Looking for the perfect extreme sports documentaries to watch this coming Friday night? If you’re like most of us and spend more time looking for something to watch, then actually watching (no judging here). We’ve made your search for entertainment just a little bit easier by compiling our top 8 films to watch (or re-watch). And as you might have guessed, extreme sports in cinema is the focus, and boy do we have some good ones for you!
With a trip back to the old-school ‘80s to modern day masterpieces, comedy, coming of age, thrillers, documentaries, and everything in between, you’ll be having an extreme sports movie marathon before you know it. So grab some popcorn and ready for a wild time!
Closer to the Edge (2011)
“Closer to the Edge” is a documentary that reveals the motivations and aspirations behind the motorcycle racers that complete in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Taking place annually since 1907, this race is considered the most dangerous in the world, and sometimes, even deadly. During the 2022 race, five raced died, bringing the total up to 265 deaths since 1907. There have been calls to have the race banned, but with the race generating 40% of the annual tourist revenue, it’s unlikely that it will be stopped. The film goes deep into the mindsets of the competitors, who know there is a chance they won’t make it out alive.
Considered to be the best extreme sports documentary ever made centering on the sport of mountain climbing, Everest is brimming with stunning visuals and a star-studded cast. With a cast including the likes of Robin Wright, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Emily Watson, it’s no surprise that this film was one of the most popular in 2015 and continues to be a fan favorite. It’s a story that takes you on a treacherous climb to the highest peak in the world, detailing the climbers successes and difficulties, life altering challenges and triumphs—something everyone can relate to. Wrapping courage, love, faith, pain, and fear into one heart-stopping film, “Everest” will leave a lasting mark on your mind with its deadly tale based on a true story.
An old school classic coming of age film, this BMX infused film brings together everything you love in an extreme sports documentary. The protagonist, Cru Jones, is both a high school student and a BMX racer, and when decided to whether to take his SATs or take the risk of fortune and fame in the Helltrack qualifying races…and you might be able to guess the choice he makes, but you’ll need to watch the movie in order to find out for yourself. There’s a surprising amount of twists and turns that make this a fun film for those interested in the sport and looking for an entertaining film.
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
When the Z-Boys became known for their rebellious spirit within the skateboarding work, it changed the game and outlook of the world of skateboarding. Since they had such an influence
Style on the sport, it’s not surprising that it was made into a documentary. Additionally, the group had been adapted into another film called the “Lords of Dogtown,” in 2005, but what makes this documentary so special is that it was directed by one of the Z-Boy’s own members. This helped give a unique perspective and insight into the group through the lens of one of their own, and a view of their world.
Touching the Void (2003)
One of the most amazing story’s of survival ever told, Touching the Void is the story of survival and loyalty. It’s no wonder that it was included in PBS’s list of the greatest documentaries ever made, and won a BAFTA for the best British film. Based on a true story and focusing on two men who summit a mountain in the Peruvian Andes, taking a route that had never been previously conquered. On their way down, however, their lives end up hanging by a string as they end up in a battle between life and death. When one of the climbers is forced to choose between his own life and cutting his friend loose, this films show just why it has captured the hearts of so many.
Free Solo (2018)
Easily the most well known film on our list is the Academy Award winner “Free Solo”. As you might be able to guess from the title, this sport featured in this film is free climbing, an extreme discipline of rock climbing. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, Alex Honnold is one of the craziest climbers out there, as this film conveys. The film follows Honnold as he attempts to climb El Capitan – a sheer Californian rock formation that’s over 3,000 feet tall, without—ropes or any type of assistance. It’s a film of strength (both mental and physical) and never, ever, failing to inspire.
Ayrton Senna is a Formula One Legend, and it’s only fit that his career and life story is immortalized in film. This highly-lauded film that focuses on his life and career is hailed as an inspirational and touching portrayal of a man regarded as one of the most talented F1 drivers of all time. Using a collection of footage and home videos supplied by the Senna family, the film offering a deeply personal look into the iconic legend in the driving world.
The Crash Reel (2013)
Shaun White is arguably the most pro famous snowboarder in the world—a five-time Olympian and a three-time Olympic gold medalist in half-pipe snowboarding. Additionally, he holds the world record for the most X Games and Olympic gold medals won by a snowboarder, and only recently retired at the Olympic Games in Beijing in February 2022. While he is surrounded by fame, there was little known about his fierce rivalry with then competitor Kevin Pearce. The Crash Reel travels through 20 years of sports footage, detailing both athlete’s lives, rivalry, and Pearce’s life-altering accident and comeback. While snowboarding is often seen as a fun-loving, free-spirited sport, this film details the other side not often seen or talked about.
That’s your line-up for our own extreme sports film festival, with a little something for everyone! Which one will you be streaming tonight?
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