In the movie industry, documentaries are some of the most fascinating productions simply because they are based on past or current real situations, rather than fictitious plotlines.
Often crafted by award-winning filmmakers looking to give viewers a peek into a special story through exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes nitty gritty footage, documentaries are truly one-of-a-kind.
The same is true for sports documentaries which give fans a closer look at different leagues, athletic ventures, and general information they may have not been privy to before. Let’s check five productions like these not to miss.
The Playbook (2020)
A sports docuseries released on video streaming giant Netflix late last year, The Playbook is an exciting production that features an entire host of different well-known coaches in the sporting world.
These legendary athletic professionals share little tidbits of wisdom they have picked up over years of managing athletes in the limelight. The series is divided into five parts, each featuring a different coach and their ‘rules for life’.
These include Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, soccer coach Jill Ellis, decorated football manager José Mourinho, French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, and Dawn Staley, head coach of the University of South Carolina basketball team. Although The Playbook was met with mixed reviews, many viewers considered it to be a highly compelling sports documentary.
Free Solo (2018)
Arguably one of the most groundbreaking sports docs in recent years, Free Solo tells the story of professional rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to scale one of the tallest all-granite rock formations in the world, El Captain.
However, there’s one catch. While most climbers are accustomed to practicing their sport with the help of ropes and belay assistance, Honnold is experienced in free soloing, or climbing with only hands and feet without the presence of a cord or harness to fall back on. Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Free Solo won the 2019 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and it’s not hard to see why.
Now Place Your Bets (2017)
A fascinating documentary production directed by Dennis Tobler, Now Place Your Bets tells the story of the Las Vegas sports betting world as it rises to legality and becomes the famous multi-billion-dollar industry that many are familiar with today.
The film brings together expert oddsmakers, renowned journalists, and casino owners in exclusive interviews to help shape the personal perspective of this period. It’s especially interesting for viewers to watch Now Place Your Bets with today’s betting industry in mind.
Because tech advancements have enabled online wagering platforms to enter the mainstream, Las Vegas is no longer the only dominant player in the industry. Nowadays, legal online sports betting is trending all over the country with a variety of different sites offering their services to fans.
For example, Unibet is one of these whose mobile and online betting options make it possible for sports followers to connect themselves with their favorite teams and players at any time. Now Place Your Bets allows people to see how far the industry has come since its beginnings, but also carves out space for viewers to think about all the things the future could have in store.
Perhaps the greatest football player of our time, Ronaldo profiles none other than the Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. With the help of in-depth football coverage and special interviews from his friends and loved ones, Ronaldo breaks new ground in the world of sports docs.
Here, fans get an inside look into the superstar’s entire life, from his growing up on the Portuguese island of Madeira to his rise to stardom and eventual appearances on the world’s most famous football turfs. Needless to say, it’s an extremely revealing production about one of sport’s most successful athletes.
Man on the Wire (2008)
Man on the Wire is similar to Free Solo in that it is an extremely nail-biting documentary that will leave you on the edge of your seat throughout its entirety.
It tells the story of artist and professional tightrope walker Philippie Petite’s brave venture along a dangerous, even illegal, high-wire route between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Honored as the best documentary at the Sundance film festival in 2008, Man on the Wire is undoubtedly unlike any other documentary you have ever seen.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to check out a brand new sports documentary, Audible, coming to the Netflix library this summer.