As a major fan of sports movies for the longest time, I thought that I would have a permanent favorite sports movie: “Miracle on Ice.” “Miracle” was about the US Olympic hockey team during the Cold War. The US defeated the Soviet Union as the underdogs to win the gold medal and make a political statement. The movie had it all: a great coach, compelling players, and an outlook of the political issues going on at the time. In my mind, no other sports story could be better than “Miracle on Ice,” until this past summer when I watched “Remember the Titans.”
“Remember the Titans” is also a true story about a high school football team and their first year being an integrated team. For some context, prior to what the movie covers, the football team was all white. The movie showcases the hardships new African-American students had while playing on this football team in a southern town where racism is prominent. In the movie not only is the school integrated and the football team forced to allow African-American players to try out, but the All-Star white coach was fired and replaced by an African-American newcomer. The movie followed the trajectory of the whole team but specifically a few of the star players and their real life journeys.
Without giving too much of the movie away to those who haven’t watched it, I found this movie to be the most heartbreaking yet heartwarming film I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it’s just my tendency to love sports movies but I don’t think that there’s a person alive who wouldn’t benefit from some of the lessons that this movie promotes. Unfortunately, one of the most striking things about this movie is that some of the very same problems regarding racism and equality that are showcased in this movie, and still societal issues we have to this day. It’s a movie about sports, but it’s also a movie about American society.
In addition, “Remember the Titans” was produced by Disney, and so although it deals with intensely difficult issues, it does it in a tasteful and appropriate way. This makes the movie appealing because it allows you to watch it with pretty much anyone. And, everyone who watches it no matter the age can comprehend what is happening in the movie and can learn from it.
If you ask me what my favorite underdog movie is, it would be hard for me to not say “Miracle on Ice.” But, if you ask me what my favorite sports movie is, it is impossible for me not to say “Remember the Titans.”