Couch Champions

Craving a feel-good film or a powerful documentary that will have you cheering from the sofa? Look no further! Dive into our curated list of 10 sports-themed movies and tv shows.

By Glorious

Sometimes, the best weekend plans involve nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good movie. But who says kicking back has to be mindless? We’ve handpicked a selection of outstanding films and TV shows that centre around the world of sport. Whether you’re craving the thrill of an underdog’s victory or the inspiring tales of legendary athletes, our list has it all. Prepare for unforgettable comebacks, historic moments, and plenty of laughs. These on-screen champions are sure to keep you hooked and entertained! So, get the snacks, dim the lights and settle in for some unforgettable viewing…

Sprint via Netflix

SPRINT, 2024

SPRINT isn’t your standard sports doc. It throws you into the world of elite sprinters as they battle for the title of world’s fastest. Expect gruelling training, media mayhem, and fierce rivalries – all explored through interviews and electrifying races.

Each episode spotlights these superstars. We loved episode 2, ‘QUEENS,’ which explores the long-standing rivalry between the United States and Jamaica, with Sha’Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson battling not only each other but also the immense pressure of fame. Episode 4, ‘TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS’ delves even further, following top women sprinters from both countries as they overcome setbacks, coaching changes, and intense pressure to secure coveted spots on their national teams. Packed with interviews from legends like Bolt and action from Lyles, Richardson, and more, ‘Sprint’ isn’t just about speed. It reveals the human stories behind these record-breakers, what drives them, and the sacrifices they make to chase glory.

Watch on Netflix

Copa 71 via Dogwoof

COPA 71, 2024

Forget Euro 2024 for a sec. Craving a football story that rewrites history? Settle in for COPA 71.

Transport yourself back to a vibrant August in 1971. Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium throbs with an electric atmosphere, a crowd rivalling any World Cup final. But on the pitch, history unfolds in a way never seen before. Women footballers from England, Argentina, and beyond battle for glory in a historic Women’s World Cup. Unfathomably, this incredible tournament, witnessed by record-breaking crowds, was erased from the sporting record for 50 years. COPA 71 delves into this forgotten chapter, a powerful documentary that brings it roaring back to life. The film gives voice to the pioneering women who defied expectations and chased their dreams on the pitch. Unseen archival footage brings this incredible journey to life, offering a testament to resilience and a celebration of these forgotten champions. COPA 71 is more than just a football story. It’s a reminder of the fight for equality in sports, a powerful message wrapped in the beautiful game.

Watch on various platforms including YouTube

Bottoms via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


Forget teen heartthrobs or brooding outsiders. Bottoms throws a hilarious curveball with its offbeat look at high school, all through a refreshingly queer lens.

Meet PJ and Josie, social outcasts and best friends with a major crush on the popular cheerleaders. Desperate to shed their ‘loser’ label, they hatch a plan so absurd it’s bound to impress (or hilariously implode): a fight club. Yes, you read that right. Fight club. In high school. But Bottoms isn’t your typical teen angst movie. This is full-on absurdity, a riotous mashup of Fight Club’s dark humour and Mean Girls’ social commentary, with a generous sprinkle of camp. Think dark humour, questionable self-defence techniques, and a whole lot of WTF. Josie (played by Ayo Edebiri who’s currently killing it in The Bear) and PJ (played by the ever-charming Rachel Sennott) deliver a hilarious performance as their elaborate lie spirals out of control. It’s relatable chaos – who hasn’t told a little white lie that got way out of hand?

Watch on various platforms including Amazon Prime

America's Sweethearts via Netflix

AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, 2024

Skip the fluffy title. This show looks at the realities of being a pro cheerleader. The show follows hopefuls chasing a coveted spot on the prestigious Dallas Cowboys squad, but exposes the pain behind the smiles. The physical toll is undeniable. Veterans detail the damage inflicted by gravity-defying routines, with injuries and surgeries a constant threat. The financial side paints a grim picture too. Then there’s the constant objectification – skimpy uniforms and being leered at by fans. So where’s the inspiration?! It lies in the resilience of these women. These women are TOUGH and we can learn a lot from them. They endure relentless criticism with unwavering grace, a strength more impressive than any high kick. The show is a must-watch for those seeking a story that’s both unsettling and oddly inspiring. This complex docuseries leaves you pondering the true cost of chasing a dream, while celebrating the unyielding spirit of the women who wear the crown.

Interested in how Cheerleaders are portrayed in film and tv? Writer Emily Spiller deep dived into the subject for Glorious last year- read here.

Watch on Netflix 


In The Arena: Serena Williams via ESPN+


Tennis legend Serena Williams steps beyond the trophies in this freshly released eight-part series that delves into the emotions, challenges, and personal journey that shaped a tennis icon. After 27 years on the court, Williams offers a personal account of her most meaningful Grand Slam appearances, deconstructing the milestones that built her legendary career. Each episode explores pivotal moments in Serena’s life on and off the court, illustrating the series of steps that, when reflected upon, show the incredible distance traveled over her career. The series promises a powerful blend of emotions, glory, and struggles. Featuring insights from Serena and those who witnessed her rise, it offers a definitive look at her journey from humble beginnings in Compton, California, to becoming one of the world’s greatest athletes. We can’t wait to watch!

Watch on ESPN+

Air via Amazon, Warner Bros. Pictures

AIR, 2023

Okay, okay, we know we’re all about women’s sport, but we HAVE to include Air in this list as it’s one of our favourite films we’ve watched this year. It’s a slam dunk (pun intended) even for non-basketball fans.

Air tells the incredible true story behind the iconic Air Jordan brand. It takes you back to a time before Michael Jordan was a household name, focusing on the gamble Nike took on a young, rising star. Matt Damon portrays Sonny Vaccaro, the visionary marketing guru who saw Jordan’s potential and fought tirelessly to bring him to Nike. Ben Affleck steps behind (and in-front of!) the camera to direct and star in this fast-paced tale, with a stellar cast including Viola Davis as Jordan’s strong-willed mother. Air isn’t just a nostalgia trip. It’s a story about the underdog rising to the top, the power of believing in someone before anyone else does, and the visionary marketing that changed the game. So whether you’re a sneakerhead, a basketball fanatic, or just love a good underdog story, Air is a must-watch.

Watch on Amazon Prime

Fighting With My Family via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


Currently sitting in Netflix UK’s Top 10, after recently being added, this charmingly absurd true story showcases a British wrestling family chasing their dreams across the pond.

Based on real events, the film follows the Knight family – reformed gangster Ricky, his wife Julia, and their wrestling kids, Paige and Zak. (Yes, that is Florence Pugh..!) They navigate the small-time wrestling circuit with a bond as strong as any championship belt. Everything changes when Paige and Zak land a shot at the WWE, the biggest stage in wrestling. This heartwarming comedy captures their whirlwind of high-pressure training and outrageous characters while highlighting the family’s unwavering support for each other. The inspiration came from an unlikely source: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. After watching the documentary ‘The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’ one sleepless night, he pitched the idea to his friend, ‘The Office’ co-creator Stephen Merchant. Merchant loved it and started writing the script immediately. Merchant’s script balances oddball humour with genuine affection for the eccentric world of professional wrestling, blending humour, family drama, and a behind-the-scenes look at the wrestling world.

Watch on various platforms including Netflix

Challengers via Amazon MGM Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures


Forget predictable rom-coms. Challengers delivers a sharp love triangle with a competitive tennis twist.

Tashi (played by Zendaya), a former player turned coach, has transformed her husband into a Grand Slam champion. But his recent losses land him in a lowly ‘challenger’ tournament, a harsh reality check. Tension explodes when he faces off against Patrick, his ex-best friend and Tashi’s former flame. Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. This isn’t just your typical sports movie. Sure, there’s sizzling on-court action, but Challengers uses tennis as a metaphor for exploring themes of ambition, love, and the complexities of friendship. The film is a playful mix of humour, suspense, and a touch of sensuality. Oh, and fashion lovers rejoice! The costumes are designed by none other than Jonathan Anderson, the creative mind behind JW Anderson and Loewe. So expect some seriously stylish courtside looks. Challengers is a must-watch for anyone seeking a smart and surprising romantic comedy with a killer serve.

Watch on various platforms including Amazon Prime

Sue Bird: In the Clutch via Amazon Prime


Basketball legend Sue Bird’s final season gets an intimate close-up in the powerful documentary. Following its buzzy debut at Sundance, director Sarah Dowland’s film isn’t just a celebration of victories. It’s a deep dive into Bird’s remarkable journey, from her high school days at Christ the King to becoming a two-time NCAA champion at UConn. Drafted by the WNBA in 2002, Bird went on to rewrite history, winning four WNBA titles and a record-breaking five Olympic gold medals, solidifying her place as the most successful point guard ever. ‘In the Clutch’ goes beyond the trophies. It offers a refreshingly honest look at Bird’s personal life. The film delves into her decision to publicly come out as gay in 2017, a truth she had already shared with loved ones for over a decade. With her fiancée, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe by her side, Bird also confronts the emotional challenge of retirement, navigating a future beyond the game that has defined her life. Well worth a watch.

Watch on various platforms including Apple TV 

Champions via Universal Pictures, Focus Features


Down on his luck and facing jail time, basketball coach (Woody Harrelson) finds an unlikely redemption in Champions, a heartwarming film inspired by a true story. Court-ordered community service throws him a curveball: coaching a team of young adult players with intellectual disabilities. Initially skeptical, Harrelson’s character sheds his jaded exterior, discovering there’s more to this team than meets the eye. Champions transcends the typical underdog story, becoming a journey of unexpected connections and self-discovery. The true stars of Champions are the actors with disabilities themselves. Their energy and humour light up the screen, showcasing the power of inclusivity and the joy of the game. Champions is a cinematic hug that will leave you smiling long after the credits roll (and be sure to watch the credits- you’re in for a treat!)

Watch on various platforms including Google Play

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Title image: Bottoms via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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