Or “The story of some sport”, or … ()
Holiday reading for an armwrestler. Americans and Canadians love sport, that’s obvious. What’s more, the American film industry is the largest in the world, which means that the majority of best sports movies are produced in the United States and Canada.
Although I’m not a film critic, I let myself formulate some theories about sports movies. The thesis about the US and Canada producing the majority of the greatest sports movies ever cannot be undermined. Have you ever seen a Romanian sports movie? Or French, or German?
Probably not! In Poland, there was this film called “The Boxer”, telling a pretty dramatic story of a popular Polish athlete. The action takes place at the time when Polish boxers were quite successful. It was long time ago…
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the USRR sport was pride and joy not only to ordinary people, but also to the authorities, yet not a single sports movie produced there would reach European or world movie theatres. In modern Russia there was made a movie portraying a great ice hockey player, Valeri Kharlamov, entitled “Legend No. 17”.
Hungarians only once shot a sports movie, which showed a dramatic story of their water football players’ struggle before, during and after a match against the USRR team.
To sum up, if there were produced any sports movies in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, they were mostly meant to praise achievements of national athletes and touch upon social matters. The scheme would always be the same, the movies were made about athletes or teams which were already successful and enjoyed wide popularity. Never the other way round.
American and Canadian films would follow the same scheme. That is, films were based on stories of athletes or teams, that were already known and loved by everyone. By these means, the movies did not need any promotion campaigns.
Americans (and Canadians, too) are crazy only about few sports with hockey being on top of the list. The themes of hockey films, including a brilliant picture “Young Blood”, vary from sweet stories about old couches coming back to the business and starting working with young athletes, to stories portraying particular athletes, their careers and personal lives.
You can feel that these movies were made out of love for hockey!
Yet, the scheme is the same. Each film tells a story of a sport which is already loved and enjoyed by fans. I’m emphasizing this rule, because it’s very important. You’ll see why in a moment.
Boxing movies, including “Rocky”, are a separate category as most often they are based on a story of a legend, or a slightly embellished life history of an idol, his times and environment. Such movies are supposed to move the audience, show the drama during fights and send a clear message: “work, pray and respect your friends.”
But still, the movies are based on true stories.
Baseball is yet another example, being deeply rooted in the American culture. Besides, no one apart from Americans (and Cubans) understands the rules of this game. It is so important to Americans that during the Second World War, when men joined the army, women started to play baseball! Not only did women want to provide entertainment, but most importantly they wanted to keep this tradition alive! Their aim was not to “eliminate” their husbands, sons, or brothers from the game, but to replace them during the war. Of course, a movie based on that story was created and enjoyed great popularity.
Dear readers, now I’d like to share with you some sociological considerations.
In the US and Canada sport has always been more popular than cinema, because it unites people from various generations more than art. This is due to the unique, family, peaceful and safe atmosphere at the matches. After all, whole families come to matches, while places in the prestigious boxes are passed ”from father to son,” like valuable collections.
It’s hard to imagine, for instance, a grandma watching a concert together with her grandchildren. However, watching a match together isn’t hard to imagine, is it?
At this point we can draw a general conclusion.
Each sports movie produced in North America has benefited from the vast popularity and general knowledge about a particular sport that almost each American and Canadian has.
For true fans, sports movies were a kind of “extension” of sports experience. And it’s worth adding that almost everyone in the United States supports hockey or boxing.
There was, however, one exception…
Do you know which film I mean? For sure, you do!
Of course, I mean “Over The Top”! The movie was created when no one, except for truck drivers and a few fanatics, heard about armwrestling.