10 Movies For American Audiences About Sports That Aren’t Popular in America (Like ‘Rush’)

I’m sure that the story of famed Formula One car-racing man Rushmore “Rush” Rushingford is an interesting human drama packed with thrilling twists and turns, otherwise an A-list director couldn’t get a movie like Rush made. But still, it’s the sign of some Hollywood hubris to make a big-budget, widely-released movie for American audiences about a sport that most Americans aren’t familiar with, let alone follow or enjoy.

Here are 10 other A-level movies about B-level sports.

Side Out

C. Thomas.

C. Thomas Howell.

C. Thomas Howell plays beach volleyball, which tends to do well on American TV only when its being played in the Olympics by ladies in sports bras, and not for pretend by C. Thomas Howell.

Kicking and Screaming

Will Ferrell took a break of playing wacky characters to play a regular guy caught up in the no-stakes and dreary world of soccer.


Most Americans probably don’t know how important of a moment the 1995 Rugby World Cup was in the history of South Africa or the life of Nelson Madela, but then again most Americans thinks Nelson Mandela is the twin grandsons of Ozzie and Harriet.

By the Sword

It’s a movie about FENCING. With Eric Roberts! This exists!

Wild Child

A spoiled American teenager (Emma Roberts) is so lazy and selfish that she’s sent to an English boarding school, where she realizes her inexplicable talent for lacrosse, as one does, which requires the opposites of laziness and selfishness.

Oxford Blues

The only difference between Oxford Blues and St. Elmo’s Fire is that Oxford Blues is the one where Rob Lowe drives his sports car to England, gets into the most prestigious university in England, and joins the storied rowing team.

Balls of Fury

Okay, so table tennis is popular in America, even if we consider it a drinking game, not a sport.


Invented by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for this 1998 film, the sport is insanely popular in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.


In order to secure the country of Parmistan for an American satellite monitoring station, an operative named Jonathan Cabot (gymnast Kurt Thomas) must win the country’s unwinnable game gymkata, a combination of gymnastics and karate. This based-on-true-events movie depicts Cabot’s unlikely victory, helped along by Parmistan’s many naturally occurring pommel horses and parallel bars.

Cool Runnings

The Citizen Kane of Jamaican bobsled movies.

  • Rob

    I’d go with John Huston-directed “Victory” (with Michael Caine, Sly Stallone and Pele) over “Kicking and Screaming.” It truly was a fish out of water because it focuses on real soccer, as opposed to youth soccer, which is the top participatory sport in America.

    I’d also argue that “Breaking Away” should be on this list. Despite it being tied to an actual Bloomington, Indiana, event, it is about bicycle racing which is a spectator sport in Europe – but not so much in the United States.

  • Beau

    Agreed on Breaking Away. Also, soccer is pretty much the No. 3 or 4 sport in the country now. I like hockey, but you’re going to see a lot more Messi shirts than Crosby shirts in the younger generation.

    Lacrosse is a weird one. Who plays it in England? It’s basically a sport of U.S. prep schools. (Well, since it was taken over from the Native Americans who invented it.)