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The release this month of controversial documentary Tyson and Michael Sheen football drama The Damned Utd reminded us just how unreliable the sports movie can be. So here, in no particular order, are some gold medal contenders and some first round exits

but one of his legendary fights (between 1942 and 1951) to Sugar Ray Robinson.

Raging Bull is a film about boxing made by someone who knows or cares nothing about the

i Arguably the greatest of all U sporting movies is Martin Scorsese’s rise and fall biopic of the Bronx Bull; the white Italian boxer Jake La Motta, who lost all


22 THE LIST 19 Mar—2 Apr 2009

sport. Scorsese immerses the viewer in La Motta's neighbourhood gang life. La Motta is a brute both in and out of the ring - his shaky marriages and trigger violent outbursts are testimony to that - but to the men of Scorsese's generation he was an icon, and a homoerotic one at that. The film is the perfect fusion of blood and grace and its centre is the barbaric saint himself played by Robert De Niro - an Italian American degenerate bound for Oscar glory long before the Academy were willing to open their arms to Scorsese.

TH'F. HUSTLER (I961) Small : time pool shark ”Fast Eddie'

A. ‘j Felson (Paul Newman) sets out to beat Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleesonl. no matter how high the personal price. The real American pastimes of greed and venality go centre stage in this seminal adaptation of Walter Tews‘ 1959 novel by recently McCarthy blacklisted and diSillUSioned filmmaker Robert Rossen.

. no WEDNESDAY (1978)

3* Surfing and draft dodging are the order of any day in

Malibu in John Milius’ exceptionally fine 1978 coming of age epic. Jan-Michael Wncent, William Katt and Gary Busey star. The best film about surfing ever made.

THIS SPORTING LIFE H (1963) It's grim up north. _j especially if you play rugby league. Richard Harris is tremendous

as coal miner turned aggressive loose/look forward in Free Cinema acolyte Lindsay Anderson's sensational 1968 feature delitit.

Anderson spent most of the production trying to have sex With Harris and it shows ._ the man looks every inch the ingentie film star.

l j THE WRESTLER (2008) 5 Mickey Rourke’s turn as lonely, has been wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson in this touching Darren Aronofsky drama won him an Oscar nomination. Neon lycra and 803 rock add a scuzzy charm to the violent world

of no-holds-barred fighting.

f THE MIRACLE OF BERN 6‘ (2003) Kes meets Life is Beautiful in the commentan/ box in post—war Germany for a pOignant tale of triumph over adversity

as minor league minnows race for the championship title.

_ " oocrow~ AND Z-BOYS ,’ ,' (2001) Likeagrimy ' episode of the OC directed

by Larry Clark. There have been cooler, more action packed films