10 Movies that Capture the Spirit of Competition

Andrew Buckle,

Are you feeling very Olympic today? Go Aussies!

With the long-postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics set to commence next week we’re getting into the spirit of competition and honouring some of the great movies to carry that torch.

Check out some of our favourites below and explore the Sports Zone theme in the Fetch Movie Store for a bunch more sport movies.

Channel 7, and the 7plus app, will be the home of all of the Tokyo Olympics action on your Fetch box. Check out their Olympics page for more information and reminisce on some past Aussie medal moments.

A League of Their Own (1992) – PG

Cast – Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell

Story – Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

Significance – During World War II, with the world of baseball was floundering, team owners decided to form teams with women. Two sisters from a small Oregon town are drafted into a women’s professional league and transform it into a crowd-rallying success with their attention-grabbing play. A League of their Own tells of a rarely-documented period of history and is a re-watchable, feel-good classic with lovable characters and a dignified elegance to the storytelling.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store

Borg vs McEnroe (2017) – M

Cast – Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny

Story – The story of the 1980 tennis rivalry between the placid Björn Borg and the volatile John McEnroe.

SignificanceBorg vs McEnroe is visually a very interesting film, with some of the most realistic on-court tennis action ever depicted. The film’s final act is dedicated to Borg and McEnroe’s legendary 5-set match in the 1980 Wimbledon final. Viewers also feel like they are a part of the psyche of both men and really understand their different approaches to the game and the psychological toll that competing at a high level has on them.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store

Cool Runnings (1993) – G

Cast – Leon, Doug E Doug, John Candy, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, Peter Outerbridge

Story – When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Significance – A ’90s classic, watched at least once by (we’re assuming) every person alive today. A largely dramatic role from the late great John Candy, who takes a back seat to the charming camaraderie of the four sprinters-turned-bobsledders who all deliver memorable performances. It is gut-bustingly funny at times, and ultimately…well…you’ll cry.

Buy now in the Movie Store

Eddie the Eagle (2016) – PG

Cast Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Dickon Tolson

Story – The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Significance – This charming story served as the next rung up the star ladder for Taron Egerton (Rocketman), while homegrown favourite Hugh Jackman stars as Eddie’s unorthodox trainer. It portrays the wide-eyed wonder that comes with the privilege and opportunity to travel across the world and compete for your country (Eddie was the first competitor to represent Great Britain in ski jumping since 1928) and spreads the heartwarming message that anything is possible.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store

Miracle (2004) – PG

CastKurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Nathan West, Noah Emmerich, Sean McCann, Kenneth Welsh

Story – The true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet squad.

Significance – The 1980 U.S men’s hockey team, under the tutelage of college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) and made up of a team of heated college stars, becomes a microcosm of American patriotism during the Cold War. After a humiliating early round defeat, Brooks’ brash style manages to unite the team against their common foe – the heavily-favored Soviets.

Buy now in the Movie Store

Remember the Titans (2000) – PG

CastDenzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Hayden Panettiere, Kate Bosworth, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee

Story – The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Significance – A powerhouse performance from Denzel Washington and a sneaky-great supporting cast (check out that early work from Ryan Gosling). Transcending the sport of football to a broad audience like few others have, this is an admittedly glossy but inspiring story that celebrates the necessity of building unity and trust on the path to success.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store

Race (2016) – PG

CastStephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree, Shanice Banton, Carice van Houten, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt, David Kross

Story – Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, after the United States decide not to boycott their athletes’ involvement.

Significance – Facing racism both at home and abroad, Owens faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy on his way to a record-breaking four gold medals. Also features a breakthrough role for the wonderful talents of Stephan James (Homecoming, If Beale Street Could Talk).

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store

Rocky (1976) – PG

Cast Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

Story – A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavyweight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Significance – Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character, Rocky Balboa, and the critical and cultural success of the film – which was both the highest-grossing movie of 1976 and the Best Picture-winner – has spawned multiple sequels. Stallone reprises the role in Creed (and Creed II) earning an Oscar nomination for his performance. This rags-to-riches tale of a working class battler getting a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship is a landmark story of the power of the American Dream and the competitive spirit.

Buy or rent in the Movie Store

Senna (2011) – M

Cast – Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams

Story – A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

Significance – Simply one of the most incredibly edited documentaries ever made. Comprised of entirely archival footage of Senna’s greatest driving achievements, most dramatic rivalries, and rarely-seen personal footage, this electrifying, pedal-to-the-metal portrait of Senna’s incredible career and devastatingly-shortened life is absolutely essential viewing.

Watch on Stan or Prime Video – Streaming subscriptions required.

Whip It (2009) – M

CastElliot Page, Sarah Habel, Shannon Eagen, Edward Austin Kelly, Mary Callaghan Lynch, Jimmy Fallon, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig

Story – In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with small-town misery after discovering a roller derby league in nearby Austin.

Significance – An entertaining and gutsy dash of girl-power with really strong direction from Drew Barrymore, Whip It is a celebration of staying true to yourself and pursuing what makes you feel alive. Roller Derbies are a rarely-captured sport on screen, so while this utilises familiar ingredients it is carried with oodles of charm, confidence and energy.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store


For something a bit different here is a video featuring some of the most hilarious and cutthroat rivalries in comedies.

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