At a critical point in last year’s World Series the crowd drew silent and a fan in the crowd could be seen in the Jumbotron holding up a sign with three words: Never say die. The crowd erupted. And his team went on to win.
In Ice Castles a young woman overcomes blindness to become part of a successful figure skating team. In Rudy a young man fights desperately to play college football. In Caddyshack a kid picks principle over a college scholarship to compete in a round of high stakes golf. In Slap Shot and Necessary Roughness a coach tries some innovative methods to turn a losing team into a successful hockey or football team. In The Bad News Bears and The Mighty Ducks, a coach tries to make a team of youth baseball or hockey players out of a group of misfits. In The Natural, Field of Dreams, and Moneyball a has-been baseball player returns to the game to save the day. In Pride of the Yankees a professional baseball player tries to fight a terminal disease to keep playing the game. In Jim Thorpe–All American a Native American overcomes racism and class struggle to become a track, football, and Olympic icon. In Brian’s Song two professional football players move past racial differences and face a terminal illness. In Rocky and Creed a guy from the streets fights to be a contender in the boxing ring. In Cool Runnings (Jamaican bobsled), The Cutting Edge (pair figure skating), and Chariots of Fire (track) athletes overcome their personal trials to compete in the Olympics.
The underdog finally has his day.
Each of these sports movies follows a trial against adversity, whether it be a physical, mental, social, economic, or cultural barrier. Some are seriously dramatic and others comical, but most manage to include more than an ounce of humor along the way. And all incorporate plenty of heart. But they all share the theme of “beating the odds”.
A new movie from 20th Century Fox looks destined to be the next beat-the-odds sports movie triumph, and seems like it may be good enough to be added to this list of great sports films based on a new trailer. Eddie the Eagle follows a British skier who in 1988 became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.
The movie is based on the real Eddie Edwards who was a plasterer living in a Finnish mental hospital (because he could not afford other accommodations). Despite skills in speed skiing and stunt jumping, his lack of money made it difficult to compete at a national level for Olympics consideration. His poor vision meant he required glasses while ski jumping, meaning he often competed with fogged lenses and could not see. And he was afraid of jumping altogether. But nothing would keep him from making an Olympic bid.
Check out this trailer for Eddie the Eagle:
That’s Taron Egerton (Colin Firth’s protegé in Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Edwards and Hugh Jackman as his coach. Christopher Walken co-stars.
Look for Eddie the Eagle in theaters February 26, 2016.