Top 10: The greatest sports films ever made

With MS Dhoni’s biopic releasing in the UAE tomorrow, we take a look at some of the best movies there's ever been in the sports genre.

Meryl D'Souza September 28, 2016

The 2011 Cricket World Cup final wasn’t off to the best start for the host nation. Chasing a target of 275 posted by Sri Lanka, the Indians were stuttering after the team’s openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were taken out of the equation for a total of 18 runs – all scored by Sachin. 

Virat Kohli, who came in at number four after Gautam Gambhir, looked in good touch but threw his wicket away for 35 runs. With the third wicket down, Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided he had to take responsibility as a captain.

Dhoni didn’t have a great tournament. In fact, he was struggling for form. He promoted himself over his teammate Yuvraj Singh who was in blistering form for the whole World Cup. The move looked like a disaster waiting to happen but the man known as Mahi – not for the first time in his career – kept his cool and guided India to a point where they needed just four runs off 11 balls. That’s when Dhoni did this:

With that, he became the only the second Indian captain to lift the World Cup trophy for his country. We’re only venturing a guess but there’s a strong chance that the cricketer’s biopic, that’s out in the Middle East tomorrow, will end with that moment.

Sports movies have this inherent ability to make you want to stand up and cheer by the time the credits roll. They’re satisfying and can be the perfect pick-me-up when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year. So this long weekend you could catch MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and then go on a sports movie marathon. Here are our 10 best to get you started.

Rocky (1976)

The story of: Who are we kidding, everyone knows Rocky. Next.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

The story of: British track and field athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams and their path to gold at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. 

Caddyshack (1980)

The story of: A young man who pursues a caddy scholarship in hopes of attending college and, in turn, avoiding a job at the lumberyard. It may sound boring, but it’s worth mentioning that ESPN and TIME consider this flick as one of the funniest sports movies of all time. 

Raging Bull (1980)

The story of: Jake LaMotta, an Italian American middleweight boxer, whose rage and appetite for violence destroys his life outside the ring.

Major League (1989)

The story of: A Las Vegas showgirl who inherits Cleveland Indians baseball team and uses a mix of passed-their-prime veterans and inexperienced rookies to replace the current team; all so that she can have the Indians moved to Miami for a better deal.

When we were Kings (1996)

The story of: The famous “Rumble in the Jungle” championship bout between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire on October 30, 1974. It took Academy Award winning director, Leon Gast, 22 years to edit and finance the documentary before it was finally released.

Remember the Titans (2000)

The story of: African American coach Herman Boone who strives to overcome the stigma of racial discrimination by introducing a racially diverse team at the T. C. Williams High School in the city of Alexandria, Virginia.

Miracle (2004)

The story of: University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks led the United States Olympic Men’s ice hockey team to victory over the heavily favoured Soviet team to clinch gold in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  

Senna (2010)

The story of: Ayrton Senna, a young boy from São Paulo, who took the F1 world by storm, winning three championships until the accident that led to his untimely death at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.

Rush (2013)

The story of: Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda and their rivalry during the 1976 F1 season.