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Iconic Sports Biopic Movies

April 5th, 2023Iconic Sports Biopic Movies

BIG GEORGE FOREMAN opens April 28th

Over the years, some of the best biographical dramas have been those that have been set in the wide world of sports. There is just something about the sporting world that lends itself to the biopic setup, which is evidenced by the outstanding movies about the likes of Muhammad Ali, Tonya Harding, Rudy Ruettiger, and others that have shown a different side of the legendary, and sometimes controversial, figures whose stories they tell.

This April, BIG GEORGE FOREMAN: THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF THE ONCE AND FUTURE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD will bring to AMC Theatres the inspirational story of the legendary boxer finding redemption in the ring after years of trials and tribulations. With Khris Davis stepping in as George Foreman, Forest Whitaker taking on the role of his longtime trainer and mentor Doc Broadus and Sullivan Jones as his rival Muhammad Ali, this is going to be a sports biopic you won’t want to miss.

But, before darting off to check out the movie, now is the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane with some of these iconic sports biopics…


Michael Mann’s 2001 biographical sports drama, ALI, tells the story of the world’s most prolific and controversial boxer as he goes from an up-and-comer to one of the loudest voices, not only in sports, but society as a whole. Following Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, over the course of a 10-year period, the movie showcases the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay’s biggest moments, including multiple championship matches, his vocal protests of the Vietnam War, and the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” fight that saw him defeat George Foreman for the Heavyweight Title.

Smith, who was nominated for an Academy Award® for his portrayal of the boxer who could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” does a masterful job of bringing the legend to life in this epic sports movie.

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The 1980 Winter Olympics is mostly remembered for one incredible and inspirational moment: “The Miracle on Ice,” which saw an underdog United States defeat the Soviet Union in one of the most iconic upsets in Olympic history. In 2004, Gavin O’Connor turned the legendary hockey game into the biographical sports drama, MIRACLE, a film that follows U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) as he puts together a team that would go on to capture the hearts and minds of a nation and pull off the most unlikely of upsets against the heavily favored Soviet team, that, on paper, seemed like a sure thing.

Motivational speeches, realistic hockey action on the ice and an ending that will have you jumping up with joy, MIRACLE checks all the boxes for a great sports biopic.

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Is there a more iconic and heartwarming biographical sports drama than RUDY, David Anspaugh’s 1993 movie about Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) and his quest to play for the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish”? We think not. This unforgettable sports biopic follows the unprecedented rise of an inspirational sports figure as he goes from a walk-on who could never catch a break, to being carried off the field by his teammates in the highly emotional final moments.

What leads to Ruettiger becoming a Notre Dame, and college football, legend is just as amazing as the image of the underdog being hoisted onto his teammates’ shoulders. From his days growing up in working class Jolliet, Illinois, to struggling to keep his grades up to even get into Notre Dame, to convincing everyone size isn’t everything, Rudy is the epitome of heart, dedication and the unwillingness to accept defeat.

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The Blind Side

Released in 2009, John Lee Hancock’s THE BLIND SIDE tells the story of Michael “Big Mike” Oher (Quinton Aaron) as he went from a troubled teen bouncing in and out of foster care to a Super Bowl champion. Upon being welcomed into the home of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock in an Academy Award-winning role), Michael’s life turns around and he becomes one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the history of Tennessee high school football history, earning the praise and respect of his peers, coaches and the sports community.

In addition to being an all-time great sports biopic, THE BLIND SIDE also serves as a heartfelt exploration of non-traditional family dynamics and the idea that one should be judged by their actions, not their pasts.

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I, Tonya

Sometimes, sports biopics help change your perception of a controversial athlete, and that just so happens to be the case with Craig Gillespie’s 2017 mockumentary, I, TONYA. The movie, which sees Margot Robbie take on the role of disgraced American figure skater Tonya Harding, offers a more detailed and sympathetic portrayal of the infamous athlete. While the movie does focus heavily on the rivalry between Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver), which ultimately led to the latter being viciously attacked in the leadup to the 1994 Winter Olympics, that’s only a part of this unforgettable story.

Throughout the movie, Harding is depicted as a tour de force on the ice, but also as a skater who had to overcome a domineering mother (Allison Janney), an abusive husband, and a skating community that saw her as nothing more than white trash.

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Though each of these biographical dramas focus on a different athlete, a different sport and a different era, they all capture the heart, excitement and emotions of sports. Make sure to check out BIG GEORGE FOREMAN to see if it does the same when the sports biopic opens in AMC Theatres nationwide.

 BIG GEORGE FOREMAN opens April 28th

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