5 best sports movies on Netflix right now – Netflix Life

377705 04: 1999 Al Pacino And Jamie Foxx Stars In The Movie “Any Given Sunday.” (Photo By Getty Images)
Netflix is constantly shuffling through a strong slate of sports movies. This slideshow walks through the best five sports movies with the streaming service right now. Now, Netflix has plenty of great sports documentaries on the service, and perhaps there’s a future slideshow to walk through the best. But this list focuses on films.
Netflix cycles through movies with the times. And with the start of the NBA season and the NFL season in full swing, not surprisingly, basketball and football make up the majority of movies on this list.
Okay, okay. Point Break isn’t, strictly speaking, a sports movie. In fact, the 1993 thriller starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze would rarely fit into this category. The more accurate description of Point Break is heist thriller—and perhaps one of the best of all time. However, with a classic beach football scene and some exciting surfing sequences, we’re calling it a sports movie.
Point Break tells the story of undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah (Reeves) and his attempt to infiltrate a band of surfers led by Bodhi (Swayze), who he believes is the leader of a gang named the “ex-presidents.” But when Utah gets too close to Bodhi, his job starts to blend with his newfound friendship.
While Point Break is certainly worth a watch and high on this writer’s all-time rewatchable list, it might not fit the bill of classic “sports movies.” Nevertheless, it deserved a seat at the table in the honorable mention category.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 20: Brian J. White at GBK Productions and WEN Presents A Luxury Lounge for TV’s Top Talent on September 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
Amateur, starring Michael Rainey, Jr. as Terron Forte, tells the story of an up-and-coming basketball player with a learning disability. His talents send him to Liberty Prep, an elite basketball school, with the aim of attaining a college scholarship.
Forte is forced to balance his learning difficulties with the high and hyper-focused expectations of his new school and coach, played by Josh Charles, as well as his relationship with his father (Brian White), who struggles with his own past sports injuries.
While Amateur was released by Netflix and isn’t as well known as the classics coming up on this list, it tells a compelling story about how the commercialization of sports is starting to affect kids at younger and younger ages. It wouldn’t be surprising if some bigger-budget version of this tale is told at some point, but for now, Amateur is the only movie telling this story.
1999 Al Pacino And Cameron Diaz Star In The Movie “Any Given Sunday.” (Photo By Getty Images)
In 1999, Oliver Stone directed Any Given Sunday to show the behind-the-scenes lives of our beloved professional athletes. In typical Stone style, the portrayal is over the top and certainly full of issues. Coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) is trying to hold a team together, struggling with a QB controversy between Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid) and Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx). Meanwhile, he’s constantly going head-to-head with new owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz).
Any Given Sunday is a stylized, wild ride into the dark underbelly of the sports industry that boasts some incredibly memorable scenes, like Pacino’s “one inch at a time” speech that’s become a real-life Jumbotron favorite to pump up crowds. In a sense, Any Given Sundays tried to do what Ballers, the HBO show starring the Rock, did years before. Despite its many flaws, Any Given Sunday is still a must-watch.
HUSTLE. (L-R) Ainhoa Pillet as Lucia, Maria Botto as Paola, Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz and Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman in Hustle. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2022.
Unlike Amateur, earlier on this list, Hustle was released on Netflix to much hype and universal acclaim. It tells the story of Stanley Sugarman (Adam Sandler), a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, who dreams of one day coaching the team.
He has an eye for talent and believes that scoring an unheard-of recruit Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez) is his ticket to realizing his dream. He puts all of his chips on Cruz, training and coaching him in preparation for a career in the league. His family life proves tenuous with his constant traveling, but his wife Teresa (Queen Latifah) remains supportive.
Hustle marks another great sports film that doesn’t focus on the game itself, but rather the behind-the-scenes of a booming industry, along the lines of Moneyball and Draft Day. It offers a fresh story and is supported by strong performances by Sandler, Latifah, and Hernangómez.
Moreover, Hustle is chock-full of real NBA stars like Trae Young, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Seth Curry, Luka Doncic, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey. Hustle is another fun watch, and though it’s the newest member of this list, it’ll likely go into the canon of great basketball movies.
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 02: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE REQUIRED) Ron Howard (L) and Daniel Bruhl attend the World Premiere of ‘Rush’ at Odeon Leicester Square on September 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage)
Before F1: Drive to Survive and the recent popularity of Formula One racing in the United States, Ron Howard-directed blockbuster Rush in 2013, which didn’t get all of the credit it truly deserved. It stars Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as F1 racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, respectively. Rush tells the story of the 1976 season and the bitter rivalry between these two great drivers, which turns into mutual respect and even admiration.
Rush is an electric watch that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats the entire time, and explores the tumultuous history of the sport before additional safety regulations were introduced in later seasons.
These drivers literally put their lives on the line at a time when a death per season wasn’t unusual. While the more recent Netflix docuseries may have eclipsed Rush in terms of popularity, serving as the real catalyst of American F1 fandom, Rush is a must-watch for anyone who wants to dive deeper into a sport that continues to grow in the US.
American rapper Tupac Shakur on the set of “Above the Rim” in Harlem. (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Drum roll, please. The number one sports movie that’s on Netflix right now is . . . Above the Rim. This 1994 film directed by Jeff Pollack might not be everyone’s first thought of a great sports movie, but Above the Rim has become an absolute classic.
It tells the story of Kyle Watson (Duane Martin), a star high school basketball player who aspires of playing at Georgetown, caught between his dreams and life on the streets of New York. At first, he’s brought into Birdie’s (Tupac Shakur) gang with Motaw (Wood Harris), as the key to winning a neighborhood basketball tournament. But Shep (Leon), Birdie’s brother, takes Kyle under his wing to teach him how to play the game the right way.
While Above the Rim certainly has many of the tropes found in typical sports movies—a young player with immense talent struggles with life, only to learn lessons that extend beyond the basketball court—it’s become a classic because of its great cast, a fantastic soundtrack, the eerie symbolism of Birdie’s death, but mostly, because marked a coalescing of cultures.
It depicted NY street basketball on screen when most sports movies tended to show players in the collegiate or professional ranks. It unearthed this sports subculture that everyone knew about, but few saw. And it did this at a time when hip hop was going mainstream, using one of rap’s biggest stars to tell the story. Above the Rim isn’t as widely known as it should be, and everyone should give it a watch while it’s on Netflix!
What are your favorite sports movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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