At Sportytell, we have collated the top-20 of the best sports movies on Netflix right now, which you can watch this period. Some of these movies offer more depth and tell the tales of sports legends, while others take you through the struggle of up and coming athletes. From drama, documentary and thriller, to comedy — whatever you choose to watch when next you fire up your Netflix, you’re sure to be 100% entertained with these titles. We’ll keep this list updated from time to time, so feel free to check back once in a while.
Here are the Best Sports Movies on Netflix Right Now
1. High Flying Bird (2019)
Genre: Drama — Released in 2019, the movie focuses on a different spectacular part of sports, this time not the athlete, but the men behind the athlete’s success, the agents. With great image quality, impressive for an iPhone, (the movie was shot with an iPhone, iPhone 8 specifically), a sports agent proposes a business opportunity which is highly controversial in nature to a young rookie basketball player during his company’s lockout. It doesn’t stop there. He races against time as he must pull off his plans in 72 hours.
2. Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016)
Genre: Drama — One of the most inspiring and best sports movies ever, you definitely will feel a sense of motivation and determination to accomplish anything after watching this. The 2016 1 hour 47 minutes long movie takes you through the rise of Pele from the slums of Brazil to the centre stage in the world. Observe greatly the amazing ball juggling and football skills shown by young Pele. To add to the creativity, Pele himself made a cameo in the movie.
3. The Natural (1984)
Genre: Drama — A story of disappointments, love, manipulation and talents. The movie which was released in 1984 is based on the novel named ‘The Natural’ where a naturally talented baseball player lost out of his opportunity to play in the Major League, all thanks to an obsessed star chaser who turns out to be a murderer. Later in life, he gets another shot, but a dubious love interest and an envious team owner stands in his way to success.
4. The Waterboy (1998)
Genre: Comedy — Looking for a sports-based movie to crack you up? Look no further. This 1998 movie takes us through the life of Bobby, who is depicted as a man child due to his stutters. He works as a water boy but subsequently gets fired, after which he gets a job with another team. He faces bullying at his second job, but after he’s encouraged to stand up for himself, Bobby tackling skill came to the coach attention and this was the beginning of a wonderful football career for the college football team water boy.
5. Iverson (2014)
Genre: Documentary — Based on the life of retired NBA player, Allen Iverson, the movie shows how Iverson rises from a poor background which led him to bag a 15 years jail sentence, which was cemented by the Governor of Virginia. Iverson’s life in this movie is summarized. Absolutely phenomenal, this documentary will give you more insight into the life of the 11 times All-star than any Biography will ever.
6. Icarus (2017)
Genre: Documentary/Thriller — This movie is a must-watch! In 2017, the sports world was caught by surprise by the doping scandal which implicated Russia. Well, if you doubt that revelation, hearing from the man who spearheaded the operation will likely convince you. The documentary shows how Russia engages in doping by switching urine samples to cover act the heinous acts. The filmmaker, Bryan Fogel passes through the process and thus it’s verifiable. It also shows death threats issued to the man behind the revelation. The message in this movie is practically clear. Go watch and find out for yourself.
7. Ali (2001)
Genre: Drama — Ever doubt Will Smith knows his onion? Well, this will probably wane that thought. Smith perfectly or near-perfectly navigates and show us the life of boxing legend, Mohammed Ali in the 2 hours 45 mins long 2001 movie. The movie also depicts clearly Ali’s controversial behaviours such as his Islam conversion, his decision not to fight in the Vietnam War and also the political fragilities in the US Post Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations.
8. Last Chance U (TV Series 2016– )
Genre: Documentary — For most people outside the US, the college football program is widely known, but the junior college football program remains in the shadow. This Netflix original series, which has 4 seasons takes you through the challenges and complexities experienced by players in the less recognized junior football program.
9. The Fighter (2010)
Genre: Drama — Well scripted, this movie shows how two brothers, one a former boxer who now is addicted to crack, and the other who is used as a stepping stone for other boxers seeking to make a name for themselves, fight back their way to the top. The first brother after getting sober in prison following a documentary which showed how crack ruined his career helped his brother forge his way to claim the welterweight championship. But it actually ends on a good note as both brothers got the success they long for, but not without fights, as well as ridiculous tricks which goes wrong.
10. The 4th Company (2016)
Genre: Crime/Drama — This movie actually may not seem like a sport based movie due to the intense focus on crime and corruption in the prison system in which the lead character is lost in, but it brings to the fore the power sport wields. Perfectly fused to show how sports can be used to defend crime, the film emboldens the core values propagated by sports.
11. Little Miss Sumo (2018)
Genre: Documentary/Short — Sports on the surface seems like a peaceful engagement which is open to all, but sadly this isn’t true, at least not in certain places and in certain sports not known to many. The movies capture how a sumo wrestler battles sexism in a bid to become the best in the world. This movie will surely give you the ego boost you need to confront those who doubt you.
12. Tyson (2008)
Genre: Documentary/True Crime — The 2008 film, captures the life of Mike Tyson from juvenile years where he got heavily involved in crime to the centre stage of world boxing, winning several championships. While showing quite well the success Tyson enjoyed in his career, the movie shed a bright light on the personal failings and struggles of the boxing star and the huge effect it had on his career and finances. This movie will definitely give you more insight into the life of the boxing personality than any Biography will ever.
13. Miracle (2004)
Genre: Drama: — Only a few of us have a recollection of the 1980 winter Olympics Miracle on Ice event. But this movie released in 2004, sums it all in the most dramatic and inspiring way ever. It shows how the US Hockey team led by Herbs Brooks won the gold medal after defeating the Soviets who were heavily favoured.
14. Basketball or Nothing (2019)
Genre: Reality — One thing capable of bringing attention to a rural location is sports, and in this movie which was released in 2019, it depicts quite dramatically a Navajo reservation high school team basketball exploits. The Navajo Nation located deep in Arizona share a passion for basketball not uncommon in America, but the attention they receive is quite unconvincing. However, this movie intends to square things up.
15. CounterPunch (2017)
Genre: Documentary — Ever wonder how it feels to endure quite a bit of challenge in a bid to achieve success. You possibly must have felt it, but this documentary takes you through the life of three boxers at different stages in their career persevering and giving their all to achieve their dream; winning a boxing championship. With commentary from retired boxers such as Sugar Ray Leonard, the intense emotion felt is indeed convincing.
16. Undefeated (2011)
Genre: Documentary — Defeat tastes so bad, but when it becomes normal, you just don’t care anymore. This was the case of Memphis high school football team, Manassas Tigers who have never won a playoff game in over a century. But things are about to take a turn for the better as a new coach is bound to break the defensive streak. Did he succeed? Watch to find out.
17. The Short Game (2013)
Genre: Documentary — Unlike most sports movies which focus on adults, this 2013 sports documentary depicts how the best golf proteges from 7-year-olds compete to emerge Champion at the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. This movie surely will give you an idea of the challenge young sports enthusiasts face, which is surprisingly not different from that of established sports stars.
18. The Carter Effect (2017)
Genre: Documentary — This documentary revolves around the life of NBA and Toronto Raptors legend, Vince Carter. It captures the progress of Carter’s fame in the NBA as he influenced the positive view of basketball in Toronto and Canada at large. This movie features first-hand accounts from Carter’s cousin and Former NBA player, Tracy McGrady.
19. The Damned United (2009)
Genre: Drama — With a major focus on soccer, this movie focuses on Brian Clough a former football manager and his personal relationship struggles with fellow footballer managers which involves several disputes and negative sentiments. It also involved Clough’s dealings with Leeds United where he was fired after 44 days of work. He, however, goes on to find success with another team.
20. Creed (2015)
Genre: Drama — Worthy of mention, this movie released in 2015 has a sequel entitled Creed II. It revolves around the life of Adonis Johnson played by Michael B. Jordan, who resigns from his corporate job to pursue a career in boxing against the will of his stepmother, the wife of his father, who was died in the rings thirty years back. Adonis tries to relive his father’s legacy and thus establish himself as a Champion. The screenplay by Sylvester Stallone who acts as Rocky, Adonis coach, further heightens the drama in the fictional sport based movie.
An epic dramatisation of real-life events or our imaginations, the act of storytelling by screenplay is one that captivated virtually every one of us. Movies, especially those who tell stories that greatly intrigued, do not just have the power to influence us, it also inspires. In the world of sports, movies have often been used to tell the story of athletes whose impact in the world continues to be felt despite their retirement from the sports scene.
Now especially, as major parts of the world are in total or partial lockdown, the possibility of being bored is a reality gradually becoming dawn to many, but as a way to prevent that, watching inspiring movies on a movie subscription platform such as Netflix, is an option many are fast turning to. From sci-fi, horror and fantasy to sports movies, Netflix, has it all—this is why we have brought you our article on the best sports movies on Netflix 2020.