If we do not take the definition of a sports film too close, the IMDb Top 250, the list with the world’s top rated films, contains 17 sports films. You can find them below. Is this little or much? It depends on how you look at it.
For fiction filmmakers it is very hard to (re)create that magical sports moment. Compared to documentaries, the action you see is put in scene and often feels fake. You are looking at actors, not professional athletes. Generally speaking it is very hard to make non-athletes look like real ones. Especially with sports films that are based on true events, where actors have to represent well known heroes. Only a few manage to do it well. Maybe that explains why we do not find so much sports films in our list.
On the other hand, if we look closer, an astonishing 12 out of the 17 sports films on our list are martial arts films. It appears that fighters form the exception to the rule. It is hard to explain why. Is it easier to stage a good fight? Or do we maybe just have a soft spot for the fighting man? Do we maybe think that fighting men are more heroic than other sportsmen? In any case, from that point of view, 12 martial-arts films in the IMDbTop 250 sounds like a lot.
The list. Like we said, whether all of these films can be considered sports films is debatable. Comment if you do not agree. Million Dollar Baby is our favourite by the way. That’s because of the appearance of ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in the World’, our fellow countrywoman Lucia Rijker. What’s yours?
7. Pulp Fiction (1994) –Matrial Arts (boxing)
10. Fight Club (1999) – Matrial Arts
13. Forrest Gump (1994) – Running, Ping Pong & American Football
19. Seven Samurai (1954) – Matrial Arts
46. Gladiator (2000) – Matrial Arts
99. Rashômon (1950) – Matrial Arts
107. Yojimbo (1961) – Matrial Arts
143. Warrior (2011) – Matrial Arts
152. The Big Lebowski (1998) – Bowling
174. Rush (2013) – Formula 1 Racing
193. Amores perros (2000) – Dogfighting
194. Million Dollar Baby (2004) – Matrial Arts (boxing)
197. Ben Hur (1959) – Matrial Arts
213. Rocky (1976) – Matrial Arts (boxing)
235. Yip Man (2008) – Martial Arts
247. Throne of Blood (1957) – Martial arts
250. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) – Cricket