So far we’ve covered the Best War Films (Non WWII), Best Westerns, Best WWII Films, Best Crime/Gangster Films and Best Sports Films. Next week is the last week of films before I get back to things I know more about and to round off I’ll be doing the Top 5 Best Films of All Time-if you’ve got any suggestions then wing them my way via twitter or e-mail: dan @ danmartiextreme.com.
This category actually turned out to be easier than I thought. I love sporting documentaries. They show the power of sport and how pushing yourself to the limit can reward you massively. To get a truly great sports doco you need three things: the event, the struggle and the footage. The event needs to be massive; it’s needs to be earth changing. There needs to be struggle-watching footage of Michael Jordan being much better than everyone else is entertaining but it’s not epic. There needs to be footage-this sounds daft but is the reason why there are hundreds of excellent phenomenal documentary style books and very, very few excellent documentaries.
Here’s my Top 5 in no particular order:
When We Were Kings
Undeniably the greatest boxing documentary of all time. The story is enough on it’s own but when you add the music and the expert analysis then this sets it apart and holds it up as the standard for all great sports documentaries to come.
Touching the Void
When I first saw this film I sat in silence for ten minutes afterwards stunned by what I’d seen. The story of an unconquered mountain, the accident, the survival, the do or die choices-just amazing. I completely agree with what Simon did-he was a hero for even trying to get Joe down. Does everyone else think that Richard comes across as a bit of a prat in this?
Solo: Lost At Sea
This is the story of Andrew McCauley’s attempt to kayak across the Tasman from Tasmania to New Zealand. It’s one of the most harrowing and emotional tales of adventure out there and whatever you think of the challenge it deserves it’s place as one of the top five all time sports documentaries.
Living with Lions
This in depth look behind the scenes of one of the great sporting contests in the world, The Lions Tour, is the greatest rugby documentary out there. It follows the whole squad from their first meet through to the test matches. They were the under dogs playing against the World Champions, the story is simple but the way this was filmed makes you feel like you’re in the changing room with them and every time I watch this it’s like watching it for the first time. The first minute and fifteen seconds sums it up perfectly.
This is what you get when you take genuinely insane people and offer a prize to whoever can surf the biggest wave in the world. Nuts.
Also considered were:
Running the Sahara, Hoop Dreams, DogTown and Z Boys, The Beckoning Silence, Big River Man, The Eiger: Wall of Death, Wildest Dream: the Conquest of Everest, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, Man on Wire, Pumping Iron, Ring of Fire: the Emile Griffith Story and Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me amongst others.