Hooper’s The Damned United. This 2009 film depicts the real-life story of manager Brian Clough, whose short-lived attempt at coaching Leeds United lasted for about 44 days.

Other films have blended current issues and romance with football. British movie Bend it like Beckham explores the dreams of a young girl, torn between her conservative Indian family and her ambition of becoming the female David Beckham. Released in 2005, Danny Cannon’s Goal went as far as to cast David Beckham, among other cameos like Zinedine Zidane and Raúl. Unfortunately, the trilogy bombed at the box office, contrary to the surprise success of Hong Kong director Stephen Chow. Probably the wackiest of all football films, Shaolin Soccer is a fun mix of football and martial arts.

Movies That Pack a Punch

Boxing has been a recurring theme in cinema, more than any other sport. The 1940s paved the way, perhaps as a subtle metaphor for the many soldiers who had just returned home from a traumatic war. Post-war movies such as Body and Soul, Champion, and The Set-Up left a lasting mark on the world of boxing movies. Their influence can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, a black-and-white movie starring Robert DeNiro. The British drama Jawbone also follows in their footsteps, as it celebrates the underdog triumphing over adversity with his fists.

Over the years, boxing movies have managed to appeal to the mainstream audience, as well as professional juries. Three boxing-themed movies have earned Oscars, including From Here to Eternity and Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. The other winner is none other than the cult movie Rocky. When Sylvester Stallone showed his script to Hollywood producers, he was just another obscure actor. In 1977, he rose to stardom as Rocky won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Countless sequels ensued, from Rocky Balboa to the Creed saga.

The Most British of Sports Hits the Theatres

Cricket is massively popular in the UK, second only to football. The British brought the game to the rest of their world during the 19th-century. Even after their rule ended, cricket remained all the rage from the West Indies to the Indian subcontinent. It should come as no surprise that one of the best cricket movies came from India. Lagaan tells the story of a rural community in 19th-century India, whose villagers challenge their British rulers to a game of cricket. Their goal is to ease the crushing taxes imposed on them — Lagaan in Hindi. This Bollywood epic hit Time magazine’s top sports movies of all time.

Another award-winning movie, Wondrous Oblivion is a tale of friendship between a Jewish immigrant boy and his West Indian neighbours, cemented by their joint passion for cricket. This coming-of-age film captures the atmosphere of 1960s South London. It also reflects on social issues like race.

Movies That Defy the Odds

Your favourite team just won the game, thanks to a hat-trick you predicted. Ever thought you should have put some money on the striker? You’re not the only one. Cinema has always enjoyed a shady character, and the world of sports betting is full of them. Two for the Money puts Matthew McConaughey in the shoes of a former college football star with a unique flair for sports betting predictions. In a lighter tone, the German comedy-thriller Bookies follows the tribulations of three students, who face the local Italian mob after they start a bookie business.

With the rise of online sports betting, bettors can now place their bets from the comfort of their couch. Many sports betting hubs like allow them to compare bookmakers so that they can make the most of their experience. Yet, gambling wasn’t always that easy. The Color of Money delves into the psychology of gamblers played by Tom Cruise and Paul Newman, at a time when bettors were still seen as dubious figures.

From indie films to Hollywood blockbusters, sports and cinema have always been the perfect pairing. Bring out the popcorn and let the game begin!

Source: Pixabay

Read 1895 times Last modified on Monday, 19 July 2021 18:17
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Bob Rogers

Bob Rogers

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