Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In – How We Made ItMay 25 | 5 min read
The best sport films and documentaries on BT Sport, Netflix and Prime Video
From Diego Maradona to The Last Dance, we round up the best shows to stream.
The Last Dance on Netflix became one of the most-talked about TV series of 2020 and increased our thirst for more documentaries that lift the lid on the world of sport.
Whether it's series like Amazon's All or Nothing, which take us behind the scenes with incredible access to sport teams, or films shining a light on unbelievable true stories like Rocky and Wrighty and Stop the Tour, sport documentaries are very much in demand.
BT Sport, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are stuffed with TV series, films and documentaries that show a side of your favourite sports you’ve never seen before.
From beautiful films about legends of football to behind-the-scenes footage of the fiercest contest in cricket and an intimate look at life in the F1 fast lane, there is something every sports fan will love.
Here are our tips for the best sport documentaries to stream and watch now...
BT Sport Films
An acclaimed documentary from BT Sport Films which celebrates one of English football’s greatest ever goalscorers, Jimmy Greaves.
Greavsie is a rags-to-riches story filled with pain and glory. The documentary offers incredible footage as well as an insight into a legend of the game whose records are comparable to modern stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Greaves' career post-retirement as a broadcaster and his battles off the pitch are almost as well-known as his achievements on it, but Greavsie celebrates the real man and his incredible life.
Stop the Tour
Showing the powerful impact sport can have on politics, this film about the Stop the Tour protests and anti-apartheid movement comes 50 years after the Springbok rugby tour of Britain and Ireland in the winter of 1969/70.
The controversy surrounding the rugby tour followed hot of the heels of cricket's Basil d'Oliveira affair, when South African authorities objected to England selecting a mixed-race player, leading to the cancellation of England's tour to the country.
The protests that took place around the rugby tour games eventually lead to an international boycott of South African sport which lasted for more than two decades.
Rocky and Wrighty: From Brockley to the Big Time
Anyone who listened to Ian Wright’s recent appearance on Desert Island Discs will understand the significance of David Rocastle in his life and this BT Sport Film perfectly captures the unique story and relationship between two of Arsenal’s most revered players.
Exploring Rocky and Wrighty’s journeys from South London’s Honor Oak Estate to glory with Arsenal and the England national team, this is the tale of how one young prodigy inspired a late bloomer to new heights, before the tragic early death of Rocastle, aged only 33, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Pelé tells the story of the greatest footballer to have ever played the beautiful game.
Tracing the Brazilian’s unique journey from 16-year-old prodigy to becoming the only player to ever win three World Cups, Pelé is more than just a documentary portrait of sporting greatness. It’s also the story of Brazil in the 1960s, as the country went from basking in Pelé’s global fame to experiencing a period of political turmoil and dictatorship.
Featuring unique archive footage, Pelé also incorporates interviews with those closest to the man himself. Team-mates like Jairzinho, Dorval and Pepe; relatives including his sister and uncle; and friends like musician Gilberto Gil and journalist Juca Kfouri. Most importantly, it features a candid interview with Pelé himself as he reflects on his life, his country and the sport that made him a star.
Rising Phoenix tells the extraordinary story of the Paralympic Games. From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential.
Athletes featured in the film include Bebe Vio (Italy), Ellie Cole (Australia), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (France), Matt Stutzman (USA), Jonnie Peacock (UK), Cui Zhe (China), Ryley Batt (Australia), Ntando Mahlangu (South Africa) and Tatyana McFadden (US).
Athlete A follows a team of reporters from The Indianapolis Star as they investigate claims of abuse at USA Gymnastics, one of the nation’s most prominent Olympic organizations. Two years later, an Olympic doctor is behind bars, the US Congress is demanding answers and hundreds of survivors are speaking out.
Equal parts devastating and inspiring, the film reveals the culture of cruelty that was allowed to thrive within elite-level gymnastics, the attorney fighting the institutions, and most importantly, the brave athletes who refuse to be silenced, fought the system and triumphed.
Maradona in Mexico
This seven-part documentary series follows soccer legend Diego Maradona as he takes on his most unlikely footballing challenge yet - as manager of Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa.
The team, based in Culiacán - a gang-ravaged city home to Mexico's most dominant drug cartel - are bottom of the second division when the Argentinian World Cup winner arrives, and the series follows their progress as his unorthodox coaching methods have an immediate effect on the awe-struck playing staff and adoring fans.
The Last Dance
It is being talked about by many who have viewed it as the greatest sports documentary of all time. Displacing Tiger King as the TV series with the most buzz in lockdown, The Last Dance has converted even us Brits into a nation of basketball obsessives.
The central thread of The Last Dance is Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls quest to win a sixth NBA title in 8 years. But The Last Dance is so much more than a basic retelling of a season. Exploring the characters, tensions and astonishing ambition and drive of Jordan, the film captures one of the greatest sports players of all time, when he was in full flight and in reflective mood over 20 years later.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball
This 2014 documentary about a minor league baseball team in Portland Oregon is a true hidden gem in the Netflix back catalogue.
The Portland Mavericks are now defunct, but their past is the stuff of sporting legend.
A classic underdog story, the film follows the team's exploits between 1973 and 1977. Even if you don’t have a clue about baseball this is raucous, uplifting and inspiring.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die
A must-watch docuseries which captured the highs and heartaches of being a football fan and shone a light on the connection between football clubs and communities better than any TV series had done before.
Following the residents, owners, managers and players at Sunderland AFC, the documentary was perfectly timed to chronicle the tumultuous 2017/18 season for the club, which ended in their relegation from the Championship.
Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix and season 2 arrives on Wednesday, April 1. The second series focuses on new owner Stewart Donald and Executive Director Charlie Methven as they attempt to save the club from financial ruin and haul Sunderland out of the third tier of the English league.
The passion, aspiration and pain of the 2018/19 season are going to make this unmissable. But if you’re a fan of the Black Cats, you might want to hide behind the sofa.
The Short Game
A documentary film about the competitors in the US Kids Golf World Championship, The Short Game lifts the lid on youth golf and exposes both the cute and scary sides of the junior game.
Favourably compared to the classic 2002 spelling bee film Spellbound, this film is a hole-in-one whether you’re a golf fan or just curious about the dedication involved in youth sports and the efforts of over-zealous parents.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive
Drive to Survive is a gripping, high-octane series which is the first documentary to give exclusive and intimate access to the greatest motor racing competition in the world.
From the makers of the documentaries Senna and Amy, this series digs into the true story of F1 - not only the fight to be number-one, but the battle for the heart, soul, and direction of this multi-billion-dollar business.
Going behind the scenes with the drivers, team principals and owners to gain a unique and raw perspective on their lives both on and off the track, you will see a new side to the tension and glamour of the sport.
Drive to Survive returns for season 3 on Netflix on March 19th.
Amazon Prime Video
This brilliant documentary explores the supremely talented footballer’s life – and in particular his time at Napoli, where he led the Italian club to two titles in 1987 and 1990.
As well as his exploits on the pitch, the film shares a fascinating insight into his relationship with the region’s organised crime underworld and his growing addiction to cocaine.
The film is directed by Asif Kapadia, who also made biographical documentaries on Formula One driver Ayrton Senna and singer Amy Winehouse.
The Three Kings
The incredible story of how three men - Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein - born within 30 miles of each other south of Glasgow grew up to become lifelong friends and three of the most influential men in British football history.
The film follows the fortunes of the three as they leave their mining villages to find fame as footballers and later as highly successful managers of the 1960s: Stein and Busby (above) lifted the European Cup in successive seasons with Celtic and Manchester United respectively, while Shankly laid the foundations for Liverpool's domination of the 70s and 80s.
Directed by Jonny Owen (I Believe in Miracles, Don't Take Me Home), the film combines archive footage with interviews with those who knew the three very different men, including another legend of the dugout, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Fernando Torres: The Last Symbol
Opening up his heart to the cameras, this documentary travels through the life of Fernando Torres, one of the stars of Spanish football’s ‘golden age’, who retired in June 2019.
Exploring some of the most iconic places in Torres’ life including Japan, Liverpool, London and Madrid, and featuring some of the most important people from Torres’ career including his locker room colleagues, international football icons and coaches, the series is revealing, candid and emotional.
"This is the story of my life. So short but yet so lengthy,” said Torres of the programme.
“This documentary is a journey through more than 20 years of my life and I hope the watching audience will get to know me better by watching it. It includes my good and not so good moments, unveiling some of my best-kept secrets and showing the real-life evolution of a dream come true.”
Fernando is a unique portrayal of Formula 1 World Champion, and one of Spain’s most successful and popular sport stars, Fernando Alonso.
Examining his life on and off the racing circuit as he encounters both highs and lows, the series was filmed during the months leading up to his first outing at Rally Dakar in South America.
The unprecedented series showcases Alonso’s passion for competing at the highest level and his utter determination to win.
The programme documents his first full year out of Formula 1, but certainly doesn't lack thrills and spills as he swaps the F1 circuit to take part in motor sport's most famous races including the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Fernando gives viewers unprecedented access to the Formula 1 world champion and his inner circle, his manager Luis García Abad, his sister, Lorena Alonso, his partner, Linda Morelli and his colleagues Marc Gené and Carlos Sainz.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur
Following on from Manchester City, Sunderland and Leeds, Tottenham Hotspur became the latest British football team to let a TV crew inside the dressing room and behind the scenes at the football club.
Amazon Prime Video’s All or Nothing franchise, which began in America with American Football team the Arizona Cardinals, has also previously covered the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Rams, the New Zealand rugby team and the Brazilian national football team.
Securing unprecedented access to the Spurs dressing room, star players Harry Kane and Dele Alli and manager José Mourinho, the series is surprising and fascinating, regardless of your interest in football.
Prime Video has also confirmed All or Nothing will return in 2021 with a series about Italian giants Juventus.
This series, which follows the Australian cricket team as they tried to turn around their reputation and fortunes following the ball-tampering scandal, is gripping, emotional and - even for England cricket fans who will have to endure seeing the Aussies lift the Ashes - unmissable.
For any sports fan, the peek behind the curtain and footage from the dressing room is incredible as coach Justin Langer attempts to rebuild the side from the ground up, forging a team who have to battle self-doubt, merciless opposition fans and relentless barbs from rivals on the pitch.
The final episodes, which cover the Ashes battle in England and Steve Smith’s showdown with the lethal pace of Jofra Archer, are as tense and gripping as any big-screen thriller.
This is Football
This Is Football is an epic event series, which explores the true spirit of the beautiful game and examines the magic of a sport that unites people all over the world.
Universal themes of the human experience are covered as the films deal with topics as diverse as football’s role in rebuilding Rwanda after the genocide, the secrets of Lionel Messi and the pride and underdog spirit of Iceland’s football Vikings.
Filmed across the globe from Iceland to Argentina, Spain to Rwanda, and China to the United States, and including a glittering cast of characters from legendary players to presidents, poets to priests, managers to mathematicians, This is Football is a must-watch for every soccer fan.
Andy Murray: Resurfacing
Unlike previous documentaries and TV interviews with Murray, which focused on his rivalry with three of the all-time greats in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, Andy Murray Resurfacing will explore the toughest and darkest years of the Scotsman's career.
This isn't a simple comeback story, it's a human story about a man unwilling to accept defeat.
Andy Murray has often shunned the spotlight, choosing privacy over stardom and allowing his tennis to be the centre of attention, rather than his family.
For the first time, this series will scratch under the surface of the character who has always dug deep in his career but who is now facing his toughest and roughest challenge yet.
"The film will take you on a journey through what were some of the lowest, most difficult periods of my life both physically and mentally, and will hopefully show and inspire viewers, that with the right mindset and work ethic, anything is possible," said Murray.