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The Most Inspiring Sports Movies On Netflix

Whether or not you play sports in real life, there’s nothing quite as inspiring as a good sports movie. It’s almost like a superhero arc with an individual or a team going far beyond regular human capabilities to reach impossible heights in physicality. Win or lose, it makes for a spectacular story. For fans of the genre, here are the 10 most inspiring sports movies on Netflix that you can binge on your next free weekend.

 

 

The Dawn Wall (2017)

 

Director: John Lowell, Peter Mortimer
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Climbing is a dangerous and awe-inspiring sport, and movies about them are among the most exciting of the genre. This documentary follows the remarkable journey of renowned climber Tommy Caldwell as he attempts to scale the seemingly impenetrable Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. If you saw and loved Free Solo, you’ll enjoy The Dawn Wall, too—perhaps even more.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Enjoy Milky Pandesal in the morning for The Dawn Wall.  

 

 

Pelé (2021)

 

Director: Ben Nicholas, David Tryhorn
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%

Brazilian football player Pelé is one of the most iconic athletes of all time, winning a record-holding three World Cup titles. In this original Netflix documentary, the directors explore the life of the legendary athlete with archival footage and interviews. It even includes interviews with Pelé himself who doesn’t shy away from providing first-hand insight into his achievements, events, and controversies throughout his historic career.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Like Pelé, this Ensaymada Pudding is one-of-a-kind.

 

 

Coach Carter (2005)

 

Director: Thomas Carter
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Ri’chard, Rob Brown, Rick Gonzales, Channing Tatum
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%

Based on a true story, Coach Carter is the inspiring story of a controversial high school basketball coach who benches the entire team for their poor academic performance in a bid to nurture their potential beyond high school. With a heartwarming story, charismatic players, and an awesome performance by Samuel L. Jackson, Coach Carter is a winning formula.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Share the Shooky Bucket of chocolate chip cookies with your film-watching teammates.

 

 

Q Ball (2019)

 

Director: Michael Tolajian
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

The San Quentin State Prison is a brutal environment where the inmates face the threat of violence every single day. Produced by Kevin Durant, the documentary Q Ball follows the moving story of the prison’s Warriors basketball squad, showing how the game can help these men find meaning and some form of redemption from behind the bars.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: A refreshing soy-based Miss B Milk Drink with free milky buns.

 

 

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (2018)

 

Director: Aaron Lieber
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%

It’s easy to be inspired by Bethany Hamilton, an accomplished athlete who lost an arm to a shark as a teen before going on to become an impressive surfer competing in the pro circuit and riding the world’s biggest waves. An intimate look at her journey, Unstoppable showcases her incredible athleticism, ambition, and unwavering focus.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Get stoked on the fluffy Special Pandesal in six different flavors.

 

 

 

Rising Phoenix (2020)

Director: Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

A big part of the draw of sports is the struggle to succeed. This struggle is all the more striking in Rising Phoenix, an inspiring documentary that focuses on the history, events, and athletes of the Paralympics Games. The film is ultimately a tribute to the breathtaking resiliency, hard work, passion, and skill of athletes with disabilities.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Savor the perfectly moist Cuatros Leche, a four-milk vanilla cake that deserves a gold medal.

 

 

The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014)

 

Director: Chapman Way, Maclain Way
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

An original Netflix documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball tells the story of the scrappy Portland Mavericks. In the 1970s, actor Bing Russell started the independent minor league baseball team that consisted of a bunch of passionate players that weren’t drafted anywhere else. Even non-baseball fans will enjoy this vibrant and feel-good sports film that celebrates underdogs.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: These moist Thousand Gram Dirty Brownies are as spectacularly fun and sweet as the story of the Mavericks.

 

 

Invictus (2009)

 

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Based on real events, Invictus is a sports drama that takes place in South Africa after the apartheid. The movie follows the time of the 1995 Rugby World Cup when President Nelson Mandela (Freeman) harnesses the power of sports and teamwork to help unite a deeply divided nation.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: A slice of this decadent Basque Burnt Cheesecake made with artisanal ricotta and cream cheese is a yummy treat for cinephiles.

 

 

Athlete A (2020)

 

Director: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

The critically acclaimed documentary Athlete A is an unflinching look at the dark side of sports, specifically Dr. Larry Nassar’s molestation of young female gymnasts. The movie chronicles the heart-wrenching crimes and the USA Gymnastics system that allowed sexual abuse to go on for years with hundreds of victims. Despite the horrors, the film still manages to highlight the resilience, bravery, and love of the sport of the women who came forward to report the abuse.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: Reach for comfort food like sweet Boba Buns while watching Athlete A.

 

 

First Match (2018)

 

Director: Olivia Newman
Cast: Elvire Emanuelle, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jharrel Jerome
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

First Match is a gritty wrestling film with a woman in the spotlight. The movie follows a teenage girl Monique (Emanuelle) who is shuffling from one foster home to another when she joins the all-boy wrestling team in an attempt to connect with her ex-con father (Abdul-Mateen II). Fine performances by the pair elevate this sports drama into an extremely compelling story.

Watch on Netflix.

The perfect movie day partner: These decadent Lava Cakes pack a delicious punch. 

 

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*Featured photo via Netflix

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