Munich – If there is hardly any live sport left due to the Corona crisis, it is worth taking a look behind the scenes of great triumphs, worse tragedies or stirring events.
Especially in times of streaming providers, sports fans have a number of options for bringing home well-known and partly award-winning documentation. A selection of eleven recommended sports documentaries:
FREE SOLO (2018 / including Amazon Prime, Maxdome): What motivates someone to climb a 1000 meter high, extremely heavy rock wall without a rope safety device? An error means certain death. The Oscar-winning film portrays extreme climber Alex Honnold and his free solo coup on El Capitan with recordings at dizzying heights. Even if the outcome of the film is known, it always takes your breath away. And there is also a little love story.
HoLLENTOUR (2004 / alleskino.de): The Tour de France is the most important event of the year, both for cycling and for France. In 2003 she celebrated her 100th anniversary, nothing was known of the doping quake for winner Lance Armstrong. And yet the German director Pepe Danquart focuses not only on the winners but also on those who go through hell every day for three weeks – and this is observed by millions of fans and a huge media crowd.
DIEGO MARADONA (2019 / including Amazon Prime, iTunes): Diego Maradona stands for footballing marvels as much as for human dramas. In the 80s, he led the SSC Napoli to the top – and in the mafia city on Vesuvius himself, he kept slipping into the abyss. Oscar-winner Asif Kapadia shows with partly never seen original shots what happened in those seven years when the celebrated world star became a sad figure.
SENNA (2010 / Amazon Prime, Maxdome): For many, the Brazilian was the best racing driver in history. In ten years in Formula 1, he became a sports saint in his native Brazil, and the passionate driver won the world championship three times. His duels with adversary Alain Prost were legendary. In 1994 Senna was killed in Imola, filmmaker Kapadia succeeded in captivating appreciation.
RED ARMY – LEGENDS ON THE ICE (1994 / e.g. iTunes, Google Play): The Soviet ice hockey team of the 1980s was considered unbeatable. The basis of the success was an inhuman drill. “Some pissed blood,” said goalkeeper Vladislav Tretyak. Legends of yore have their say, but the player-vilified coach, KGB officer Viktor Tikhonov, did not want to speak. Nevertheless, a critical look behind the scenes is possible. A film, full of tragedy.
IKARUS (2017 / Netflix): Even after x scandals, doping is still abstract for many sports fans. The fraud becomes tangible in the Oscar-winning documentary. The protagonists are director Bryan Fogel, who as a hobby cyclist wants to show how easy manipulation is and appeals to Grigori Rodschenkow. This is a once recognized Russian anti-doping expert, who worked hard to defraud and now lives as a whistleblower in the USA.
WHEN WE WERE KINGS – WE WERE KINGS (1996 / DVD): There are only a few events that will remain in the collective memory of the sports world forever. The “Rumble in the Jungle” is one of them, the incredible boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974 in Zaire. In the film, which also won an Oscar, much of the time becomes tangible: Alis Charisma, his struggle for the rights of blacks and also the role of music, for example by James Brown and B.B. King.
STREIF – ONE HELL OF A RIDE (2014 / e.g. Netflix, YouTube): No ski race is as legendary as the Streif in Kitzbuhel, no victory weighs as heavily as there, hardly any descent is more dangerous. For the alpine aces, the Hahnenkamm race has a magical charm – and that is certainly not because of the chic and party around it. The film lives from the stories and memories of many athletes: those who raced to triumph. And those who almost died.
GERMANY. A SUMMER FAIRY TALE (2006 / DVD): In 2006, soccer was allowed to be played in front of fans in Germany in summer, and the Federal Republic had a fairytale world championship for a month. Most were inspired by the German eleven: director Sonke Wortmann is very close, when the speeches by national coach Jurgen Klinsmann in the cabin, in the team bus on the way to the games, in bed with Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
HOOP DREAMS (1994 / TV Now) – Millions of American teenagers dream of careers as sports professionals. Here it is William Gates and Arthur Agee from Chicago who plays basketball at high school and wants to eventually join the NBA. The black boys are still a long way from the sparkling elite league. Racism, drugs, and poverty are the film’s central themes alongside basketball – and major obstacles for the two of them to improve their situation.
HILLSBOROUGH (2014 / TV Now): It’s one of the darkest hours in football history when 96 people die in a mass panic at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 766 are injured. The documentary traces the terrible hours of April 15, 1989, lets survivors and relatives of the dead have their say, and also shows how an investigation in 2016 found that police mistakes led to catastrophe. Until then, fans were the culprits.