Eight great sports documentaries to stream now (and where to watch them)
From in-game dramas to off-pitch scandals, the world of sports has always provided compelling fodder for documentary makers.
The ability to look back, sometimes decades later, to a time that captured the world’s attention has generally offered a fascinating viewing, both for those who vaguely remember the original event and to audiences who was not even born when it took place.
Things to watch scanned streaming services and put together a list of eight of the genre’s greatest feature documentaries (and where you can check them out).
* So many lives would be different if we had The Queen’s Gambit 50 years ago. Including mine
* I am an Australian Grandmaster and The Queen’s Gambit has all the right things
* The best documentaries to stream right now (and where you can watch them)
* Seven dreamy documentaries that should get the Michael Jordan treatment
* Did you finish the last dance? Here are four great sports docs to watch next
* The best sports movies of all time – and where you can watch them
Athlete A (Netflix)
In the words of Things senior sports reporter Zoe George, “Forget Michael Jordan and The last dance“, It was” the most important sports documentary of 2020 “.
Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s story highlights the bravery of those who spoke out about years of abuse by USA Gymnastics (USAG) physician Larry Nassar and the systematic cover-up of former USAG President , Steve Penny.
“What is striking about the tone of the film is its redemptive warmth. Although the details are frightening, it is as if a cathartic space has been opened for these girls and their families to explain what they went through ”, wrote The Daily Telegraph’s Tim robey.
The Australian Dream (DocPlay, Beamafilm)
British documentary filmmaker Daniel Gordon’s 2019 story is both a beautiful and haunting portrayal of one of modern AFL’s greatest players and a former Australian of the Year, who lost his love for the game after continued abuse by “fans”.
It’s an uncomfortable, informative, and compelling viewing proof that America isn’t the only country with rampant and occasional racism and how social media only compounds these issues. Gordon recreates this gripping and poignant story using fabulous archival footage and in-depth interviews with Adam Goodes, his family, friends and foes.
Powerful, timely and heartbreaking, it’s a must-have watch for anyone who thinks that “just words” can’t hurt someone.
Bobby Fischer vs. the World (DocPlay)
If Bobby Fischer was to play chess what Muhammad Ali was to boxing, then this 2011 HBO documentary is the King’s Game equivalent of When we were kings. The main focus of Liz Garbus’s film is Fischer’s 1972 Cold War clash against world chess champion Boris Spassky – a game that made headlines around the world.
It also takes a look at the rise and fall of Fischer (one of the game’s most exciting and eccentric players) and will remind older viewers of a time when chess was truly king, when cities fought each other. the world championships and the games attracted nightly media coverage.
Endless Summer (iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube)
The 1966 surf documentary that saw Bruce Brown follow two young surfers from around the world in search of the perfect wave.
Introducing the sport to new audiences and countries, it spawned a wave of similar travel accounts of “extreme sports” and, later, historical documentaries on the rise and fall of particular hobbies.
In addition to his incredible imagery, he was also notable for Brown’s relaxed and chatty storytelling, what legendary Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert described as having “the nonchalance and exaggeration of a home theater enthusiast.”
Free Solo (Disney +)
Those with even a hint of vertigo are urged to watch this 2018 story with caution as mountaineering scholar Alex Honnold attempts to scale Yosemite National Park’s 3,200 feet of “pure granite” without any ropes.
Directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi do a stunning job capturing every crevice and cliff (via drones, hanging cameramen, and remote cameras) from every angle, as Honnold attempts the nearly impossible (or at the very least) incredibly dangerous). No less fascinating is the glimpse of what drives Honnold, a man described even by his long-suffering girlfriend Sanni as “a weird dude”.
Dreams of Hoops (DocPlay)
A ridiculously overlooked masterpiece for Best Documentary at the Oscars.
Steve James’ nearly three-hour 1994 film (drawn from eight years of hard work and 250 hours of raw footage) is the compelling and gripping story of two Chicago-based African-American high school students and their dreams of becoming professional basketball players.
Once in a lifetime (DocPlay)
A simply breathtaking documentary from 2006 that chronicles the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos and the North American Football League.
Bringing together some of the best players in the world – Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff – thanks to millions provided by Warner Brothers President Steve Ross, the Cosmos has drawn record crowds for the sport in the United States. However, infighting and the lack of results on the ground caused everything to fall apart dramatically.
Senna (iTunes, GooglePlay)
Composed entirely of archival footage, some spectacular, others shocking, but all informative and captivating, the portrait of the Brazilian superstar produced by director Asif Kapadia in 2010 traces his rise to the lonely karter (thousands of kilometers from his family and friends) to the three-time world pilot champion.
Sports journalists, family members and Formula 1 associates remember him, but only in vocal form, and it’s mostly up to images of the 25-35 year olds to tell the real story.