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Aug 2 / King Kaufman

What movies should every sportswriter see?

The Harder They Fall posterWhat are the movies every aspiring sportswriter should watch?

That question, batted around my corner of the palatial Bleacher Report headquarters the other day, was inspired by this list of “the 14 movies every journalism major must see.”

I don’t see how “Absence of Malice” didn’t make that list, but that’s another blog post.

Let us know the movies you think any sportswriter worth his or her salt should have seen at some point, and briefly tell us why.

Since I’m an old guy, I’ll get the ball rolling with an oldie, “The Harder They Fall,” which was Humphrey Bogart’s last movie. He plays a down-on-his-luck sportswriter who takes a job as a flack for a crooked fight promoter who is building up a heavyweight contender through fixed fights.

The movie is based on Budd Schulberg’s classic novel of the same name, which should be on any aspiring sportswriter’s bookshelf. But be patient. That’s another blog post too, and that one’s coming soon.

Poster photo: Wikipedia

  • Hruben

    I can think of a couple: “Jerry Maguire” is about agents and one of the best movies I’ve seen, period. If you love the inner world of sports and are an aspiring sportswriter (or already there), this movie is for you. It takes you inside the game and lets you see a side that is ruthless by its very nature. Sportswriters play a significant role in this often hilarious, yet truly poignant film. I would also suggest “All the President’s Men” — this film is about a news reporters so don’t expect any revelations on sports writing. But if one aspires to be a good sportswriter, you’ll want to start by aspiring to be a great journalist. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the Washington Post’s intense investigation of the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s — their above reproach ethics and dogged reporting skills contributed to my passions for becoming a journalist.

  • You’re the Man Now Dog

    Finding Forrester

  • Michael Schottey

    Too many young writers think Teen Wolf, Swingers, and a host of HBO TV shows is enough…

    • King Kaufman

      Those dang kids!

  • Matt Snyder

    It’s hardly a movie about sportswriting, but “Cinderella Man” has some excellent sequences where announcers and sportswriters vocalize certain parts of stories they’re working on. It’s a cool way to see how saying aloud what you write can help make it better.

  • Andrew Eide

    How about 61 from HBO which was about Roger Maris’s chase of Babe Ruth and showed the role the press played covering that story.

  • Brad Ross

    Raging Bull is definitely a must see. Not just for sports people, but also for film buffs. Greatest sports movie ever made.

  • Brandon Pledger

    My personal favorite sports journalism film of all time has to be Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Some other great for me would have to be…

    Bruce Almighty
    Forrest Gump
    Logans Run
    Lucky Number Sleven
    Raging Bull
    The Wrestler
    Citizen Kane
    Almost Famous
    Fight Club
    The Running Man
    The Deer Hunter
    Enter the Dragon
    Ace Ventura Pet Detective
    Field of Dreams
    The Sandlot
    Happy Gilmore

    Im sure I’m forgetting a few. haha

  • Ted

    Too many people think Hoosiers is the best sports movie made. I disagree. But then, I don’t know if there are any “great” sports movies. I’d take Invictus over Hoosiers, though I still think Barbra Hershey is hot. Some people think Bad News Bears is a great sports movie. I do know that Walter Matthau was a big Dodger fan. I believe that the one movie that captures the rise of the upstart for the ultimate victory has to be “Greatest Game Ever Played,” the story about Franis Ouimet and his win in the U.S. Open over Harry Vardon.
    As for Absence of Malice, there is a key moment in that movie that hangs with me everyday.
    Sally Field: We write the truth.
    Paul Newman: No, you write what people say.
    A primer in journalism, that.
    Any sports movie about or with Ronald Reagan does not apply. Same for Babe Ruth.
    Caddyshack is not a sports movie Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack is one of the funniest sports icons ever.
    So I guess that sort of sets up the problems of determing what makes a great sports movie – the story or the characters.

    • King Kaufman

      But Ted, I didn’t ask about the best sports movie. I asked what sports movies should every aspiring sportswriter watch.

  • Ted

    OK, you’re right. Raging Bull, hands down.

  • Nickhansen09

    Bang the Drum Slowly.

  • Carl

    Jerry Maguire and Cinderella Man…

  • Ro Shiell

    Tin Cup
    White Men Can’t Jump ( Who would have thought that in a basketball film about a black guy and a white guy, the white guy’s game was more bleiveable! Anyway Rosei Perez was great, So was Snipes and Woody. Not a lot to fault about that film. the action was great, except for Snipes only beginners bounce when they dribble. You know like they are dancing. Amateur stuff but he was solid as an actor and billy Hoyle was nice. best B-ball film I ever saw.
    Any given Sunday (just the name, the film was a let down, theough Cameron Diaz was nice)
    Waterboy (totally unbeleiveable)
    Blue Chips (shoddy acting but if you cover college sports it makes you think. If that fake school could fiind a way to pay it’s players, who else is doing that in real life?)
    The Air Up there (Kevin Bacon is a great actor but he is no basketball player but it totally works)
    When I met Sally (yes. Billy Crystal as a ref, bossing Ewing around. he says to spud webb, “you know you are the only one around here that i can see eye to eye with”)
    Hoosiers, Gene Hackman at his finest. After hearing him talk I wanted to run out there)
    Rebound (Don Cheadle without his accent from Oceans Eleven)
    soul in the Hole (every basketball journalist should see this one)
    He got game (ray Allen was a little stoic and the basketball action was terroble, absolutely disgusting, especially with NBA players, how do you eff that up!!! But Washington carried that film and the sound track was superb)
    Finding Forester ( I have watched that one almost as much as I have seen White men can’t jump. the script was tight the acting held up, Sean Connery Dude!! even the way he rode off on his bike inthe end was nice. Obviously there were some conflict withthe book but it can be overlooked.
    Juwanna Man (just kidding)
    Coach Carter ( a little too preachy and sentimental but the basketball action was riveting (did I spell tht right?)
    In Love and Basketball (change the ‘and’ for ‘with’ and you have my life right there. Btw the dude sucked, but the girl’s story line was much better and she was more bleiveable as an actor and a basketball player than Omar Epps. A guy who has murdered sports films all his life.
    Higher Leraning, ( yes I know, I just called out Epps then rated his best film)