What Is The Most Influential Sports Movie?

What is the most influential sports movie? Find out what other people from the message boards think ...

TOPIC: What Is The Most Influential Sports Movie?

The Question:

There are a countless number of sports movies that have had an impact on all of us. Sometimes the movies give us motivation to help strive for different goals, and sometimes it may just make us cry because it is was real touching and emotional.

Some examples include Rudy, Rocky, Miracle, Field of Dreams, etc ...

What sports movie has influenced you the most? Why?

What kind of impact did it have on you?

Do you feel this movie changed you for the better? How so? Why do you it changed you?

Bonus Question: If Athletes.com were to put together a documentary/movie, what would you want to see as an athlete? Do you want to see a documentary of someone going through their prep for their particular sport? Or would you like to see a touchy-feely type of movie? Motivational? Etc ...

Bonus Way To Receive Free Product: Send in your amateur video to Will at will@bodybuilding.com for an extra $50 store credit. Or you can send it via snail mail, send me an email.

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@athletes.com for more info.

1st Place - ravadongon
What Is The Most Influential Sports Movie?

Sport's movies that evoke strong emotions in the viewer are brilliant tools for motivating athletes. Whether they encourage you to strive for goals, by the underdog coming out on top or make you cry because of some moving scenes, they can always be of great assistance even if it is on different levels.

There are a lot of great movies, and well-known ones, that do this, however the sports movie that has had the biggest impact on me is slightly obscure, more than likely one you haven't heard of, with a sport played that many Americans wouldn't know, let alone have heard of ...

The Plot

This movie produced in 'Bollywood' (India's Hollywood) begins in a small drought stricken village (Champaner) located in Central India. The village has been without rain for almost an eternity. Without rain, they cannot grow crops, which they need to pay off their taxes.

They beg the Rajah, their king and representative, to seek condolence from the British and lower their taxes. The Rajah agrees to make a request and meet with Captain Russell, the arrogant and heartless commander of the British cantonment, for lunch. He is unmoved by the request made from the Rajah, who still continues to fight saying the villager's will not be able to feed themselves.

Captain Russell then offers him a deal, if the Rajah, who is a vegetarian, eats the meat that is being served for lunch, then he will cancel the taxes for a year, if he doesn't he will double taxes this year. The Rajah refuses, saying it is against his beliefs and he would never go against god.

Hinduism & Vegetarianism
The book Food for the Spirit, Vegetarianism and the World Religions, observes,

"Despite popular knowledge of meat-eating's adverse effects, the nonvegetarian diet became increasingly widespread among the Hindus after the two major invasions by foreign powers, first the Muslims and later the British.

"With them came the desire to be 'civilized,' to eat as did the Saheeb. Those actually trained in Vedic knowledge, however, never adopted a meat-oriented diet, and the pious Hindu still observes vegetarian principles as a matter of religious duty."

A "Stupid" Game:

    When the news breaks again to the villagers, they are shocked, bewildered and appalled. They decide to go back to the Rajah to seek help once more.

    They find him having tea at the British camp while watching a game of cricket. The villagers gather in front of the Rajah and beg for tax relief, to which he responds, his hands are tied.

    Russell who has just returned from the field, overhears this and claims the taxes were lowered by half last year and this years double taxes are what they owe him from last year.

    Bhuvan, one of the villagers who has already had a confrontation with Russell at the beginning of the film, is outrages at having to sit through a 'stupid' game of cricket to hear Russell's instant dismissal of the situation.

    Captain Russell is insulted at Bhuvan calling cricket a 'stupid' game, and issues him a challenge. If the Champaner's can produce a cricket team good enough to beat Russell's team then he will forgive them, and the entire province, taxes for three years.

    If they lose then the entire province has to pay triple taxes. The villagers urge Bhuvan to remain quiet, but he accepts the challenge, possibly not fully realizing what is at stake.

Forming A Team:

    The entire province are in uproar and are pessimistic, believing they are going to be paying those triple taxes, however Bhuvan is more optimistic, and is confident if they learn the game then they have a chance of beating the British. So, Bhuvan and a few of his colleagues go to and watch the British play.

    They are utterly confused at what is going on. Elizabeth, Russell's sister, spots them watching the game, and offers, through a translator, to help the villagers learn how to play the game, so the playing field can be leveled. Bhuvan agrees to this and agrees to meet the next day at a set time.

    The villagers from Champaner eventually form a cricket team with players such as a chicken farmer, who spends most his time catching chickens, making him an excellent fielder and another farmer who uses slingshots to kill pests, making him an excellent bowler to an 'untouchable' (lower caste Indian) with a deformed arm, with an ability to impart significant spin on the ball, a rare talent.

    Click To Enlarge.
    The Champaner Cricket Team.

The Match:

    The actual match, is as captivating as a real cricket match, and lasts for around 80 minutes of the 224 minutes the film runs for. The game builds up to a climax in which the untouchable, with the deformed hand, is forced to bat as the last batsman, with Bhuvan who is clearly his side's best batsman and who had currently over a 100 runs next to his name.

    The margin is eventually narrowed down to 5 runs on the last ball, and the only way the villagers can win is by Bhuvan hitting a six (the equivalent to a baseball home run) of the last ball.

    He lifts the ball high into the air; Captain Russell has the ball in his sights, backs up and takes a brilliant catch and starts celebrating, only to later discover he has caught the ball over the boundary, a six is awarded to the Indians and they scrape home as winners.


    But it's not just the sport that make's this movie exciting, the subplots, such as the romance affairs, e.g. the love triangle between Elizabeth, Bhuvan and Gauri, a pretty young girl from Champaner who Bhuvan ends up marrying in the end, and cheating scandals all add to the entertainment factor, that make this movie so great.

    Even if you don't understand the sport of cricket, it is explained well enough in the movie for anyone who doesn't know the game, to understand to a reasonable level.

Click To Enlarge.
You Don't Need To Be A Cricket Expert
To Understand Scenes Like This.

The Facts

  • The movie was produced in 2001

  • The word lagaan in hindi means "land tax"

  • Lagaan runs for 224 mins in total

  • It ended up being nominated for an Oscar in 2002 as best foreign language film and despite not winning, went on to win 44 other awards as well as picking up 19 other nominations.

  • It has a rating of 7.6/10 on IMDB.com

Impact On Me

Movies generally don't have a huge impact on me as a person, but they can often alter my perspective on things and motivate me. The movie Lagaan, is a typical underdog story, like your Rocky and Hoosier movies.

These types of movies always sit best with me, as more often than not I find myself as the underdog in my sporting life, and I often have to go through what these people have to.

Seeing the underdog come out on top is not only great to watch, but always gives me added motivation to step out onto the playing field and do what they did. I can empathize with these types of movies because I enjoy watching them much more than any other movies.

With cricket is a sport I play and being of Indian descent, I enjoyed Lagaan more than other sporting films like Rocky (which I still enjoyed). Rocky, which is based around boxing, a sport I don't play, and Hoosiers which is based around basketball, another sport I don't play.

Click To Enlarge.
A Typical Underdog Story.

Although this movie hasn't completely changed my identity as a person, it has always motivated me as a sportsman. It has taught me to always believe in winning even if you are the underdog.

This movie also shows you that you should never give up when the odds are against you, as they were with Bhuvan toward the end of the movie where all hope of winning looked gone. However when he stood up and won the game for the Indians, with the help of his teammates, he proved the underdog can win.

As mental focus and attitude are arguably the most important factors in a player's performance, developing an attitude like this, has definitely helped me perform better as an athlete in pressure situations. This movie has definitely changed me for the better.

Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India [ Order Info ]

My Advice

Manage Your Emotions To Perform At Your Best!
At the top level it is not your physical or technical expertise which separates you from the competition but your mental toughness ...

The best advice I can give an athlete who is looking to select a movie to motivate them is to find a movie they can identify with (for me it was the characteristics of the players, the sport of cricket and the cultural aspects, that I identified with).

You should also find one that evokes strong emotions from within, whether it be anger and increased willpower or joy and triumphant feelings. It doesn't have to be a sports movie, but if it is then all the better.

During your sporting events, try and implement these feelings into your game by visualizing yourself as the main character or whoever it was that inspired you and then instill their determination and willpower into yourself.

Bonus Question

If Athletes.com were to put together a documentary/movie, what would you want to see as an athlete? Do you want to see a documentary of someone going through their prep for their particular sport? Or would you like to see a touchy-feely type of movie? Motivational? Etc ...

As I have stated, I am clearly a guy who loves the underdog story. If Athletes.com were putting together a movie/documentary, I wouldn't want to see the story of someone who is naturally talented and eventually working their way to being a champion at the elite level.

I would want to see an underdog, maybe even someone who is physically or mentally challenged. Or maybe they have been through some major setback, and then perform beyond people's expectations and his abilities.

I would not want the movie to be just touchy/feely in evoking emotions, but also motivational and informational by showing their hard work and training; showing how they managed to do what they did. A blend of these would be ideal and would definitely make for great viewing.

Thanks for reading,

2nd Place - bigcalves
What Is The Most Influential Sports Movie?

Sports movies are made to show the character that people need to succeed. They also bring up our own dreams and imaginations. Most sports movies show how someone is successful and how they reached their level. They are made to inspire you and give you more courage in what your doing.

It might be a sport or it might be something else like work or business, but the lesson learned will always remain. Also they show how sports are not just games but real events that athletes have to give everything they have to succeed. They portray the athlete and what it took him/her to get there and the sacrifices that they put out.

Every sport has sacrifices, but most ordinary people cannot understand that and think that sports are easy and that if your playing sports and not working you got off easy. The truth is just quite the opposite. Sports movies show how you have to work hard to succeed and make it to the top.

Now I believe there are tons of influential sports movies. What I believe is one of the top few is Rocky IV. It portrays the story of a champion. He didn't have the best genetics or the best skill, and he was also retired and out of the game for a while. He took it upon himself to rise up and overcome through all the challenges he faced so he can fight Ivan Drago.

Rocky IV is an influential and inspirational movie that portrays the courage and champion story of an underdog that no one thought could win and the bravery of one man to stand up and fight for what he thought was right. I believe that it is one of the most influential sports movies in history. Even though it was made in the 80s, it is still a classic and everyone from this generation has seen it.

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Rocky IV.

Most Influential

What sports movie has influenced you the most? Why?

Rocky IV has influenced me the most. Why? I think it's because of the whole plot. How Rocky is out of the game for awhile, but then he sees his dear friend die and then becomes determined to 'win back his soul.' Even though he is older and weaker, he doesn't think twice about fighting the big young Russian.

Even though he has everything he wants, a nice house, a nice sports car and even a talking robot, he still has the passion that all true athletes are pushed by. Not for money or fame, but for the love of the sport. Even though he has money and everything he needs, he risks all that so he can fight for his dead friends' honor.

This movie is truly inspirational and really points out what sports are all about. Not just for making money and having tons of fans, but for really giving all you have and doing it for the love of the game.

So he gives all the riches he has and goes over to Russia to train. It is a harsh and isolated environment. If he wasn't sure about it, or was doing it for the money and fame he would have given up. But he had focus and was training in bad weather, with bad conditions, with all odds against him.

This gives the audience a powerful lesson on why top athletes are where they are at. Money, cars and women are just the by-products that they have from the only true calling in the their heart and soul. Sure it's nice to have a big house and stuff, but if you don't like what you are doing then it's not worth it.

Rocky was not into that, he was into the true fight, and for the love of the sport of boxing. Rock IV offers the audience an important lesson on why you should always follow your heart even if it's going to be tough. If you have the will and follow up with it, then you will have the true and amazing happiness of a champion.

Click To Enlarge.
For Love Or Money?


What kind of impact did it have on you?

Rocky IV had an amazing impact on me. It gave me insight on what I wanted to do with my life. I know it might sound a little too much but you'll understand in a second.

When I watched this for the first time at age 16 I had an important decision to make. In all my classes I had good grades, and I really wanted a scholarship to UW. But even though I had good grades I knew that playing a sport and doing good in it would definitely help.

So I got into wrestling and really enjoyed it. I wrestled my freshman year and did good. I placed in the top of my state. If I kept it up I had the chance for a wrestling scholarship. But at the same time I started lifting weights. Then I watched Pumping Iron, and I really got into bodybuilding.

As a kid I always remember that buff people used to impress me, and I wanted to be athletic and muscular. I've kept that promise to myself. But as the second season of wrestling was coming up, I was unsure if I should follow wrestling, then go and wrestle at college (something that I did not like that much), or I could follow my dream and new passion of getting bigger and being a bodybuilder. Now I know which one I would chose, but back then I was hesitant.

After I watched Rocky IV I decided that I will follow my dream and that I will bodybuild, maintain good grades, and see where it takes me from there. I was happy with my decision and to this day I am not sorry.

Bodybuilding is paying off, I am involved with a few supplement companies, writing articles like this one, and have some endorsements. However, the only real thing that makes me happy is me, in the weight room, following my heart. This is something that Rocky did as well in Rocky IV.

Here are the main things on how it impacted me. Even though I was small and wrestling seemed like the smarter choice, I followed that 'athlete's desire.'

This desire ...

  • Gave me courage to follow my heart

  • Helped me dream of what seemed impossible

  • Helped me follow my heart

  • Showed me that there's other underdogs like me

  • Gave me confidence to go on with my journey


Do you feel this movie changed you for the better? How so? Why do you think it changed you?

I feel like this movie changed me for the best. It gave me direction in a moment where I really needed some. It gave me the guts and risk taking ability I lacked and showed me that sometimes the smartest choice is not always the best. My situation with wrestling or bodybuilding was growing intense.

There were nights in which I could not sleep and I was thinking which road I should take. I thought that wrestling could give me a free education, which was true, but I had to sacrifice lifting so I can endure the long practices and hard matches. Or I could work hard on my grades and bodybuild and take it from there.

I chose the second option, and I'm happy that I did. I think Rocky IV changed me in a way that gave me advice and showed me how, if you follow your heart, that you will be happy. After all, the whole point of going to school, making money and having a family, is to be happy at the end.

So why not do it the way you want, still succeed, and be a rich successful person with a nice family. Nothing is in my way now. Even though Rocky IV was not the entire reason on why I did what I did, it helped me decide and showed me what would happen if I follow my heart. The movie changed me a lot about me, but here are the main ones:

  • Gave me happiness

  • Gave me courage

  • Gave me direction in life

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This Movie Changed Me For The Best.

Rocky IV [ Order Info ]

Bonus Question

If Athletes.com were to put together a documentary/movie, what would you want to see as an athlete? Do you want to see a documentary of someone going through their prep for their particular sport? Or would you like to see a touchy-feely type of movie? Motivational?

I think that if Athletes.com did a story, it should be about the underdog. It should show how someone that came from nowhere, a nobody that stepped on his/her feet, stood firm and took whatever challenges came his/her way.

The story should follow the dream of someone that wants something really bad. Something not foolish but smart, with a desire that really shows the persons heart. Then they should show his/her normal everyday life, and the challenges that they face.

>From beginning to the end; nothing cut out or modified, only the reality that we live in, and the things that we need to overcome to be champions. After all, if it were easy then everybody would be doing it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with a touchy/feely side to it. After all that is a part of everyone's life. But the whole movie shouldn't be in that style. It should portray all the sides. The weak, the modest, and even the harsh. It should really focus on that person's dream and what they do to reach it.

This story/film might be about boxing, wrestling, bodybuilding or even dance. It should show every moment, the hard and the easy. It will not matter if the athlete makes it to the top, because sometimes the desire is not made for that. It doesn't matter, all that matters is what's in your heart and how hard you follow it, something that Rocky IV really portrayed.

3rd Place - Live4this13
What Sports Movies Have Influenced Me The Most?

I personally have two movies with two different messages. 'Rudy' and 'Remember The Titans.' These are my top two choices for most influential movies.

Two Movies, Two Messages

As we know, one of the most important parts of a movie is how the viewer connects to the characters and theme. A sports movie is all about this connection. They are designed to target athletes and luring them in based on there stories of winning and tradition. The two main messages of Rudy, and Remember The Titans are different, but both very important.

Rudy, The Boy Who Never Quit.

    I chose Rudy as my first movie, because I feel it delivers the most powerful message of all.

    Never quit.

    Rudy was born with a goal. That goal was to play football at Notre Dame. Rudy went through a trying life. He was always the last pick in his brothers' football games. Rudy wasn't the greatest academically either. He worked in the mill his whole childhood, where everyone said he'd never leave.

    Click To Enlarge.

    Then Rudy started taking college classes until his grades were good enough for Notre Dame. He worked his way in, then once he enrolled, he found a job helping out the football team. Rudy finally had worked his way up to the football team.

    However he was never good enough to make the roster for game day. Until senior year, when Rudy's name was not on the list. His teammates supported him, and every teammate offered their position to Rudy.

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    Rudy finally made the game day roster. However his coach was determined not to play him. Until late in the fourth quarter when that all changed. Fans were screaming for him, and his teammates agreed, Rudy deserved to play.

    The coach put him in towards the end, and instructed them to run out the clock, however the players took it into their own hands and called the plays and threw the ball to Rudy. He got his first and only touchdown at the school he always dreamed of playing for.

    Bottom line, never quit. Even when everyone doubts you out, you can't believe in them, and quit on yourself. As Rudy learned, when no one believes in you, go out and prove them wrong.

    Everyone told Rudy he was crazy for even applying at Notre Dame let alone going out for football. However, he proved them wrong, and played at Notre Dame.

    Click To Enlarge.
    The Boy Who Never Quit.

Rudy [ Order Info ]

Remember The Titans: The Team Who Overcame Obstacles To Be Great.

    In Remember the Titans we see another conflict. Everyone on the team hates each other in the beginning. The Titans became the only team in their league to be interracial.

    All the players took it personal, the blacks hated the whites, and the whites hated the blacks. The coach at the start was a white male, however the school board decided an African American male should take over.

    As could be expected, whites in the town were outraged. However they were able to put their differences behind them and play together to achieve a great season.

    Click To Enlarge.
    Remember The Titans.

    Bottom line, always work with your team, you may hate them as a person, but in the locker room and on the field/court they are your brothers. You have to have trust in them, and expect the same in return.

    Click To Enlarge.
    Always Work With Your Team.

Remember The Titans [ Order Info ]


What kind of an impact did they have on you?

These movies have taught me two of the most important lessons in life.

I have learned to never quit on myself. I used to get down on myself when things weren't going well. However now I have dealt with it, and it encourages me to work harder. Whenever I get down on myself, or things aren't going well with training, I remember to just keep going.