From time to time, Hollywood has never disappointed us in portraying real-life heroes and their struggles through their masterpiece of movies. They add their twist for commercial appeal that has a very subtle difference from reality. Here we present you with seven such evergreen sports movies.
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Raging Bull (1980)
Hollywood’s Twist: A marvel set to portray the story of an obnoxious middleweight boxer, Jake La Motta, whose self-destructive and obsessive nature destroyed his life, won several academic awards as one of the best American biographical sports dramata. The story also shows Joey as a central character, a trusted advisor, fast-talking manager, and training partner.
In Real Life: This started as a brotherly dispute and took a devastating turn, leading to Jake and Joey La Motta’s separation. Joey La Motta’s character is based on Pete Savage, who reconciled with his brother and again in 1980 was reported planning to sue for defamation.
Academy Award Honors: Robert De Niro won an Oscar for best actor in a leading role, and the film got nominated for eight more awards.
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Chariots Of Fire (1981)
Hollywood’s Twist: This British historical drama directed by Hugh Hudson and produced by David Puttnam revolves around two central characters, Eric Liddell, a Scottish Christian and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew. The story targets two main ideas prevailing in society, religion and prejudice, along with the struggles of our lead characters in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Hitting a religiously winding road of whether to run in the 100-meter dash scheduled for Sunday, he is very kindly allowed to run in the 400-meter dash by Lord Andrew Lindsay, in which Liddell wins a gold medal.
In Real Life: According to Time, Liddell stated that it wasn’t a last-minute decision to run in the 100-meter race because the schedule was published months in advance. The character of Lord Lindsay was based on Lord David Burghley, who won the hurdles in the 1924 games.
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Academy Award Honors: The film was presented with four Oscars while being nominated for seven academy awards.
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Heart Like a Wheel (1983)
Hollywood’s Twist: Popularly known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing”, Shirley Muldowney rose to fame, overcoming scepticism, misogyny and personal and professional relationships. The film mainly focuses on the friends-turned-rivals-relationship between Shirley and Connie Kalitta.
In Real Life: In an interview with MotorTrend, Shirley states, “Look at all those patches. Pepsi? Budweiser? They weren’t even my sponsors. The movie didn’t capture my life very well, but more importantly, I thought the movie was perfect for the sport. I had 800 of those posters, and we burned them all. Do you know what we would sell them for today?”
Academy Award Honors: Unfortunately, the movie didn’t earn any Oscar, although it was an Academy Award nominee.
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A League of Their Own (1992)
Hollywood’s Twist: Quirky and a stereotype-breaker, this sports comedy-drama depicts the story of the Rockford Peaches and their impeccable performance during the first season of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that lasted from 1943-1954. It follows the story of 2 sisters, Dottie Hinson and Kit Keller, and their manager, hard-drinking, washed-up baseball star, Jimmy Dugan.
In Real Life: Most of the movie characters were fictionalized-Dottie Hinson was based on Dottie Kamenshek, who was in the league for ten seasons and was a hitting star for the Peaches; Jimmy Dugan was based on Jimmie Foxx and Hack Wilson.
Academy Award Honors: Sadly, the movie was not a nominee.
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Hollywood’s Twist: In a dramatic yet whole-hearted attempt, the teammates of Rudy Ruettiger relinquish their jerseys one by one Infront of Dan Devine, earnestly appealing to the head coach to let him suit up and play. This incident occurred during the looming Notre Dame football game.
In Real Life: Many details of the movie were fictionalized for an emotional appeal. The team coach did agree that the corny jersey scene was falsified entirely, and any kid who would have attempted it wouldn’t have gotten back his jersey. Ruettiger worked in a power plant and not in a steel plant, and his brother Frank was a work of fiction.
Academy Award Honors: the film was not a nominee.
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Hollywood’s Twist: Based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand, it stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and many such renowned artists. Days before the “Race of the Century”, jockey Red Pollard gets a leg injury leading to George Woolf riding his horse. Seabiscuit also earns hurt, and Pollard, along with his horse, wins the Santa Anita Handicap.
In Real Life: making up many things for a dramatic effect and audience appeal, the movie had many differences from real-life events. According to the Washington Post, the racing timeline was altered. Pollard’s injury took place months before the Santa Anita Handicap, where he got enough time to practice with Seabiscuit. The conversation between Pollard and Woolf was called out as “Preposterous” by netizens.
Academy Award Honors: Although nominated for seven awards, including best picture, the movie didn’t win any.
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The Blind Side (2009)
Hollywood’s Twist: Based on the 2006 book- The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game, this movie adaptation revolves around the life of Michael Oher, an African-American homeless teen to college football All-American. After being adopted by the wealthy Caucasian Tuohy family, this black athlete learns to play football from his adopted mom, played by Sandra Bullocks, which is seen in a scene where she teaches him to block during a practice.
In Real Life: In his 2014 autobiography, I Beat the Odds, Oher called the movie inappropriate even after his adoptive father called the film accurate. He played for the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers over eight seasons. He said his character was somehow depicted as dumb, although Quinton Aaron did a great job acting. He said that he’s been studying the game since he was a kid. He retired from pro football following the 2016 season.
Academy Award Honors: While the movie became the nominee for two awards, Sandra Bullock earned an Oscar for best performance for the leading role of Leigh Ann Tuohy.