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The unusual sports disciplines seen in movies


The movie industry is known for its ability to create a compelling story out of pretty much anything. The filmmakers are considering the most unusual themes, as long as they have the potential of becoming something of substance and box office potential. As far as the genres go, capturing sporting emotions on a big screen in an inspiring and captivating narrative makes perfect sense.

We have all probably seen our fair share of such movies. Some of them were better than others. One thing is to make a film about something everybody likes but taking up a lesser-known subject could much more challenging. Here are a few examples of unusual sports that made it to the big screen.

Horse racing

It cannot be said that horse racing is not popular. It does bring people to the tracks, all around the world. It is also particularly appealing for someone who likes to make a bet on the action but making a movie about it could be difficult.

Nevertheless, quite a few motion pictures with a horse racing theme were made. Phar Lap from 1983 is considered one of the best. Viewers may also remember Tobey Maguire’s performance in Seabiscuit (2003), based on the novel Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. 

Arm wrestling

Arm wrestling isn’t an incredibly fashionable sport to follow. First organized tournaments started to appear back in the 1950s. There are even world championships being held since the 1970s. It’s hard to imagine making a movie about two guys holding hands, yet it happened.

Granted, there aren’t many, but it is still very likely you have heard about one of them. All because it was made during the pick of the action era and involved Sylvester Stallone himself. The 1987’s Over the Top puts Sly in a position to win back his son while competing at the world championships. 


Although poker might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the sporting thrill, it is very popular. Particularly online, where sessions of virtual poker with friends and strangers are happening all the time. No wonder then that it also works as a movie theme.

The amount of actual playtime can vary in movies. Naturally, films that focus mainly on the game will have the most action. Other productions may just treat the casino vibe as a nice setting for telling a different story. Nevertheless, one of the most appreciated poker movies has to be 1998’s Rounders, starring Matt Damon.


Although very popular in the cold climate countries and adapted in more exotic locations such as Japan, Brazil, China, or New Zealand, curling doesn’t look like a sport packed with action. It only has been a medal sport since the 1998 Winter Olympics. It almost seems as you cannot make a movie about sliding rocks on the ice. At least not a serious one. 

Indeed, the comedy genre feels like a better choice. It was the approach for Man with Brooms (2002), which is a story about four members of a curling team. The funny side does not surprise, considering that one of the characters is portrayed by the famous comedian Leslie Nielsen.

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The Movie Bit: The unusual sports disciplines seen in movies
The unusual sports disciplines seen in movies
The Movie Bit
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