Sports in Film

Aaron Baker

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:
Sports in Film

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Since the start of the motion picture industry in the United States, sports have been a frequent subject for the movies. Hollywood has produced hundreds of films about sports for the same reason that synergistic ties have been established between American movies and other cultural forms, including theater, literature, fashion, television, advertising, and toys. From the documentary style “news films” of major prizefights and the World Series that were an important part of the early film industry to recent blockbusters such as The Blind Side (2009) and Moneyball (2011), collaboration with sports has helped sell the movies. Sports are rule-governed contests of physical skill in which humans compete against one another. In the sports film such athletic contests play a central role in defining the main characters. The Hollywood sports film in particular has two important conventions: a utopian view of the world that assumes that anyone who works hard, is determined, and plays by the rules will succeed and a need for plausibility based on resemblance to the actual sports world that qualifies its utopian outlook with the complexities of social difference. Put more simply, in their attempt to portray plausible athletes and sporting events to attract sports fans, Hollywood films often include historical forces that complicate their narratives, which are otherwise focused on individual characters as causal agents. The sources listed below fall into three categories: tools for teaching and research, writings on the general traits of films about athletics, and studies of the sports world shown in such movies.

Article.  10754 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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