Lists: Great Sports Documentaries

Posted on July 26, 2008 at 8:00 am

10. The Heart of the Game A dedicated girls’ basketball coach and a talented player with some daunting challenges make this an unforgettable story.

9. 16 Days of Glory Bud Greenspan’s documentary series about the Olympics give you a front-row seat and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the stories behind the competition.

8. “Freedom’s Fury” In 1956, the Russians were fighting in Hungary. And that year the battle moved to the sports arena in the most brutal water polo competition of all time, the one still referred to as “blood in the water.”

7. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg Aviva Kempner’s labor of love biography of the first Jewish major league baseball star is heartwarming and inspiring.

6. Step into Liquid (and don’t forget The Endless Summer) These brilliant films about surfing will make you feel like you are inside the waves — and introduce you to a range of wonderfully colorful characters.

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5. Baseball – A Film By Ken Burns Nine episodes — one for each inning of a ball game — brilliantly illuminate the history of America’s pastime.

4. When We Were Kings This Oscar-winning documentary about the “Rumble in the Jungle,” the famous1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali, is mesmerizing.

3. Dogtown and Z-Boys In the 1970’s, a rag-tag group of kids invented modern-day skateboarding and the era of extreme sports began. This engaging documentary includes vintage footage and superb narration by Sean Penn.


2. Murderball Wheelchair basketball turns out to be one of the most brutally hard-fought, all-out competitions on earth.

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1. Hoop Dreams “People always say to me, ‘when you get to the NBA, don’t forget about me.’ Well, I should’ve said back, ‘if I don’t make it to the NBA, don’t you forget about me.'” This unforgettable movie follows two talented young basketball players from one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods and their dreams of using their skill to change their lives.

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2 Replies to “Lists: Great Sports Documentaries”

  1. You missed a great one – “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos.”
    Lousy title, great movie. I hate soccer and I was riveted.

  2. Hey There,
    If you enjoy sports documentaries you should check out KLUNKERZ. The film tells the story of a small group of athletes who created a multi-billion dollar and an Olympic event. It’s not an overly slick film, as I wrote/produced/directed it myself with funding from my family. Check it out and let me know what you think.
    Ride on,
    Billy Savage
    http://www.klunkerz.com

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