From Cool Runnings To Rocky V: The Best & Worst Of Sport On Film

The London Olympics recently reignited Chariots Of Fire and its glorious beach running scene. But for every Jamaican Bobsleigh Team there's a Goal 2...
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Sport on the big screen usually has its set template, be it based on fiction or non-fiction. The format usually goes: introduction, set back, montage, realisation/triumph! The fact is if you have ever put your hood up and gone for a jog in the rain you probably felt like you were in your own personalised sporting montage. Simple but enjoyable the format usually is, but some do it better than others. Here are the best and worst of sport films...

The Best

Cool Runnings

Loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team’s journey to the 1988 Calgary winter Olympics. Over 20 years old now, this quite simply cool film is timeless - you can go 5 years without watching this gem and its still elicits the same response it did when it was first released. The premise of a Jamaican bobsled team is brilliant and along with this there is a laugh a minute as well as the sporting highs and lows. Cool Runnings is also underpinned by the Olympic ideal of 'Its not the winning that counts but the journey'.

Pump up line: "Feel the rhythm, feel the ride, get on up, its bobsled time!"

The Karate Kid (1984)

It is worth pointing out that being able to wax on and wax off does not stop you getting beat up at school, but how can anyone not love The Karate Kid? It’s Goodie Vs. Baddie at its best. Daniel Larusso is given a beating and then taught how to defend himself with karate by the legendary Mr Miyagi. Remember kids, bullies never prosper...

Pump up scene: The finale Crane kick

Rocky Balboa

The Rocky franchise gave birth to the sporting montage, but I actually feel Rocky Balboa is the best of the lot. Although based on the unrealistic idea that Rocky comes out of retirement to fight the current champ, the latest film is actually the most realistically shot version. No one wants to see Stallone's prunish body, but there's a lot less sweaty punches and baby oil here compared to in its predecessors. It also hosts an excellent montage, and that's what boxing movies are all about.

Pump up line: "Lets start building some hurting bombs!"

No one wants to see Stallone's prunish body, but there's a lot less sweaty punches and baby oil here

Coach Carter

Coach Ken Carter takes control of the Richmond high basketball team in a bid to discipline and educate the players with the unrealistic aim of getting them into college. Based on a true story, Samuel L Jackson plays coach Carter in this fairly typical but great sporting film. All the actors bar Channing Tatum can play B-Ball well, which makes the sporting scenes flow excellently. The escapism element that's included also has you rooting for the more troubled members of the team.

Pump up line: "Just because you deserve this doesn't mean they’re going to give it you, sometimes you've got to take what's yours"


This is the film version of the Oakland athletics baseball season of 2002 and their manager Billy Bean's (Brad Pitt) journey to create a winning team along with assistant Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Most importantly you don't have to know anything about baseball to watch this film, if you’re a sports fan you will more that appreciate the tactics and statistics involved. Pitt and Hill are outstanding as they try and mould a team on a budget, using the players past statistics as a formula for success.

Pump up line "Any other team wins the world series, good for them. If we win with this team, we will have changed the game"

The Worst

Goal 2 and 3

Nobody can make a credible football film, it seems to be impossible without it looking like an episode of Dream Team. The first instalment wasn't the worst crack at it in the world so it’s been spared, but the second and third Goal films are truly terrible. The people that will go and watch these films are of course football fans and football fans know that you don't score scissor kicks that fly in the top corner week in and week out. You also need a lead actor that can play football and act, they went with neither. The Goal 3 even ditches lead character Santiago Munez for the majority of the film.

You also need a lead actor that can play football and act, they went with neither

She's the man

If the Goal series was a bit off the money for football knowledge, She's The Man makes it look like the Real Madrid of football films. Female soccer player gets rejected from joining a men's team so poses as her twin brother in order to play. Face paint, timeouts and Vinnie Jones as coach. Utterly atrocious.

Rocky V

Terrible instalment of The Italian Stallion's franchise, so bad it prompted the team behind the films to make a 6th Rocky movie simply to save the character’s status. Rocky trains young fighter Tommy Gunn and when Gunn gets too big for his boots he leaves Rocky, going onto success. But he will never be a worthy champion because he never beat Balboa. Cue awful street fight finale.

When Saturday comes

Seriously, someone make a good football film! Sean Bean plays the Sunday league striker who made it big with his local team (Sheffield United). Worth noting that at the time of filming Sean Bean was 36. A 36-year-old Sunday league player got scouted to play for Sheffield United? No need to watch it - I will explain what happens: God darn it I showed up for my trial drunk and blew it! It’s ok though; I'll go jogging and dribble round some cones to get a second chance.

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