Must See Sports Documentaries

Documentaries about sports allow us to learn about athletes, important sporting events, championships and much more. Have you seen any of the following documentaries?
Must See Sports Documentaries

Last update: 03 December, 2019

Reading about the life of an athlete or a particular sporting event can be interesting. However, seeing it on the screen can make an even bigger impact. Read along to find out the best must-see sports documentaries.

Sports documentaries: seven of the best

If you enjoy a television series or movies and are a sports fan, you’ll definitely love the following documentaries. They’ll teach you more about certain disciplines, events, and athletes.


Icarus is an Oscar-winning, two-hour documentary that addresses a very controversial issue in sports: doping.

It focuses on the statements made by the Russian, Grigori Rodchenkov regarding the use of certain substances by Russian athletes. This resulted in the elimination of all Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.

Icarus documentary

Williams: one of the best sports documentaries 

If you’re a fan of motor racing and Formula 1, you have to watch this documentary. It tells the story of Sir Frank Williams and his team. It was inspired by a book written by his wife in 1991.

The documentary tells the story of Sir Frank William’s love for racing and his wife, and how both of them lived together for decades. The inspiring documentary also shows the rise of Sir Frank Williams and includes serious accidents that put his future at risk.

Frank williams

Once Brothers 

Once brothers is another must-see documentary. It tells the story of the Yugoslavian basketball team during the 1990s when the Soviet Union was coming to an end.

The team included Serbian Vlade Divac and the Croatian Drazen Petrovic local heroes who went on to play at the Olympic Games and in the NBA. The rivalry they shared on the court became a great friendship off the court, which was then complicated by political issues.

Basketball players

One of the best sports documentaries: When We Were Kings

This is another Oscar-winning documentary. It’s based on the fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974. It’s believed that the fight was one of the most anticipated and publicized fights in boxing history. Ali challenged Foreman to a fight in one of his many public ‘attacks.”

According to the creators of the documentary, the aim of the project was to remember the golden age of boxing.

Muhammed ali sports

Maradona by Kusturica: one of the best sports documentaries 

Maradona by Kusturica is another must-see documentary. It’s based on one of the best athletes in the world, former Argentine soccer player, Diego Armando Maradona.

Serbian filmmaker, Emir Kusturica explored the life of the man behind the ball, his poor childhood, his career, his best-known plays and even his problems with drugs and his political interest in Cuba and Venezuela.


Pumping Iron

Although this documentary is somewhat old (it was released in 1977), it’s very interesting and it tells the story of bodybuilding competitions, specifically Mr. Olympia.

The documentary focuses on one of the most well-known winners of the competition, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It also leaves room for others such as Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, and Frank Zane.

The Class of 92

This is the beloved documentary for English soccer fans. The class of 92 tells the story of six friends who played soccer in their spare time and then ended up becoming soccer stars. The documentary focuses on David Beckham, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes.

David beckham sports

The documentary contains various ‘hidden’ messages, such as the fact that perseverance, ambition, and self-improvement allow us to go further than we think we can. It also shows us that you can achieve your goals if you love what you do.

Some other great documentaries include Barca Dreams – about F.C Barcelona, Pantani – based on the Italian cyclist who died of an overdose and Senna – based on famous F1 driver Ayrton Senna. Try to catch up on these great documentaries in your free time.

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  • Poulton, Emma & Roderick, Martin. (2008). Introducing sport in films. Sport in Society. 11. 107-116. 10.1080/17430430701823349.