Robert De Niro memorably played Jake LaMotta, a boxing champion and brawler from the Bronx who is as ruthless in the ring as he is in life. The captivating black-and-white film is sometimes referred to as “Rocky for intellectuals”.
LaMotta himself, whose turbulent life story inspired the creator (he died in 2017 at the venerable age of 95), trained De Niro before filming. The actor is said to have done so well that he can box professionally, and won an Oscar for his leading role.
It’s probably no surprise how many great movies have been made about baseball behind the big puddle. It’s often a somewhat mysterious sport for Europeans, but Bennett Miller’s film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill is sure to interest even those who don’t know much about baseball.
The story is based (in part) on real events: a former player and now manager of a failed team decides in a pinch to focus on a rather sophisticated – and widely derided – analysis of statistical data, which allows to him who successfully bet on what seems to be written. -off the players.
As is often the case with movies based on real people and stories, Moneyball received a lot of criticism after its premiere for being too loose with the facts. However, this does not change the fact that this intelligent “sports” film has attracted even viewers who would otherwise pay homage to completely different genres.
There is no point in introducing one of the most famous series in the history of cinema. The original film by Sylvester Stallone (in addition to portraying the main role, he also wrote the screenplay) and director John G. Avildsen is a long-standing legend, followed by a rather confusing number of sequels and spin-offs .
The first film about a socially awkward boxer from the suburbs of Philadelphia who goes from collecting debts for a local mobster to fighting a professional champion was initially panned by critics. For a change, real boxers laughed at unrealistic scenes from the ring. But the straightforwardness of the story, where the poor hero achieves happiness through hard work, fascinated (and still fascinates) the audience.
The original Rocky had a budget of just one million dollars and grossed over 200 million worldwide. The emergence of other parts is only in the logic of the matter. Rocky IV has the most iconic status among fans, with the protagonist fighting to the death in Moscow against a doped-up Soviet champion.
Rivals (Rush, 2013)
Two well-drawn opposing heroes, fast cars and the ever-present threat of death. It’s a fascinating mix that seasoned director Ron Howard handles well. Arguably the best film about Formula 1 has become a worldwide hit.
Let’s put aside the fact that the creators had to color some of the facts about the battle between the delicate Niki Lauda and the bohemian womanizer James Hunt (the two saps are really good friends and the course of some races is quite different).
The fact is that the film Rivals succeeded in perfectly approximating the “chivalrous” era of Formula 1, when every race meant a great risk for the pilots, which cannot be compared with today’s more advanced technology.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The boxing environment is very popular among filmmakers. It offers powerful stories, intense situations, wonderful atmosphere. Clint Eastwood’s famous drama from 2004 is, on the one hand, completely traditional in this regard, on the other hand, it deviates from the loser.
The story of a waitress (played by Hilary Swanková) who wants to become a boxing champion and convinces an old grumpy trainer to help her in this matter, became an unexpected worldwide financial hit, which also received applause from the critics.
The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood) and Best Actress. Swanková certainly deserves the award: from a small girl, thanks to very hard training, she became a fighter at first sight, gaining almost nine kilograms in her muscles.
Field of Dreams (1989)
It’s more of a “baseball movie” than a “baseball movie.” Director Phil Alden Robinson’s fantasy special, starring Kevin Costner, had a completely different dreamlike atmosphere that attracted thousands of viewers who would otherwise have been completely robbed of baseball.
Suffice it to say that the main character (a farmer somewhere in Iowa) one night hears a mysterious voice uttering the iconic line “If you build it, he will come”. A farmer begins building a baseball field in his cornfield to the amazement of those around him, and even stranger things begin to happen. Needless to say, it’s better to watch the movie.
By the way: the field between the fields in question exists and is a popular tourist destination for movie fans. In 2021, there was at least one professional MLB game attended by Kevin Costner.
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
“It’s not important to win, but to participate.” This famous quote by the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, was passed down in a somewhat imprecise form, but it is perfectly appropriate for a film about a strange British ski. jumping
This is the story of Michael Edwards (played by Taron Egerton), who passionately pursues his goal of competing in the Olympics, and chooses a very exotic discipline for a Briton. The bespectacled jumper would actually make it to the 1988 Calgary Games, where he finished last, but his dedication to the sport won him thousands of fans.
Honestly, it’s a little strange that this story of a strange outsider didn’t make it to the silver screen until 2016. It was directed by Dexter Fletcher and received positive reviews, although it was perhaps too sentimental for some viewers.