I was curious what sports films make the grade for the Criterion crowd. Personally, I’m a big Ron Shelton fan (Bull Durham, Tin Cup, White Men Can’t Jump) and I’m sure classics like Raging Bull, Chariots of Fire and the first Rocky have some fans even amongst a more discerning filmgoing crowd. What else is popular here? Are there any Criterion releases that could be described as sports films?
Is drag racing a sport? “Two Lane Black Top”. “The Natural” has a certain charm. I absolutely love “Rocky” and “Raging Bull”. I’ve never seen the ‘other’ Rocky movie with Paul Newman as Rocky Graciano, “Somebody Up There Likes Me” And everyone should revisit “The Bad News Bears”. I insist.
Hoop Dreams. I’ve never seen it, but it’s a Criterion-released sports film.
I don’t think there are many great sports films. Certainly Raging Bull, and more recently, The Wrestler. However, those movies are less interested in the actual sport than in using them as metaphorical devices. To be a true “sports” movie, I think it’s primary concern must actually be the sport. A good recent one would be Friday Night Lights.
“Ali”, “Hoosiers”, “Eight Men Out” ( about the Chicago Black Sox scandal ) Tommy Lee Jones played Ty Cobb. And Paul Newman in “Slap Shot”.
Slap Shot! Was that a film or just a ton of clichés joined together end-to-end!
If we are getting away with that then I’ll have BASEketball!
I got carried away Cestparti. That movie made me laugh. I wouldn’t actually recommend it for Criterion. I’ll try to be more careful. So, no. No BASEketball, please!!!
Adam-The Wrestler is about pro wrestling which is not a sport per se.
I would go with Raging Bull, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Set Up, Eight Men Out, Tin Cup, Bull Durham off the top of my head.
Hate Rocky with a passion.
To each his own, but just curious Steve, what makes you hate Rocky?
Soybean=One it’s just a retread of Somebody Up There Likes Me. Plus I have an adversion to everything Stallone. Just one of those actors I don’t find at all watchable(same with Streisand, Liza Minelli, Adam Sandler). Plus the Rocky theme.
Breaking Away — Sport: Bicycling. Great fun, that film.
Fair enough. I thought it would be because he beat it to death with, what is it five sequels now? Just like Rambo. bleh. I did however like the first “Rocky”. I agree with your other aversions whole heartedly.
DOWNHILL RACER (Michael Ritchie,1969) Robert Redford in what I believe was one of his best performances. A James Salter screenplay. Gene Hackman quite good as the ski coach, modeled on Bob Beattie. The Redford character, Davaid Chappellet, was Spider Sabich’s double. A box office bust, maybe because who wants to watch an existentialist ski racer race? But a most interesting film, if you can get your hands on a copy.
I forgot about bowling-if he can be considered a sport-that would allow in Kingpin and The Big Lebowski. Any good films about cricket or curling?
MMOORE-Downhill Racer I haven’t seen for a longtime but remember it being pretty good.
It’s tough to make a “great” sports movie, but the rigid adherence to cliche and formula can make for a really enjoyable, light viewing experience. If I’m flipping though channels and Major League is on TBS, I always stop for a few minutes. The fact that nobody seems to be trying all that hard is specifically what makes it so easy to watch.
If I had to pick a favorite that fit firmly within the genre, I’d unequivocally say Shaolin Soccer. Introduced me to Stephen Chow, and works perfectly in every respect.
(Sorry about the double post)
This Sporting Life, even if it focuses more on Richard Harris’ problems with his relationships than sports, and I’ll say Breaking Away as well, it is a lot of fun. And I can’t forget the original Bad News Bears, that will never get old, raunchy goodness that isn’t faked, I got the feeling the kids in the movie actually spoke like that in reality.
THE SPORTING LIFE. Yo, most dif. And while we’re in England, THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER.
Didn’t someone make a movie of THE GOALIE’S ANXIETY AT THE PENALTY KICK? (I didn’t see it. Was it any good? Loved the thin little book.)
‘Friday night lights’ is a great sports film, such a guilty pleasure.
I don’t see anybody mention Remember the Titans
I absolutely love Cinderella Man, but I’m not sure if it could be considered Criterion-worthy or not.
Win Wenders made a movie of Goalie’s Anxiety At The Penalty Kick. That would be a good choice for some hypothetical Eclipse set of early Wenders films.
Jerome-The Set-Up is a Robert Wise film but a good choice anyways.
Another boxing movie from 1947, “Body and Soul” with John Garfield.
Pride of the Yankees and Aldrich’s original The Longest Yard.
I think Friday Night Lights is amazing. It encompasses what playing a sport (football) is all about while not turning melodramatic. FNL is about being a team, the consequences of winning and losing, the skill and process of being an athlete and the final reality of it all. I’ve watched it once a year since it was released.
Fear Strikes Out with Tony Perkins and the Babe Ruth Story with William Bendix. Serious sports movies like League of Their Own and Field Of Dreams date instantly. The dumber the better…and Michael Jordan should have kept his hands offa Bugs Bunny.
SLAP SHOT is the most authentic hockey movie ever. It started a lot of hockey movie cliches, especially the whole “violent brothers” thing (which you can see in all of the Mighty Ducks flicks).
endurace (1999) is a great film about running. It was produced by Malick
also Without Limits another great film about running directed by Robert Towne