There is no doubt that everyone loves sitting down to watch a good movie. Being able to get away from normal life for a few hours and just relax while watching something exciting or scary is simply awesome. Of course, one of the best movie genres you could watch are sport movies. There have been a great variety made over the years covering all the major sports – some better than others!
One enduringly popular type of sports movie is the underdog story. This usually sees the main character we are rooting for achieve their sporting dreams, despite many obstacles having to be overcome first. These films are fun to watch as they make us feel good and have us cheering for the underdog character or team by the end.
But which are the best underdog sports films ever?
The Mighty Ducks
If you love following ice hockey via the Sportsbet.io NHL news feed, this is the best underdog story for you. Any hockey fan will not only dig the on-ice action and feel the movie has for the game, but the laughs contained as well. Emilio Estevez stars as a hot-shot lawyer who is forced to coach the local youth hockey team in his area after being found guilty of drunk driving. From humble beginnings with the team having no training equipment or facilities, Estevez manages to take them all the way to the Youth State Championship.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Although the Mighty Ducks is an underdog story with some comic touches, Dodgeball is a flat out comedy. It stars Vince Vaughn as Peter LaFleur who owns the Average Joe’s gym. When he defaults on the gym’s mortgage, White Goodman (played by an on-form Ben Stiller) buys the gym and threatens to close it unless LaFleur can raise the $50,000 needed in just 30 days. The only hope he has is forming a team from nothing to enter the premier Dodgeball tournament in the world, which is being held in Las Vegas. Although no-one gives them a hope of doing it, LaFleur’s team beat Goodman’s team in the final to snatch the money. The sporting action is great but it is the one liners and stellar performance from Stiller which really make this a class act.
The Rocky series of films always had an underdog edge to them, but it was the fourth which is the most well remembered. It sees Stallone’s Rocky Balboa take on a Russian machine named Ivan Drago in the boxing ring. Played by a very well-built Dolph Lundgren, Drago killed Balboa’s friend Apollo Creed in an earlier fight and Rocky sets off for revenge. This is a real 80s film, so be prepared for cold war views on Russia, exciting training montages and James Brown stealing the show by performing ‘Living in America’ before the Creed-Drago fight! Rocky goes into his fight with Drago a true underdog but by the end he has avenged his friend and won the day.
Jamaica is a pretty sunny place, so it is not known for competing at the Winter Olympics. This movie turns this idea on its head and is actually based on a true story, as films like the True History of the Kelly Gang are. It follows four Jamaican bobsled buddies with big dreams as they make the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, despite no one giving them a shot. Despite the doubters, they manage to recruit a disgraced former coach, in the form of John Candy’s character, who manages to take them all the way there. Although the ending may surprise, this underdog tale is both heart-warming and funny.
Days of Thunder
This may seem a strange choice as with Tom Cruise as the main protagonist, can he really be seen as an underdog? When he is called Cole Trickle and given a racing seat in the NASCAR championship despite being a rookie, then the answer is yes. The first few races Cruise’s character has do not go well and he is easily beaten by the film’s bad guy, driver Rowdy Burns. Soon though, Cruise has gotten up to speed with NASCAR racing and wins the Daytona 500 to end the film. Cruise is in great form here and really steals the show when on screen. When you add in the exciting racing action and high-octane soundtrack, this is a great sports underdog film.
We all like the little guy to win
In essence, this is how sports underdog films get us and why we find them so satisfying. There is just nothing like seeing the little guy beat the bigger guy. Any of the above are perfect for whiling away a few hours and getting closer to some of the best sports out there.