Playlist: the best sports movies and documentaries on Netflix

You don't have to be a champion Olympics nerd to enjoy these podium-worthy flicks and docs...

It’s the bottom of the ninth, and the LA Lollipops have to hit a home run if they want to send the game into triple mega ultra time.

Okay, so some of our sports knowledge is lacking, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate all forms of athletic endeavours for what they are - a test of our physical and mental strength, and a way of showing the world what we’re truly made of.

Philosophy aside, it’s nice to get away from guns, explosions, and superhero one-liners every once in a while, so we've rounded up some of our favourite sports offerings on Netflix.

Do some stretches, vault onto your sofa, and enjoy:

Team Foxcatcher (2016)

If you’ve seen the Foxcatcher film starring Steve Carell, you might be surprised by how much it differs to this documentary of the same, sad events. For a start, Mark Schultz, played brilliantly by Channing Tatum in the Hollywood retelling, isn’t in this non-fiction acount at all because he wasn’t even at “the farm” at the same time as his brother, Dave.

If you’ve seen neither film, this is a story about an apparently benevolent benefactor who set out to enable the US wrestling team’s quest for dominance of the sport by housing and training the athletes in purpose built facilities on his grand, 200-acre estate. Only, this benevolent benefactor, John du Pont, turned out to be extremely strange and increasingly paranoid.

Told through touching interviews with ex-Foxcatcher wrestlers, archive footage of du Pont and charming home recordings from the time, the Team Foxcatcher documentary is an excellent, tragic companion to the also superb film.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

It might be over 20 years old, but Hoop Dreams remains the classic, sports documentary equivalent of The Wire.

Like the gritty crime drama, it throws a street-level spotlight on urban America, in this case through the lives of two 14-year-old NBA hopefuls from the Chicago ghetto. What follows over an absorbing three hours is a touching portrait of how society can stack the odds against sporting talent. 

Pumping Iron (1977)

This testosterone-fueled documentary covers the 100 sweaty, grunt-filled days leading up to the 1975 Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competitions.

The heated rivalry between five-time winner Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno is one of the sport's greatest feuds, and the insight we get into the contrasting gym-rats' psyches and what motivates them is almost enough to make you want to go out and start lifting heavy things. Then again, its much easier to carry on with your Netflix binge...

Valley Uprising (2014)

An all-American ascent of the country’s rock climbing history, centered around the iconic cliffs in Yosemite National Park – ‘El Capitan’ will be a name familiar to Mac fans. There’s no twist in Valley Uprising, no real surprise in learning that the Land of the Free is actually the Land of the Bureaucrats and that contemporary daredevils are in a constant struggle with park authorities to enjoy gnarly developments of climbing such as base jumping and wingsuit flying.

That said, the film-makers have done a great job plastering together historical footage with vertiginous HD shots and some memorable psychadelic animations – speaking of which, the soundtrack is excellent.