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A sports film is a film genre that uses sport as the theme of a film. It is a production in which a sport, sporting event, athlete (and their sport), or follower of sport (and the sport they follow) are prominently featured, and which depend on sport to a significant degree for their plot motivation or resolution. Despite this, sport is ultimately rarely the central concern of such films and sport performs primarily an allegorical role.[1] Furthermore, sports fans are not necessarily the target demographic in such movies, but sports fans tend to have a large following or respect for such movies.



Several sub-categories of sports films can be identified, although the delineations between these subgenres, much as in live action, are somewhat fluid.

The most common Sports subgenres depicted in movies are Sports drama and Sports comedy. Both categories typically employ play ground settings, match, game creatures and other elements commonly associated with biological stories.

Sports films tend to feature a more richly developed sport world, and may also be more player-oriented or thematically complex. Often, they feature a hero of adventure origins and a clear distinction between loss and victory set against each other in a play time struggle.

List of sports filmsEdit

Highest-grossing sports filmsEdit

Film Year Worldwide gross (US$) Source Sport Country
The Karate Kid 2010 $359,126,022 [2] Martial arts China
Hong Kong
United States
Dangal 2017 $340,000,000 [3] Wrestling India
The Blind Side 2009 $309,208,309 [4] American football United States
Rocky IV 1985 $300,473,716 [5] Boxing
Real Steel 2011 $299,268,508 [6]
Rocky III 1982 $270,000,000 [7]
Space Jam 1996 $230,418,342 [8] Basketball
Rocky 1976 $225,000,000 [9] Boxing
Million Dollar Baby 2004 $216,763,646 [10]
Rocky II 1979 $200,182,160 [9]
The Longest Yard 2005 $190,320,568 [11] American football
The Waterboy 1998 $185,991,646 [12]
Creed 2015 $173,567,581 [13] Boxing
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story 2004 $167,722,310 [14] Dodgeball
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby 2006 $162,966,177 [15] Racing
Ip Man 3 2015 $157,300,954 [16] Martial arts Hong Kong
Cool Runnings 1993 $154,856,263 [17] Bobsledding United States


  1. ^ Crosson, Seán (2013). Sport and Film. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 60. ISBN 9780415569934.
  2. ^ "The Karate Kid". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "All time box office revenue of the highest grossing Bollywood movies worldwide as of June 2018 (in million U.S. dollars)". Statista. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Blind Side Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  5. ^ Rocky IV at Box Office Mojo
  6. ^ Real Steel at Box Office Mojo
  7. ^ Scott, Vernon (November 12, 1982). "Stallone found new life in new film". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  8. ^ Space Jam at Box Office Mojo
  9. ^ a b "Box Office History for Rocky Movies". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  10. ^ Million Dollar Baby at Box Office Mojo
  11. ^ The Longest Yard at Box Office Mojo
  12. ^ The Waterboy at Box Office Mojo
  13. ^ Creed at Box Office Mojo
  14. ^ DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story at Box Office Mojo
  15. ^ Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby at Box Office Mojo
  16. ^ "Yip Man 3 (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  17. ^ Cool Runnings at Box Office Mojo
  • (fr) Julien Camy and Gérard Camy, Sport&Cinéma, ed. Du Bailli de Suffren, 2016, (1200 films, 60 sports, 80 interviews)