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Lights, Camera, Play: Amazing Sports Biopics From Around the World



Lights, Camera, Play: Amazing Sports Biopics From Around the World

After you are done catching MS Dhoni at a theatre near you, get to these sporting masterpieces on your desktops and tablets.

Bollywood has been stumped by Neeraj Pandey’s MS Dhoni: The Untold Story that hit the theatres this week. The audience can’t get enough of Sushant Singh Rajput’s immaculate emulation of the Helicopter Shot. But there’s more to sports than just cricket. We look at some of the more iconic sporting moments in history that have been captured in the celluloid for posterity. And guess what? You can stream them online. Happy adrenaline rush, guys!


It’s a treat to watch the first-ever documentary (in two parts) made on the Olympics, by German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Shot during the Berlin Olympics in 1936, the film was touted as propaganda to promote socialism as a model of the Nazi government. The first part of the film also opens with the lighting of the torch at the stadium. One can spot Adolf Hitler looking on as Jesse Owens wins four gold medals.

Watch it here and here

The Class of ’92 

Unlike most football documentaries that pack in truckloads of locker-room footage, humour and fights, training scenes, and the adrenaline rush during the final 90 minutes, The Class of ’92 scores rather high on sentimental value. The Gabe Turner-Benjamin Turner directed film follows the Old Trafford stars, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Phil Neville, back to their early days at Manchester United. No, one doesn’t have to be a Red Devil to enjoy the candor and camaraderie shared by the young British lads. Watch the film to see how stars are made, not born. 

Watch it here.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait 

In 2006, the French football exponent Zinedine Zidane grabbed eyeballs the world over as he was unceremoniously sent off. After a vile exchange of words, Zidane had head butted Italy’s Marcus Materrazi in the FIFA World Cup Final, which was also his last international appearance for his national side. A similar sight comes alive in Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s French documentary, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

The Frenchman is followed by 17 synchronised cameras during the 2005 Spanish La Liga match between Real Madrid and Villareal. We see Zidane sprint, dribble, take shots and make quick passes throughout the documentary, and finally unleash his aggression towards the final minutes of the match. The exceptional effort by the makers bring to the fore the gamut of emotions the player undergoes during a high-tension match. It’s one for every sports lover.

Watch it here

Chariots of Fire 

Hugh Hudson’s Academy-Award-winning sports drama is historic to say the least. Throwing light on the first-generation British track athletes, the film addresses religious and racial temperaments of the time. It’s also interesting to note the sole Lipton Tea hoarding at the event, a glimpse into the decluttered state of advertising back in the day.

Watch it here


Kurt Russel gets into the shoes of Herb Brooks (player-turned-coach of the 1980 US Hockey squad) in Gavin O’Connor’s sports biopic, Miracle. In the Winter Olympics of 1980, Herbs takes up the herculean task of putting together a team to face the invincible Russians, Finns and Swedes to lift the gold. It’s a befitting epitaph to Herbs, who passed away shortly before the release of the film.

Watch it here. 

Image source: Class of ’92





Arundhati Chatterjee is a part-time writer, full-time dreamer. Hoards fountain pens, listens to The Beatles, eats multiple meals and yawns too often. Follow her @TheBongBox

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