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Sports Film – The genre
It is a genre that centers on a sports event, setting or an athlete. It generally has a simple plot building up to a significant sporting event. The genre is popular for building up intensity and anticipation in the plot. Such movies may be fictional as well as non-fictional. In case of the latter, the lives of memorable athletes are portrayed; while in the former, a single sport is centered upon. It shows the training, rise and fall of the underdog or athlete in the world of the game.
The mostly-occurring themes in such movies are boxing, soccer, basket ball, baseball, ice hockey, auto-racing, horse racing, golf, wrestling etc.
A brief history
Sports films have been a part of movies ever since motion pictures came into being. The first few of such films were actually boxing matches. The first of such a film was released in 1897, which was ‘The Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight’. This was essentially a news film. The first non-news film, ‘Harry the Footballer’, was made in the silent era, in 1911. The genre gained more and more recognition with advancement in technologies like the advent of color films and high-definition sound.
These movies depict the life of a historically significant athlete or team. The truth in such films is often stretched for the purpose of dramatic effect, leading to its accuracy being questioned. The genre chronicles the rise, success and fall (if it is there) of a sport-star or team, emphasizing on the larger events of the person’s or the team’s life. ‘Ali’ based on the life of boxer Mohammad Ali is a classic example of such a movie.
Such films incorporate slapstick humor in their plots. They generally tell the story of a fallen hero who is out to prove his or her worth in a sporting world. ‘Blades of Glory’ can be regarded as a good example of sports comedy.
These types of films fuse dramatic elements with a sporty plot. It showcases the grittier and more intense side of the world of sports. ‘Cinderella Man’ can be a worthy example of this sub-genre.