Ron Howard’s “Rush” shined a spotlight Formula One racing. Though popular in Europe, the sport has a minimal following in the States. That held true at the box office as well –“Rush” had a soft draw in the U.S. but fared better overseas.
“Chariots of Fire”
If we’re being honest, track and field is something we only care about every four years when the Olympics are on. The story of British sprinters Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams at the 1924 games made for a darn good movie though. “Chariots of Fire” is one of three sports films two win Best Picture, along with “Rocky” and “Million Dollar Baby.”
“Blades of Glory”
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder prove to be something of a comedic dream team as they become the world’s first male figure skating pair. Their dueling personalities make sure things get heated on the ice as they demolish sports stereotypes and go for gold.
Horse racing used to be one of the most popular sports in the U.S., but has since faded in significance. “Seabiscuit” told one of its most compelling underdog stories from the equine glory days and brought people into the theater.
“Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”
Vince Vaughn and his rag-tag team take on Ben Stiller’s jocks in the sport-comedy that features everybody’s favorite black-top game. A flurry of red rubber balls and hilarious one-liners made this a sleeper hit with a sequel in the works.
“Days of Thunder”
Before NASCAR was part of the national consciousness, Tom Cruise did his part to bring the high-octane sport to life. “Days of Thunder” helped Cruise speed to the top of the A-list, and raised the sport’s presence.
“Balls of Fury”
Ping-pong has its plot-twisting moment in “Forrest Gump,” but table tennis truly takes center stage in the action-comedy “Balls of Fury.” Treating the sport like a martial art ramped up the intensity of the YMCA game, and Christopher Walken gives a memorable, campy performance as the villain.
“Bring It On”
Cheerleading is more than just waving pom-poms at a football game, as this Kirsten Dunst vehicle showed. Cheerleaders have a competitive streak of their own, and apparently an audience to watch them as the film earned $90 million worldwide. We’re not going to talk about the sequels.
Say “bobsled” and the next thing someone is likely to bring up is “Cool Runnings.” This 90s cult classic told the true story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team, and was one of the final films of John Candy’s career.
“Over the Top”
Sylvester Stallone tackled the under-represented sport of competitive arm wrestling in the 1987 film about a father looking to earn his son’s respect. But how does a trucker achieve that? Simple: Become an artm wrestling champion. Apparently boxing became too mainstream for the “Rocky” star.
In the wake of Lance Armstrong’s admission (finally), cycling is not exactly experiencing its heyday. But if you want a pure look into the sport, there is “Breaking Away,” which earned five Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. It rode off with the Best Original Screenplay trophy.