Into Film Clubs
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In recent months we've created lists of films that are available to stream from home on the themes of Pride, music, adaptations, feel-good films, the natural world, and family films. For our latest film list, we're looking at the world of sports.
Many high-profile sporting tournaments and events such as the Olympics, Euro 2020 and Wimbledon have either been postponed or cancelled over the summer due to COVID-19, and while some sports have returned in one form or other, it is safe to say that it's not quite the same without fans and spectators.
Therefore we've put together a list to remind you of what sport was, can be, and will be again, celebrating the positive aspects of a range of disciplines, with titles suitable for both primary and secondary audiences. From improving teamwork and perseverance, to helping wellbeing and identity, sport has the power to unite people, make a difference and even change the world. These films all demonstrate that power.
Note: While most streaming platforms require a paid subscription or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of. In addition, our recommendations will always include at least one title which is available on a free-to-watch platform.
Note: The information about films on streaming services is aimed at people at home only, and not for any film clubs running in schools. Licensing conditions do not permit the access of streaming platforms from a school setting. Into Film Club leaders should use our DVD service to order the films.
If you wish to find out the complete details of where any given title is available to watch or purchase, please visit FindAnyFilm.com.
In the third instalment of Pixar's Cars trilogy, Lightning McQueen must prove that he remains the greatest racer in the world after being challenged by a young and speedy competitor. This colourful and fast-paced animation also contains a fresh and positive twist on who gets to be the hero of the story.
Lightning McQueen has to prove once again that he’s the best racecar in the world, after a new, younger racer starts to beat him.
Age group5–11 years
A seminal title in the history of sports films, Cool Runnings is a comedy which tells the remarkable true story of the Jamaican team's entry into the bobsleigh event at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. This uplifting and funny film celebrates teamwork, aspiration and the pure joy to be found in sport if you know where to look.
Over the years Aardman films have seen many creative set-ups and fanciful stories: chickens attempting to free themselves from their captors; pirates competing for awards on the seven seas; and the inner workings of Santa's North Pole operation, to name just a few. Early Man is no exception, with the origins of football and Stone Age civilisations clashing in a historical sports movie.
Available to stream
Aardman animation adventure set in prehistoric times as a caveman named Dug must save his home from being destroyed by another tribe.
Age group7–11 years
A film guide that looks at Early Man (2018), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
We look at Aardman's latest stop-motion comedy 'Early Man' which sees a winner-takes-all football match between Stone and Bronze Age civilizations.
Reading time 6 mins
One of the most memorable and influential underdog films of all time has to be The Mighty Ducks, in which a lawyer is tasked with coaching an ever-losing junior ice hockey team as part of his community service. Before they can score, they must learn to skate; and soon, the team's fortunes begin to improve, and together they start to dream of attaining unexpected glory.
In this prequel to Monsters, Inc., we find out just how it was that Mike and Sully's friendship came to be. We soon see that their relationship wasn't always so positive; in fact, here they are rivals, with Sully telling Mike that he'll never have what it takes to be scary. Determined to prove himself, Mike enters the university's ‘Scare Games', a series of sporting challenges in which only one team can be crowned eventual champions.
This documentary - which preceded the Emma Stone/Steve Carrell drama on the same subject by four years - explores the extraordinary tennis match between retired men's champion Bobby Riggs and then-holder of the women's Wimbledon title, Billie Jean King, as well as the events leading up to it. With prize money parity still lacking between the men and women's games, The Battle of the Sexes is a great tool to discuss gender representation and track the struggle for equality in sport throughout recent history.
Another tennis film - this time a drama, but still covering real events - is the relatively recent Borg vs McEnroe, starring Shia LaBeouf as the hot-headed latter personality. This drama revisits the 1980 Wimbledon final between the two giants of the game; Borg is heading into it as one of the most successful and recognisable sportsmen in the world, having won the tournament four years in a row, looking to set records with a historic fifth consecutive title. But the fiery American McEnroe, pretender to the throne, has other ideas.
Following in the footsteps of Cool Runnings is Eddie the Eagle, another stranger-than-fiction underdog story. From director Dexter Fletcher, and with Taron Egerton in the lead role (the two would later reunite for Rocketman), this heartwarming biographical comedy follows the trials and tribulations of the man who would go on to charm the world at those very same 1988 Winter Olympics, becoming one of the most known and celebrated ski jumpers of all time despite the doubts of all around him.
Wrestling is termed "sports entertainment" these days (as opposed to being a genuine sport) but Fighting with my Family shows us the physical, mental and technical demands of the discipline. With an all-star cast led by the wonderful Florence Pugh and featuring a cameo from Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson himself, this British feel-good hit from writer-director Stephen Merchant looks at themes including identity, family and sacrifice in the dream to make it big.
A girl from Norwich is offered wrestling try-outs with the WWE but must leave her family behind if she is to follow her dream.
Age group11–16 years
Perhaps the most unconventional sports drama on this list - in both subject matter and the structure of the story - is from an Aaron Sorkin script which seeks to reinvent ideas around what sports films should look like. Not only is this about the business of baseball - analytics driving success, rather than the personalities of players - but the pivotal game arrives at the end of the second act, instead of providing the crescendo. Perhaps for Sorkin there is more to life than sports; Moneyball has a moving father-daughter relationship at its centre, and also celebrates those in the game that don't usually get to experience the fanfare.
Our regularly updated recommendations of educationally valuable films hitting cinemas, airing on television, or on free and subscription streaming services.
Reading time 7 mins
Paul Gallagher from Glasgow Film Theatre tells us how his venue are finding innovative ways of connecting audiences to quality cinema, and to each other.
Reading time 8 mins
Check out more information about the season, its online collections and some great Japan-related recommendations from our Youth Advisory Council.
Reading time 6 mins
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