Hollywood loves a fairy-tale, but it loves a sporting fairy-tale even more. The sporting biopic is always guaranteed to get moviegoers to pack out cinemas. Below are some of the greatest sporting fairy-tale films of all time.
Coach Carter (2005)
Starring Mr Cool himself, Samuel L. Jackson, Coach Carter chronicles the true story of Ken Carter and his inner-city Richmond High School basketball team. Not only does Carter help them win on the court, but he also helps them win in the classroom. Under Carter’s guidance, the team turns their losing season around, with the state title a genuine possibility. However, when Carter learns that a number of his players have let their grade point averages slip below 2.3, as mandated in a contract he entered into with the students, he decides to lock the team out of the gym and send them into study hall until their marks improve. This leads the parents to call for his dismissal, and in the most poignant moment of the film, the players opt not to play and focus on their studies instead. Coach Carter also features Rob Brown and Rick Gonzalez as members of the team, and R&B diva Ashanti in her film debut as the girlfriend of one of Carter’s players.
Titular character Bob Champion, portrayed by John Hurt, had always dreamt of winning the Grand National. However, in a cruel hand of fate Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1979, leading many to believe his career as a jockey was over. After successfully completing chemotherapy Champion managed to secure a ride on Aldaniti, a horse that had been plagued by career-threatening leg problems, for the 1981 Grand National, and against all the odds the duo ride to victory. Considering both were teetering on the brink, to come back and win the National, the biggest horserace in the world, is a true fairy-tale.
The vehicle that catapulted Sylvester Stallone into the Hollywood mainstream, Rocky is the ultimate underdog story. The character fights in amateur unsanctioned fights with huge physical costs, while supplementing his ailing boxing career, by being an enforcer for the mob. However, when Mac Lee Green pulls out of his World Heavyweight Title bout with Apollo Creed, it is the Philadelphia native Rocky, who is given an unprecedented shot. While many believe Rocky stands no chance of surviving, Rocky proves them wrong by remaining on his feet until the very end of them match. Even though Creed is declared the winner, Rocky wins the hearts of America.