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Sprint into the cinematic universe of track and field, where every record-breaking moment and heart-pounding race leaps off the screen.

These stories capture the essence of human endurance and the spirit that fuels champions.

Are you set to race through the best track and field movies, shows, and documentaries that have stood the test of time?

Best Track and Field Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. Chariots of Fire (1981)
  2. Without Limits (1998)
  3. Prefontaine (1997)
  4. Race (2016)
  5. McFarland, USA (2015)
  6. Fire on the Track (1995) – Documentary
  7. Running Brave (1983)
  8. The Jericho Mile (1979)
  9. Personal Best (1982)
Track and Field

#1 Chariots of Fire (1981)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Hugh Hudson
  • 🌟 Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Holm

Chariots of Fire is a classic sports drama based on the true story of two British athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics.

The film explores themes of religious conviction, personal determination, and societal pressures as Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew, overcome personal and collective challenges. The iconic score by Vangelis remains one of the most memorable in film history.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

#2 Without Limits (1998)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Robert Towne
  • 🌟 Starring: Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland, Monica Potter

Without Limits is a biographical sports film focusing on the life of the legendary American runner Steve Prefontaine and his relationship with his coach Bill Bowerman, who later co-founded Nike, Inc.

The movie captures Prefontaine’s passion for running, his unique approach to the sport, and his tragic death at a young age. Donald Sutherland delivers a captivating performance as Bowerman, providing insight into the athlete-coach dynamic.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#3 Prefontaine (1997)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Steve James
  • 🌟 Starring: Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey, Ed O’Neill

Prefontaine tells the heartrending true story of Steve Prefontaine from a different perspective than “Without Limits”.

This biopic portrays Prefontaine’s rise as a celebrated runner, his charismatic yet brash personality, and his relentless pursuit of excellence. With an emotionally resonant performance by Jared Leto, the film delves into the complexities of Prefontaine’s life and the impact of his untimely passing.

Where to watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video

#4 Race (2016)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
  • 🌟 Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons

Race is a powerful and inspirational sports drama based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the African American track and field athlete who overcame racism at home and abroad to win four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

This film offers a poignant look at Owens’s athletic triumphs, as well as the political and social issues surrounding the historical event.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#5 McFarland, USA (2015)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Niki Caro
  • 🌟 Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor

McFarland, USA is an uplifting sports drama based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Latino high school in McFarland, California.

The film follows novice coach Jim White, played by Kevin Costner, as he leads a group of students with tremendous potential to overcome socioeconomic challenges and achieve athletic success. It’s a story about resilience, community, and the transformative power of sports.

Where to watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#6 Fire on the Track (1995) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Erich Lyttle
  • 🌟 Starring: Steve Prefontaine, Dana Carvey, Ken Kesey

Fire on the Track is a documentary chronicling the life of the iconic American middle and long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine.

The film includes footage of his races and interviews with his friends, family, competitors, and coaches. It provides insights into Prefontaine’s competitive spirit and his influence on the running world before his tragic death in a car accident at the age of 24.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#7 Running Brave (1983)

  • 🎬 Directed by: D.S. Everett
  • 🌟 Starring: Robby Benson, Pat Hingle, Claudia Cron

Running Brave tells the true story of Billy Mills, an American Sioux who overcame personal and cultural challenges to win the 10,000-meter run in a stunning upset at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The film showcases themes of perseverance, cultural identity, and the power of the human spirit through athletic achievement. Robby Benson delivers a stirring performance as Mills.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#8 The Jericho Mile (1979)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Michael Mann
  • 🌟 Starring: Peter Strauss, Brian Dennehy, Richard Lawson

The Jericho Mile is a drama film made for television that tells the story of Larry ‘Rain’ Murphy, a prisoner serving life in Folsom Prison who becomes a world-class runner.

It highlights the challenges he faces in seeking redemption and the opportunity to prove himself within the restrictive environment of the prison. This is an early work by the acclaimed director Michael Mann, known for its gritty realism and compelling narrative.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#9 Personal Best (1982)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Robert Towne
  • 🌟 Starring: Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, Patrice Donnelly

Personal Best is a sports drama that focuses on the life of a young track and field athlete as she trains for the Olympic Games.

The movie delves into the intense world of competitive sports as well as the personal dynamics between the athletes, including the protagonist’s relationship with a competitor and her coach. It touches on themes of ambition, physical limits, and personal identity.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

Track and Field

FAQ

What is the best Track and Field movie of all time?

“Chariots of Fire” (1981) is the best Track and Field movie of all time, featuring the inspiring true story of two British runners in the 1924 Olympics.

What are some good Track and Field movies?

“Prefontaine,” “Without Limits,” “Chariots of Fire,” and “Race” are good Track and Field movies, each chronicling the lives and athletic pursuits of legendary runners.

What Track and Field movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best Track and Field movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are “The Last Dance” (focusing on Michael Jordan’s career with a segment on his time in minor league baseball), “Icarus” (documenting the Russian doping scandal, including its track athletes), and “Personal Best” (though availability can vary by region).

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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