Power of 10
Ten of the best under-the-radar sports films
SEVE THE MOVIE
Amazon Prime, Rent for £3.49 The life story of one of the most charismatic and likeable golfers of all time. Seve Ballesteros was a golf-obsessed young boy who used to skip school to practice on the local beaches with his only club – a 3-iron – in the small village of Padrena, northern Spain, where he grew up in a tight-knit family.
Told in English and Spanish (subtitled) with comments from the man himself throughout, we see where Ballesteros got his tremendous will to win from, what golf meant to him, and what he meant to the game. In a sport where your finishing is everything, director John-Paul Davidson treats us to a poignant ending that gives a sense of the high regard the golfer – and the man – were held in by his fellow pros.
Net ix, Free to watch
A basketball documentary with a difference, Q Ball is about prison team the San Quentin Warriors. Anybody that plays team sports knows the positivity and bonds that these environments can bring.
When you’re locked up with your teammates
24/7 that becomes even more intense.
Tolajian, a specialist in sports films, gets under the skin of these convicted felons and shows a more positive side of the broken American prison system. They work towards the biggest game of their season against the coaching staff of the
Golden State Warriors,
San Francisco’s NBA Team.
Amazon Prime, Rent for £3.49
This fictional film from 1970 is the story of four distance runners – an American, a Czech, an Aborigine Australian and a Brit – and their separate paths to the Rome Olympics.
The Brit is played by Michael Crawford – better known for his portrayal of the accidentprone Frank Spencer. In The Games, he plays milkman and talented runner Harry Hayes.
The movie cuts back and forth in an engaging manner to observe the journey, inspiration and motivation of the four men, while studying the character of each athlete that will ultimately be exposed on the greatest stage of all.
DRIVEN: THE BILLY MONGER STORY
BBC ree, Free to watch
Seventeen-year-old Billy Monger was racing in Formula 4 at Donnington Park when a horror accident led to him having both legs amputated.
Despite the crash, Monger’s burning ambition remains: to race in Formula 1. Thanks to his eversupportive family, that dream is one step closer after they petitioned the FIA to change their rules on disabled drivers.
“The nicest kid on the grid” was back racing in a specially adapted car in under a year. While the physical side of his life has completely changed, his attitude shines through. An inspirational watch.
STROKES OF GENIUS
Apple TV, Rent for $2.99
In 2008, Roger Federer – who had won five successive Wimbledon titles – was facing Rafael Nadal in the final. Everything was in place for a classic, and the grass master and King of Clay did not disappoint, serving up what many describe as the best game ever played, in the longest singles final ever contested at Wimbledon.
A BAREFOOT DREAM
Watch the trailer on YouTube
An inspiring true story of a retired Korean footballer who decides to relocate to East Timor, not long after the brutal Indonesian occupation has come to an end.
Our hero is a real-life Del Boy who goes purely to make money, but in a country ravaged by war for much of its recent history, profit is hard to come by. He meets a bunch of kids who change his life every bit as much as he changes theirs.
This movie, with plenty of decent comedic dialogue, shows how, as he develops the youngsters’ skills on the pitch, they help to develop him as a man off it. Against the odds, he leads them towards the International Youth Championship.
Amazon Prime, Rent for £2.49
Tony Fingleton, one of five kids, grew up in Brisbane in the 1950s. He’s despised by his alcoholic and abusive father Harold, until one day his dad realises Tony and his brother, John, are excellent swimmers.
He suddenly takes an interest, seeing a way to vicariously live the sporting glory days he felt robbed of by having a family.
Harold trains the boys to triumph after triumph, but despite the success Harold makes a poor decision – one that will affect the brother’s relationship forever.
Amazon Prime, Rent for £3.49
Doug inherits a boxing gym, along with unpaid debts, from his trainer Taffy. He’s on the verge of insolvency until Vera (Denise van Outen) enters his life.
Vera is a Romany gypsy who has a gentle giant of a brother, Nosher. Together they hatch a plan to raise the £47,000 Doug needs. Appleby Horse Fair is on the horizon and Doug will train Nosher to fight Big Bill Brady – played by former boxer and rugby league player Adam Fogerty – in a bare-knuckle fight for a £100,000 prize.
VEGALTA: SOCCER, TSUNAMI AND THE HOPE OF A NATION
Watch the trailer on YouTube
Football is important. Very important. Until it isn’t. COVID-19 may have caused it to recently take a hiatus, but in Japan that is nothing new.
In March 2011, the Tokohu region was hit by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, followed by a tsunami nearly 40 metres high. Vegalta Sendai had had a poor relationship with its “Sex Pistol” fans until manager Makoto Teguramori lead them to the top-flight for only the second time in the club’s history.
It was on the eve of Vegalta’s first game of the season when tragedy struck and the J1 League immediately suspended. It would take six weeks before the league restarted. In that period, the club, players and fans increased their new-found bond by visiting the worstaffected areas and helping those in need.
BERT AND DICKIE
Amazon Prime, Buy for £2.99
In the late 40s, like many cities across Europe, London was still recovering from the devastating effects of the Second World War. However, it rose to the monumental challenge of hosting the 1948 Olympics.
Released in the lead up to the 2012 Games held in the same city, this is the true story of B.H.T. Bushnell and R.D. Burnell who, at the behest of coach Jack Beresford – a former Olympic medallist himself – were thrown together as a pairing in the Double Sculls just six weeks before the Games.
Although both talented oarsmen with a shared dream of Olympic glory, at first they clash, but they have more in common than they realise. Hollywood may be king of the glitz and the glamour, but nobody beats the British at evocative dramas like Bert and Dickie.