With 'Moneyball' and 'Warrior' in theaters, we survey the genre
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10. "This Sporting Life" (Lindsay Anderson, 1963)
And not just because the title is such a neatly all-encompassing one to kick off the list. It’s hard to make a sport as raw, rough and mud-stained as rugby look rah-rah inspirational – sorry, “Invictus” – and Anderson doesn’t even try in this bruising classic of the British New Wave. As a Yorkshire coal miner who takes up rugby league as an outlet for his manifold inner furies (“just a great ape on a football field,” the script labels him), an Oscar-nominated Richard Harris was never more physically charged. Too rarely seen these days, the film remains one of the great studies of the vast chasm between athletic and personal strength.