Sport is perfect fodder for filmmakers. In particular, US team sports (baseball, basketball, American football) provide fertile ground in which to grow inspirational, heart-warming stories about teamwork, winning against the odds and self-belief.
Throw in your cast of under-achievers, your gruff, world-weary coach with a heart of gold and your star player injured the night before the big game and you’ve got box office gold, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. Making any old hackneyed sports movie is one thing, but it’s another to sidestep the cliché minefield and produce a film that resonates with audiences who haven’t the first idea what NBA, NFL or MLB even stand for.
So, in honour of Super Bowl Sunday, we take a look at some great US team sports-themed movies anyone can enjoy…
10. The Natural (1984)
“My life didn’t turn out the way I expected.”
Nearly 30 years before Robert Redford took to the high seas in All is Lost, he starred as a middle-aged baseball player with a divine gift in Barry Levinson’s The Natural. Showing up seemingly from nowhere, Redford’s Roy Hobbs takes a losing 1930s baseball team, the New York Knights, to the top of the league with the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree.
Taken from Bernard Malamud’s novel, this is a whimsical and magical tale that co-stars Robert Duvall and Glenn Close.