12 Sport Documentaries and Series to Watch

By Duncan Ritchie

03-April-2020 on News

7 minute read

We’ve compiled a selection of movies, series and documentaries which we’ve divided into three sections: football, basketball and other sports. There’s no rating system at play here, they’re all good, so enjoy them in order you want.

 

And, please, tell us your thoughts? Are there any you’d like to add to the list? Get in contact through social media. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook. We’re craving human contact as much as anyone!

 

Football

 

The English Game

 

This six-part series, which premiered in 2020, is set in the 19th century at the very origins of football. It tells the story of two English footballers, the prevalent class struggles of the time and the birth of the beautiful game. There’s even a nod or two to analysts. High recommended.

 

 

Sunderland ‘Til I Die 

 

This documentary series tells the story of Sunderland FC’s battle to regain their place in the English Premiership after being painfully relegated the previous season. We get the highs, the lows and all the resulting drama. The story has already been played out, but we won’t spoil it.

 

 

El Zurdo: The Revenge of the Underdog

 

This film, subtitled in English tells the story of Jorge Sampaoli, a former banker who broke all the football rules to become one of South America’s most prolific and successful coaches.

 

 

Maradona in Mexico

 

Second outing for Maradona in a Nacsport blog this month. In our Must Watch Sports Films post, we talked about the powerhouse documentary film Diego Maradona. Here we’re talking about the Netflix docuseries Maradona in Mexico in which the footballing great travels to Culiacán, the heart of the Sinaloa Cartel, to save struggling local team, the Dorados. Full of revelations about the great man, this series is a must watch.

 

 

Basketball

 

Once Brothers

 

This documentary film will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Vlade Divac from Serbia and Drazen Petrovic from Croatia, two lifelong friends who share a passion for basketball and had joint success in the NBA, find themselves on opposite sides after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Powerful, emotional and brimming with pathos, this is a must watch for anybody, not just basketball fans.

 

 

The Women of Troy

 

We love films like these. Films that shed light on unknown or half-forgotten stories. In this case, it’s the story of USC Trojan, an all-woman basketball team that, during the 1980s, forever changed the face of American basketball. Find it, watch it, love it.

 

 

Nacsport's Must Watch Sport Movies

 

Rucker50

 

Think of basketball court in the hood. It could be New York or Baltimore (thinking of The Wires here, serial lovers!). A pair of baskets with chain net. A 3 v 3 with strangers. This image belongs to the iconography of American cinema.

 

In this documentary, the court is the protagonist of the story. Over the course of half a century, from 1965 to 2015, Harlem’s Rucker Park has seen many players make history in the NBA. This is its story.

 

 

Other  Sports

 

Icarus

 

Oscar winning documentary film which chronicles the journey of Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist dabbling with the idea of doping to win a race. From amateur cycling to global conspiracies and death, we get a story more akin to a geopolitical thriller than a simple documentary. A must see.

 

 

Senna

 

Ayrton Senna de Silva is considered to be one of the greatest F1 drivers in the history of the sport. At the of 34, during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, his meteoric rise and his life were cut short. This highly regarded documentary film chronicles the life and times of a motor racing legend.

 

 

Strokes of Genius

 

Some games are part of history, so games make history. The 2008 Wimbledon final between Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer was one of them. Friends and rivals. The most stylish hitters on the circuit, with a nod to Novak Djokovic. This film recounts, in cinematic style, those five memorable hours of tennis. Get the story behind the match, the players, the fading light and the inclement weather.

 

 

 

When We Were Kings

 

One of the best documentaries ever about one of the most legendary fights ever starring two of greatest boxers to ever put on gloves. The story of the Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammed Ali vs George Foreman. Every intricate detail of the lead up to the fight and a breakdown of the fight itself. You must watch this film!

 

 

Losers

 

Saving the best till last? Maybe. There’s certainly no denying that this docuseries is fantastic viewing! In a society where winning is everything, how do the losers cope? That’s the premise of this series which takes in a wide ranging of sports, from boxing to curling to husky racing. Everybody loses at some point in the life, but it’s how we deal with the situation and what we learn from defeat that’s important.

 

 

What Did We Miss?

 

So…that’s our list! What would be in your top 12 films list? Any hidden gems that you could recommend to our readers?

 

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