3 sporting films to watch if you’re avoiding the football

It might have come to your attention that there’s a bit of football on at the minute, but if you prefer your sports to be scripted, what are some alternatives to the Euros?

There’s no Escape To Victory, Rocky or Chariots Of Fire here – though all are fine films, here are three fairly recent options for anyone who’s not that into the footie.


Notable for yet another mumbling but muscular performance by Tom Hardy, Warrior is heavy on the emotional impact of MMA as well as the impact of fists, elbows and knees to faces.

At the heart of the film is a powerful but troubled relationship between Hardy’s former marine and his brother, played by Joel Edgerton, as well as their father, played by the human personification of ‘grizzled’, Nick Nolte.

By the time the bell rings on the final fight, you’re completely invested in it, and even if you’ve never seen an MMA match in your life (full disclosure – I haven’t), you’re on the edge of your seat and feeling every punch, both physical and emotional.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Pretty much the antithesis to Warrior, Dodgeball is a big, broad, silly and surprisingly satisfying comedy.

Yes, it’s daft, maybe the messaging is a little wonky, and obviously, enjoyment of this will vary depending on your tolerance on Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.

But as a light-hearted way to come down after a tough day (or disappointing match), you could do a lot worse.

The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke’s big comeback film was a grim and gritty look at life on the bottom rung of the sporting ladder.

Like Warrior, it’s a film that’s ostensibly about sport but has a very human story at its heart, as Rourke’s wrestler comes to terms with the fact his best days are behind him while trying to build relationships with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), and a dancer at his local strip club (Marisa Tomei).

There are no real ‘punch the air’ moments of sporting victory, but again, by the time Rourke climbs the ropes in what will likely be his final match, it’s a hard hearted viewer that doesn’t feel emotional.

What else?

Obviously, there are tonnes of great (and not so great), sporting films out there, many of which are better than the three above – and I haven’t even mentioned sporting biopics.

So which sporting films would you recommend to anyone who’s not fussed about the football? Get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments and have your say!

3 thoughts on “3 sporting films to watch if you’re avoiding the football

Add yours

  1. Field Of Dreams and The Natural are both seldom short of sentimentality but their homespun, almost hokum nature add a genuinely affectionate air to the plot and characters. And for once, they bring the occasionally exasperating game of baseball to life.
    For me the greatest sporting film has to be Raging Bull, Scorsese’s scorching portrayal of world championship boxing. A masterpiece of brutality and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen The Natural, but very much agree with your other choices! I found Jake LaMotta an incredibly unlikeable individual – no arguing with the quality of the film or the boxing scenes though, utterly brutal!


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