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The Best Sports Movies on The Criterion Channel

Finding a good Sports movie to watch can be hard, so we've ranked the best ones and included where to watch them. Check out our list of the best Sports movies of all time streaming on The Criterion Channel.

VIEW: best
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1. Hoop Dreams

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.3/10
Reelgood Logo
72/100
Released: 1994Rated: PG-13
Drama, Documentary

What it's about: Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way. This acclaimed documentary was shot over the course of five years.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Shout Factory TV), stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, fuboTV, Showtime & 3 others), stream on a popular TV everywhere service (Showtime) & rent or buy from $2.85 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & Prime Video).

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2. Rocco and His Brothers

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.3/10
Reelgood Logo
85/100
Released: 1960
Crime, Drama

What it's about: When a widow’s family moves to the big city, two of her sons become romantic rivals, with deadly results.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & Vudu).

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3. Personal Best

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.3/10
Reelgood Logo
56/100
Released: 1982Rated: R
LGBTQ, Drama

What it's about: Chris Cahill is a young athlete who competes unsuccessfully in the 1976 U.S. Olympic trials. She meets a more experienced lesbian track and field competitor, Tory Skinner, and their friendship evolves into a romantic relationship.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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4. Rocky VI

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.8/10
Reelgood Logo
50/100
Released: 1986
Comedy

What it's about: Not to be confused with any of the sequels to Sylvester Stallone's classic Oscar-winning Rocky, this short film from Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki is actually meant as a parody of the late Cold War-era Rocky IV, which saw Stallone's character taking on a juiced-up Russian fighter played by Dolph Lundgren. In this 1986 send-up, Rock'y, played by Silu Seppala, goes head to head with Soviet Igor (Sakari Kuosmanen) and loses.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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5. The Set-Up

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
62/100
Released: 1949
Drama

What it's about: Stoker Thompson is a 35-year-old has-been boxer. His once-promising fighting career has come crashing to the end. Tiny, Stoker's manager, is sure he will continue to lose fights, so he takes money for a "dive" from a mobster, but is so sure that Thompson will lose that he doesn't tell the boxer about the set-up. At the beginning of the last round of the vicious boxing match he learns of the fix.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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6. Tokyo Olympiad

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1965
Sport, Documentary

What it's about: This impressionistic portrait of the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics pays as much attention to the crowds and workers as it does to the actual competitive events. Highlights include an epic pole-vaulting match between West Germany and America, and the final marathon race through Tokyo's streets. Two athletes are highlighted: Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, who receives his second gold medal, and runner Ahamed Isa from Chad, representing a country younger than he is.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Google Play).

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7. The White Stadium

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
49/100
Released: 1928
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary about the 1928 St. Moritz Olympics.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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8. The Men

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
58/100
Released: 1950
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Lt. Bud Wilozek is one of a group of veterans recovering in the paraplegic ward of a hospital in his hometown. His former fiancée, Ellen, explains to his physician, Dr. Brock, her concern about his isolation and apparent depression. The doctor cajoles the withdrawn paraplegic into the life of the ward, where fellow patients begin to pull Bud out of his spiritual miasma. At length, his sense of hope starts to return, and after seeing Ellen for the first time in months, he begins to contemplate the possibility of marriage.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Vudu).

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9. This Sporting Life

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1963
Sport, Drama

What it's about: In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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10. Thirst

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
55/100
Released: 1949
LGBTQ, Drama

What it's about: A needy couple in a bad marriage travel back to Stockholm after a trip to Italy. Meanwhile, a widow resists seductions from two different persons - her psychiatrist and a lesbian friend.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Vudu).

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11. First

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.9/10
Reelgood Logo
45/100
Released: 2012
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: The Official Film of the XXXth Olympic Games to be held in London, following the stories of twelve first-time Olympians from around the world.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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12. Dragon Inn

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
76/100
Released: 1967
Drama, Action & Adventure

What it's about: After having the emperor’s minister of defense executed, a power-grabbing eunuch sends assassins to trail the victim’s children to a remote point on the northern Chinese border. But that bloodthirsty mission is confounded by a mysterious group of fighters who arrive on the scene, intent on delivering justice and defending the innocent.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Google Play).

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13. Cousin, Cousine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.7/10
Reelgood Logo
69/100
Released: 1975Rated: R
Romance, Comedy

What it's about: Two distant cousins meet at a wedding banquet for an elderly couple. Over time, a close friendship develops between them, but their spouses begin to think that they are more than just friends.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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14. 16 Days of Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.7/10
Reelgood Logo
48/100
Released: 1986Rated: G
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: The definitive photographic record of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, told "from the inside" through the lives of the participants, the words of David Perry, and the singing voice of Placido Domingo. From the opening to closing ceremonies, this unique style of storytelling shows a side of the Olympic Games not seen by television audiences.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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15. Visions of Eight

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
50/100
Released: 1973Rated: G
Sport, Documentary

What it's about: Eight acclaimed filmmakers bring their unique and differing perspectives to the 1972 Summer Olympic Games held in Munich. The segments include Lelouch's take on Olympic losers and their struggle to remain dignified even in the face of bitter disappointment and defeat; Zetterling's dramatic exploration of the world of weightlifting; and Pfleghar's piece on young Russian gymnast Ludmilla Tourischev's majestic performance on the uneven bars.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & YouTube).

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16. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
54/100
Released: 1976Rated: PG
Sport, Comedy

What it's about: Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930s.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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kanopy

17. Cowards Bend the Knee

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
53/100
Released: 2003
Romance, Drama

What it's about: When he takes his girlfriend to a seedy abortion clinic in the back room of a combination hair salon / bordello, Guy Maddin meets the madam’s daughter and falls in love. But she won’t let any man touch her until her father’s murder has been avenged.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel, Fandor & Kanopy).

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18. Canoa: A Shameful Memory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
56/100
Released: 1976
Crime, Action & Adventure

What it's about: A group of students arrives in a small town during a hiking expedition. Once there, the local priest accuses them of being communist agitators on the run from an army crack-down against student demonstrations in nearby Mexico City and rallies the townsfolk to lynch them. Based on true facts occurred in the town of Canoa in 1968.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.70 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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kanopy

19. The Rink

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
57/100
Released: 1916Rated: G
Family, Comedy

What it's about: After amusements working in a restaurant, Charlie uses his lunch break to go roller skating.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy).

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hoopla

20. Fearless Hyena

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.7/10
Reelgood Logo
57/100
Released: 1979Rated: R
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: Lung is a talented fighter but prefers to spend his time loafing around and picking fights, despite orders from his grandfather not to fight. Unknown to him, a brutal general has been slaughtering all the people from his grandfather’s clan. When the general recognizes Lung’s style of kung fu during one of his street fights, he hunts down Lung’s grandfather and kills him.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Hoopla) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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21. WR: Mysteries of the Organism

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
56/100
Released: 1971
Drama, Comedy

What it's about: What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dušan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal documentary-fiction collision WR: Mysteries of the Organism begins as an investigation into the life and work of controversial psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and then explodes into a free-form narrative of a beautiful young Slavic girl’s sexual liberation.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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22. Seoul 1988

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
44/100
Released: 1989
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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23. Summer Interlude

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
58/100
Released: 1951
Romance, Drama

What it's about: A jaded prima ballerina reminisces about her first love affair after she is unexpectedly sent her lover's old diary.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (Google Play & Vudu).

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24. The Strange Ones

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
48/100
Released: 2011Rated: R
Drama, Mystery

What it's about: A man and a boy, traveling to an unknown destination, find respite in a motel swimming pool. On the surface all seems normal, but nothing is what it seems to be. Short film not to be confused with the 2017 feature film with the same name.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Vudu).

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25. IX Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1964

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1964
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary on the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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26. The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 2017
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: Newly restored and assembled by the International Olympic Committee - the earliest comprehensive moving-image record of the modern Olympic Games that survives today.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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27. The VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo 1952

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.0/10
Reelgood Logo
40/100
Released: 1952
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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28. The Games of the VIII. Olympiad Paris 1924

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1925
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary on the 1924 Olympic Game in Paris.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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hiya

29. Spiritual Kung Fu

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.8/10
Reelgood Logo
47/100
Released: 1978Rated: PG
Comedy, Action & Adventure

What it's about: Jackie Chan plays the part of the class clown in a shaolin temple whose deadliest secret is stolen. All is lost until Jackie's character discovers dancing blue ghosts with bright red hair who haunt the library.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Hiyah).

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30. Androcles and the Lion

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.1/10
Reelgood Logo
51/100
Released: 1952
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: George Bernard Shaw’s breezy, delightful dramatization of this classic fable—about a Christian slave who pulls a thorn from a lion’s paw and is spared from death in the Colosseum as a result of his kind act—was written as a meditation on modern Christian values. Pascal’s final Shaw production is played broadly, with comic character actor Alan Young as the titular naïf. He’s ably supported by Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Robert Newton, and Elsa Lanchester.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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31. The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.6/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1924
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary on the Olympic games of ancient Greece, made during the 1924 games.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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32. Sanshiro Sugata Part Two

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.0/10
Reelgood Logo
45/100
Released: 1945
Drama, Action & Adventure

What it's about: In this government-suggested sequel, Sugata again grows as a judo master, and demonstrates his (and by extension, all Japanese) superiority to the foreign warrior.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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33. Bud Greenspan Presents Vancouver 2010: Stories of Olympic Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.3/10
Reelgood Logo
38/100
Released: 2011Rated: G
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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34. Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
40/100
Released: 2003
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: Award-winning sports chronicler Bud Greenspan delivers a powerful and emotional look at six individual stories in the official film of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Greenspan goes beyond highlight footage to tell the story of how these athletes overcome incredible obstacles to achieve Olympic glory.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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35. The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.2/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1928
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary on the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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36. The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
40/100
Released: 1924
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the Olympic Games at Chamonix in 1924.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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37. White Vertigo

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 1956
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 1956 Olympic Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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38. The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.0/10
Reelgood Logo
38/100
Released: 1928
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary on the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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39. Sapporo Winter Olympics

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1972
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary about the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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40. Olympic Games 1956

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.9/10
Reelgood Logo
37/100
Released: 1956
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne and Stockholm.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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41. Forza Bastia

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.1/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1978
Animation, Documentary

What it's about: "Forza Bastia" is a 26-minute film documenting a UEFA Cup match between PSV Eindhoven and French club SC Bastia at the Furiani Stadium in 1978. Jacques Tati directed the piece at the request of friend Gilberto Trigano – the President of the Bastia club at that time. It was subsequently shelved and kept in storage until Tati's daughter Sophie Tatischeff eventually assembled the footage for release in 2002.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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42. Bud Greenspan’s Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
36/100
Released: 2007
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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43. O Sport, You Are Peace!

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1980
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A 1981 documentary film directed by Yuri Ozerov. It showed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow. The director was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1982. The film was selected as the Soviet entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 54th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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44. The Olympics in Mexico

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1969Rated: G
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: Documentary about the XIX Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Google Play).

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45. XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
41/100
Released: 1948
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and London, England.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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46. Bud Greenspan’s Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
36/100
Released: 2005
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A documentary covering the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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47. 13 Days in France

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1968
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: This colorful documentary chronicles the events of the 1968 Winter Olympics in France. The events made international celebrities of skater Peggy Fleming and skier Jean-Claude Killy for their gold-medal performances. The camera accurately catches the speed of bobsleds and downhill racers and ski jumpers as they race for the gold. President Charles DeGaulle is shown observing the action over 13 days, which saw France earn the best performance to date in the winter games.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Google Play).

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48. Where the World Meets

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
37/100
Released: 1952
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A first part of a documentary on the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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49. The Grand Olympics

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.9/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1961
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: Events and athletes that characterized the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. From the absolute protagonist Wilma Rudolph, called the black gazelle, to Livio Berruti, the first white to win the 200 meters, to the deeds of Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, who won the marathon racing barefoot.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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50. Gold and Glory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.2/10
Reelgood Logo
36/100
Released: 1953
Documentary, Sport

What it's about: A second part of a documentary covering the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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