Popular Sports Movies That Are Based on Real Life

Boxing is a popular sport all over the world today, and while its popularity in the US isn’t what it was in the 80’s, boxing is one of the most popular sports internationally today with countries like the UK, Mexico and Puerto Rico still having a strong place for it on the sports agenda.

As for boxing movies, they’re popular even in the US with more people choosing to watch boxing movies based on true stories than other sports. The reason for this is thought to be that unlike other sports which become a game, boxing is not a game. The fight in boxing is often portrayed as a fight in life in many boxing movies, allowing viewers to connect with the character as many people often feel like life is a fight at some point. However, despite boxing being a very popular movie topic, many other sports have taken their share of the glory.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular sports movies around that are based on real life events.


Cinderella Man

Cinderella man is a biographical sports drama, released in 2005. The film was inspired by world heavyweight boxing champion James Walter Braddock and has grossed $108 million since it was first released.

The plot centers around Braddock, an Irish American heavyweight boxer from New Jersey, who injures his right hand in a match. After the devastating blow where Braddock can no longer compete, he takes up a manual labor job to continue supporting his family, although he becomes incredibly unhappy in the process.

Braddock receives a break when an opening becomes available in a match at the last minute. He steps up to the challenge, finding that while he was out of the ring, his left hand became much stronger as he couldn’t use the right one.

What makes Cinderella Man so popular is that it shows the real-life struggles of a man with a passion and a dream that nearly gets taken away from him. Braddock’s fight to return to his boxing career is relatable with so many people who face injuries and illnesses they must overcome to achieve their dreams.

Tyson Fury is another real life example of a boxer who has overcame much adversity and hardship to prosper on the world, despite his daily battles with depression, which almost led to his suicide. With the Fury VS. Wilder fight coming up for the third time, the much-anticipated fight has stirred the boxing fan community as they wait in anticipation for the fight. Those who enjoy betting on sports will be interested to know he is the strong favorite to beat Wilder in their final bout, with odds of 4/3 of him winning.


As one of the most well-known boxing films, Rocky is just as much a classic today as when it was first released. Released in 1976, Rocky is centered around legendary boxer Sylvester Stallone, a working class Italian American who emerges from the slums of Philadelphia as a boxing champion. Rocky must rise up against a series of challenges, including overcoming his opponent Apollo Creed, as he battles to progress in his heavyweight boxing career.

While not directly based on a real life boxer, Rocky tells the story that millions of athletes and non-athletes alike face across the world. It’s a time old story of working hard at a passion and overcoming the odds, despite a challenging start in life. The story resonates with people as it provides hope that even with a less privileged background, you can still achieve your dreams and become a success.

Glory Road

Glory Road tells the story of the 1966 Texas Western basketball team, weaving together the story of athletic accomplishment with a range of humanistic issues. The plot revolves around coach Don Haskins who is well known for bringing five black players into a championship game. This was unheard of for the times and caused great controversy but set NCAA basketball history as his ‘underdog’ team defeated the all-white Kentucky team.

As a tale of overcoming racial discrimination and championing the rights of black people, Glory Road won an ESPY award for Best Sports Movie in 2006.


This sports movie is based on a different kind of athlete – the animal kind. Grabbing the hearts and tears of every viewer that sets their eyes on Seabiscuit, the film tells the story of a racehorse who makes a comeback after having been known for always being left behind. Set at the time of the Great Depression, Seabiscuit brings hope to viewers by showing that it’s possible to defeat the odds and make a comeback.

After losing so many races, Seabiscuit’s luck begins to change, and he begins winning race after race after race. This really resonated with its American audience at the time and became a heartwarming and inspiring tale.


Released in 1986, Hoosiers is a basketball movie that tells the tale of Milan High School’s David-vs-Goliath in the State Basketball Championships. The plot shows new coach Gene Hackman coming into the school to coach the undermanned and pitiful basketball team as he turns them into a success.

Through many challenges, tears and grueling hard work, the team learns to become a success, resonating with teenagers across the US and beyond.

Overall, films that are based on true story sporting events and stars prove to be some of the most successful titles to ever be produced. One of the reasons for this is that they depict a common theme of rising from a tough beginning and overcoming challenges of personal defeat, loss and industry to become successful. These plots are relatable to the struggles faced by not just athletes but in everyday life and prove inspiring for the viewer.

Theo Gill
Thoe Gill is a content writer who specializes in SEO-friendly, keyword rich, persuasive copy. With over 10 years of experience writing for the web, Thoe has an uncanny ability to create content that sells. With expertise in digital marketing and website management, he knows how to get your company found online. He understands the importance of creating engaging content that will keep readers hooked on your site all day long.

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