Thursday, December 1, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks-Combat Sports


This is an interesting challenge this week because I am so far removed from this..namely, sports and combat. Actually, I watch a lot more combat movies and documentaries than I would ever watch sports. That being said, I realized I have seen quite a few films that meet this theme. Wandering Through The Shelves chose another great theme this week so let’s get on with the show.


I really love this movie and first saw it when I was a kid and found it hilarious. This is the best version although Adam Sandler’s film is not bad, just not as good as this original that stars Burt Reynolds as a disgraced football quarterback who winds up in a Southern prison run by a corrupt warden, played by Eddie Albert. The warden decides to pit the guards up against the prisoners and puts Reynolds in charge of developing a team. He does and uses many unique ways to give it to the guards which just made me howl. I love some of the character actors in this film like Richard Kiel (Jaws from the Bond films) which makes this film more gritty but without losing the fun. There are some sad moments in the film but that's what makes it even better and how can one not love those cheerleaders.

2. SLAPSHOT-1977

This is about hockey when bashing each others' face in and not wearing any helmets was the way it was. It stars Paul Newman ( who, I had read, said this was his favourite film) as an over the hill player who loves to drink and play. He rolls his eyes when these 3 young dumbf%$×s are brought on board to play until he sees how they play which is using elbows, fists, body crushes win the game. It's hilarious and, you don't see blood spurting all over like some Godfather movie, but just fights etc all with a twinkle in their eye. I love Strother Martin as the manager of this team and how can one not love Paul Newman in 70s garb. My brother still needs to do a write up on my blog about this movie.


Seriously, you can't get more combat sports than this. We all know how the Romans just loved watching gladiators slay each other for sport or be pitted against animals. I bet you any money that it would still make big business today. In this excellent movie, Russell Crowe is a general who leads the Roman army to victory against the Barbarians with Richard Harris, the King, calling him the son he wished he had. Evil Joquin Phoenix hears his daddy say this  offs his dad and has Crowe arrested and be put to death. He underestimates Crowe who survives and tries to make it home before the Roman's only to be too late. His wife and son dead, he is knocked out and brought to Oliver Reed ( his final role, who died before his scenes were completed) to be a slave who must become a gladiator and combat others in irder to stay alive. Crowe becomes valued and famous before coming to Rome and the coliseum. There he reunites with Joaquin and now who will truly win. This won several Oscars including best actor for Crowe. I love most of the movie except for the saccharine ending which makes me roll my eyes a bit but, overall, it's a great movie and one of my hubby's favourites. 

Which combat sports movies would you pick?


  1. You're right, I think Gladiator wins. There's also Rollerball - the original, not the remake.

  2. I didn't even consider Gladiator for this and now it feels like such an obvious choice. I never saw the original Longest Yard, but I remember liking the Sandler remake at the time. I don't think I've seen it since it's been in theaters.

  3. Hi Birgit!

    Super picks!

    I agree the original Longest Yard is the better of the two films but the Adam Sandler one isn't terrible.

    Slapshot has its moments but it has one of the things that take me right out of a movie, excessive swearing. I know that in the milieu the story is set in foul language would be common and I'd have no problem with that it's just so prevalent here it's distracting. I didn't hate the film but of Paul Newman's films it's one of the ones I feel the least pull to revisit.

    Love Gladiator! Fascinating story loaded with fantastic performances anchored by Russell Crowe's compelling and intense work in the lead.

    The very first thing that popped into my mind was the James Caan version of Rollerball. Not that I loved that film but it's all about the combat. Otherwise my mind turned to boxing and two older films with favorite actors-firstly John Garfield's Body & Soul and Errol Flynn's Gentleman Jim. Love both because they explore than just what happens in the arena. Actually that brings to mind another phenomenal noirish boxing drama, The Set-Up with Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter.

  4. The mention of boxing made me think of Rocky - repeated ad infinitum.

  5. Hi Birgit, I've only seen Gladiator, in fact lost count of the times I have, fab film, Kate x

  6. The Longest Yard was the ending of The Offer. That's what this made me think of. The making of The Godfather series on Paramount +, The Offer, ends with Ruddy (I think that's his name) finishing the one movie to go and start making The Longest Yard. A very different kind of movie.

  7. Gladiator is a great choice. Like Alex, Rollerball (original not the remake) was the first thing that came into my head. The next one that I thought of was Mad Max Under the Thunderdome. The combative sport in that one was kind of unique.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  8. The day I met Mary's parents for the first time, they had gone to the movies, and they saw "Slap Shot." I guess they really enjoyed it.

    How about the Mad Max movies with Thunderdome ("TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!")

  9. I haven't seen any of these. but I enjoyed reading what you wrote about all of them.

  10. The only time I had seen ice hockey as a kid was The Mighty Ducks kids movie series and some Olympics clips and I think during the Olympics the game was probably kept clean. Basically one is usually very unfamiliar with winter sports when one lives in the tropics, so I had no idea of how violent ice hockey got. That fighting was a large part of the game until I read some fiction book that had characters playing the sport.

  11. BIRGIT ~

    Hmmm.... When I think "Combat Sports", I'm automatically thinking about boxing, wrestling, and I guess MMA (if there are any atrocious movies about that atrocious sport out there somewhere.)

    I don't really think of football as a combat sport, even though it IS a sport and even though there ARE small combative interactions within the overall scope of a single play.

    In that case, technically, baseball could also be considered a combat sport. Ever seen a collision at home plate or second base? And in a sense, every pitcher versus batter conflict is combative. And how about when a pitcher decides to brush back or plunk a hitter?

    Anyway... if football counts, then the original 'THE LONGEST YARD' is a fantabulous choice. I love, Love, LOVE it! I own it, and my Brother and I quote from it on a regular basis:
    "Yeah. For me it was."
    "For the money."

    My #1 choice would be the original 'ROCKY' from 1976. That's easily one of my Top 25 favorite movies of all time. For decades it was even in my Top 10. Great, great story with great, great characters! The most heartwarming and inspiring sports movie I can think of. Obviously, I own it. (Every single one of the sequels is total garbage, and that bonehead, Stallone, NEVER should have dirtied the original movie by revisiting it with 364 sequels and prequels. What a dope! But then he just wasn't capable of doing anything other than Rocky material.)

    Another one that comes to mind is 'WIN WIN', a 2011 movie about a high school wrestler. I came into it expecting little to nothing, and its quality greatly surprised me. As a former varsity high school wrestler myself, I give it two thumbs up. (Yeah, I have TWO THUMBS, and I'm putting the both of 'em up!!)

    ~ D-FensDogG

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