breaking away

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition we take a look at some of the best underdog sports movies you’ve probably never seen.)

I’m not a big fan of sports films in general, and it’s due at least in part to my disinterest in the sports themselves. The only ones I actively participate in, as a player and/or spectator, are tennis and racquetball. Neither sport has exactly lit up the multiplex, and while I have a soft spot for the goofiness of Wimbledon the dearth of truly good tennis movies means I don’t see my sporting interests represented up on the screen.

That changes, though, when the subject is tweaked a bit into the form of underdog sports movies. That’s a subject even someone like me can fully get behind, and thankfully filmmakers are happy to oblige. Were this a “best of” list with no other qualifiers, it would include the two actual best, but I think enough of you have seen Breaking Away (1979) and Lucas (1986) that adding them to a list of movies you haven’t seen would be preposterous and unsportsmanlike. You have seen them right? Right?! Breaking Away is among the very best American films, period, and Lucas stands tall as an underdog sports tale that succeeds while subverting the myriad tropes of the sub-genre. Seriously, seek them out immediately if you haven’t already seen them as they will re-calibrate the meaning of pure joy for you.

Keep reading for a look at the best underdog sports movies you probably haven’t already seen.

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Five Sports Movie Commentaries Worth Listening To

audio commentary reccomendations

Commentaries for sports movies are great for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons why, of course, is hearing stories about whatever legendary actor is playing the coach. More often than not, directors are excited to talk about those iconic actors. Want to know how so-and-so gave a famous locker room speech such bravura? Then check out the audio commentary.

Another reason to listen given them a listen is to learn how much of a pain it can be making actors, locations, and everything else look like the real deal. The attention to detail in some of the films featured below is remarkable and more often than not subtle. If you want to see what filmmakers put them through to make a sports picture, then maybe give a listen to one of our audio commentary recommendations.

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