Real or fictional, a plethora of blockbuster sports films have largely focused on the gambling industry (casino games, poker, etc). Over the last four years, more than half the U.S. states have launched some form of legalized gambling, making betting-related sports films all the more relevant today.
The state of Michigan is among the country’s leaders in sports betting. Residents of The Great Lakes State can enjoy the presence of mobile Michigan sports betting apps. These sportsbooks also allow you to place all sorts of different sporting wagers, including futures, point spreads, parlays and more.
Some of the best all-time sports movies required very little, if any, fiction for the storytelling and character developments.
That’s because many of the iconic favorite sports films are actually based on true stories. Some of the more notable movies in the sports world were even based on books that documented real-life sporting events and people.
With that all said, here is a look at some of the best sports movies that are based on true stories.
King Richard (2021)
Legendary tennis coach Richard Williams is the father of two all-time great tennis stars in Serena and Venus Williams.
Richard’s life and career was the focal point of the 2021 blockbuster, King Richard, which stars Will Smith as the Williams sisters’ father. Serena and Venus were actually executive producers for the film, too.
Richard Williams spent ample time and work in finding the best possible ways to train his daughters in tennis. The film details how he came to become one of the all-time great tennis coaches, and of course how his daughters rose to fame and legendary status.
Serena, whom many consider to be the greatest women’s tennis player ever, retired in 2022 with 23 Grand Slam singles to her name. Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam singles winner, is still active. Five of those Grand Slam wins came at Wimbledon.
The Oakland Athletics’ MLB franchise was the primary focus of the 2011 Moneyball blockbuster, directed by Bennett Miller.
Moneyball is based off of Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which details how the Athletics built a quality team without major financial resources that big-market teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers enjoy.
Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the current and longtime Athletics’ executive VP of baseball operations. Beane has built plenty of juggernaut teams in Oakland by using advanced stats, sciences and sabermetrics without having to pay top dollar for All-Star level players.
Moneyball follows the story of the 2002 Athletics, who managed to win 103 games and the AL West crown despite losing franchise stalwarts Jason Isringhausen, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon in free agency.
The film also stars Jonah Hill as Peter Brande (inspired by former Athletics assistant Paul DePodesta), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe (Oakland’s manager from 1996 to 2002) and Robin Wright (Sharon Beane).
This inspirational film details the story of the legendary United States men’s ice hockey team that defied all odds by winning the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
The moment, referred to as the “Miracle on Ice”, is widely considered the single biggest upset in the history of sports. Legendary commentator Al Michaels made the moment all the more memorable when he stated “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
The United States weren’t supposed to have a chance against the USSR when the two clubs met in final round play.
The USSR, who won four straight gold medals at the Olympic Games, was full of veteran superstar players. The U.S. were coached by Herb Brooks (played by Tombstone star Kurt Russell). The team was made up of college players who weren’t supposed to compete for gold whatsoever.
But the Americans played with plenty of heart and determination, keeping pace with the heavy favorites throughout the game. Mike Eruzione scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to help the U.S. pull off a stunning 4-3 upset win.
Many believe that this was the gold medal game, but that actually wasn’t the case. It was USA’s 4-2 win over Finland in the final round that secured them the gold medal, having finished with five points (USSR was second with four).
Sports fans who love a feel-good, emotional and inspirational underdog story, Miracle is just for you.