The Sports Film

The Sports Film: Games People Play

BRUCE BABINGTON
Series: Short Cuts
Copyright Date: 2014
DOI: 10.7312/babi16965
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/babi16965
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  • Book Info
    The Sports Film
    Book Description:

    After covering the genre's early history and theorizing its general characteristics, this volume then focuses on specific instances of sports films, such as the biopic, the sports history film, the documentary, the fan film, the boxing film, and explores issues such as gender, race, spectacle and silent comedy. Four major films are then closely analysed --Chariots of Fire,Field of Dreams, the Indian cricket epicLagaan, and Oliver Stone'sAny Given Sunday. While recording American film's importance to the genre, the book resists the conventional over-concentration on American cinema and sports by its attention to other cinemas, for example the British, Indian, Australian, South Korean, Thai, German, New Zealand, Spanish, and so on, with the many different sports they depict.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85057-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: START OF PLAY
    (pp. 1-24)

    Invictus(Clint Eastwood, 2010) is a useful point to begin a short account of the sports film. A recent, high profile production, with two actors (Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as François Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team) nominated for Academy Awards, and a major contemporary American director in Eastwood, it attests both to the contemporary prestige of the proliferating sports film, and to the internationalising of the genre. Films such asCry Freedom(Richard Attenborough, 1987),Cry the Beloved Country(Darrell Roodt, 1995) ,The Power ofOne (John G. Avildsen, 1992),A...

  5. 1 DOMINANT PRESENCES: ONE
    (pp. 25-48)

    The classical period biopic is the most conventional of Hollywood genres. For all its range of subjects, formulaic elements impose repetitive meanings on their apparent variety. As if to refute this, like other life-story films, sports biopics claim intimate factual authenticity for their inspirational accounts. Thus,Knute Rockne All American(1940) announces that its life of the Notre Dame football coach is ‘based upon the private papers of Mrs Rockne and reports of Rockne’s intimate anecdotes and friends’. Such ‘facticity’ typically privileges personal testimonies over more objective sources. Certainly sports biopics often display that detailed research with which studio Hollywood...

  6. 2 DOMINANT PRESENCES: TWO
    (pp. 49-76)

    Like the epic, the musical, and the war film, the sports film highlights particular spectacles, namely bodies in motion in rulebound contests, as distinct from song and dance or the choreography of combat. These vary from the minimal in a surprising number of films, including the recent, highly publicisedMoneyball(Bennett Miller, 2011), toLagaan’sencounter, which is more than an hour long. Action sequences in most films fall between these extremes, the most minimal underlining the rule that action sequences, however necessary, however much criticised if unconvincing, are not in themselves the genre’s essence. Though judged in large part...

  7. 3 FOUR MAJOR SPORTS FILMS
    (pp. 77-108)

    The four films discussed below in more detail than is possible elsewhere embrace both the Hollywood and non-Hollywood cinemas and a range of sports. Two (Chariots of Fire,Field of Dreams) exemplify the genre’s dominant classical paradigms, while the non-western third (Lagaan), exhibits the hybridity of popular Indian cinema, and the fourth (Any Given Sunday) utilises a contemporary Hollywood post-classical style. Though the films as individual works show many differences, as generic relatives they also share overlapping concerns and structures. Three of the four (Chariots of Fire,Lagaan,Any Given Sunday– the last in a slightly qualified form) employ the...

  8. SELECT FILMOGRAPHY
    (pp. 109-114)
  9. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 115-118)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 119-124)