Best sports documentaries you can watch on Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar
Jun 24, 2021
The Last Dance
One of the best-produced documentaries in sports, ESPN did not spare any expense in producing a deeply emotional documentary about one of the greatest sports personalities to walk the earth, Michael Jordan. It contains several interviews from past and present, detailing the life of the basketball legend during the rise of the Chicago Bulls in the 90s. Unlike the many sports documentaries released about legendary athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Pele which have been successes in their own right, The Last Dance has set a very high benchmark for any sports documentary to come in future.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive
The adrenaline rush, fast cars, raw emotions, fierce rivalries and the cut-throat politics of Formula One - a perfect recipe for high-quality television. Netflix has attempted something truly unique and ambitious with this project. The end product is a never before seen ‘behind the scenes’ functioning of each Formula One team and the drivers of one of the most popular sports in the world. This episodic series is currently in its third season on Netflix as the show follows all the teams and drivers across the globe during the entire Formula One calendar.
The Test: A New Era for Australias Team
Arguably, the most successful and at times the most loathed cricket team on the planet is the Australian Cricket Team. Historic tournament wins, record-breaking series wins and scandals - they have seen it all. So it should come as no surprise that an in-depth documentary about this team is a must-watch. As an added bonus the Indian and the English cricket teams also feature heavily in this episodic documentary. The Test gives a different perspective to the famed Australian Cricket team.
Winning World Championships in Formula One is not the defining attribute that attains Formula One drivers a legendary status. It is in fact their personality and their uniqueness in character. It is one of the reasons why Lewis Hamilton, who is now the most decorated driver in the sport, has only a fraction of the cult following and legendary status enjoyed by the 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen. When drivers can win championships and are unique ‘characters’ in and out of the cockpit, they become the stuff of legends - Ayrton Senna was the epitome of one such driver. A three-time F1 World Champion with the personality to match it, the documentary about the Brazilian brilliantly chronicles his career until his tragic death at Imola, Italy in a high-speed crash whilst leading the race. He remains the last F1 driver to lose his life in a crash while racing.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur chief executive Daniel Levy is regarded as a shrewd operator. He has helped Spurs establish themselves as one of the heavyweights in English football, along with a sparkling new state-of-the-art stadium in North London. It is without the unlimited funds from foreign ownership like in the case of Manchester City and Chelsea. His greatest achievement might be selling the rights to a documentary for the 2019/20 season. It has everything from reaching the Champions League final after some stunning comeback wins and dramatic moments, en route to the final in 2019, to the sacking of their beloved manager Mauricio Pochettino and the arrival of the ‘Special One’ himself, Jose Mourinho, as the replacement.
Sunderland 'Til I Die
A famous old football club from the Tyne and Wear in the North East of England, whose fortunes have been far from favourable this past decade, with back to back relegations in 2017 and 2018. The story is not something that one would expect from a sports documentary about a professional sports team, as it shows them at their lowest. However, the documentary was an instant success as it highlights the tremendous passion the locals have for the club and their unwavering loyalty and solidarity through the darkest of times. It is an emotion-packed documentary that drew praise even from the local rivals from Newcastle.
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
At the Heart of Gold is a comprehensive documentary about the US Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal. This deeply disturbing yet moving documentary is about the story of Larry Nassar who sexually assaulted young female gymnasts for decades, most of whom were minors. It also chronicles the coverup by USA Gymnastics officials and the aftermath in which more than 200 gymnasts had come forward accusing Nassar - which included Olympic gold medallists Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.
Little did Bryan Fogel know that his relatively small-scale investigation into doping in sports would eventually unravel one of the biggest doping scandals in sporting history. Along with a Russian scientist, Grigory Rodchenkov, Fogel’s investigation lead to a state-sponsored doping program in Russia. The investigations and the coverups grip the audience from start to finish like an espionage Hollywood blockbuster film. In fact, there is every chance a production company from Hollywood will turn this into a movie.
Take Us Home: Leeds United
English football’s greatest fallen giant is arguably Leeds United. The team based in Yorkshire, northern England was part of the trio of English giants along with Manchester United and Liverpool, from northern England who was feared and respected throughout the country and the rest of Europe. The infamous and all-conquering Leeds United under Don Revie in the 70s are often regarded as the most notorious and hated team in England. It all came crashing down in 2004 when the club became bankrupt and entered administration, which eventually relegated to the lower leagues in the English football pyramid. The documentary follows Leeds United from the 2019/2020 season in their attempts to return to the very top of the pyramid and into the Premier League under their acclaimed manager Marcelo Bielsa.