Whether chronicling an athlete's rise, fall, and redemption or following a team's improbable triumph on the field, sports have been a favorite theme of filmmakers almost since movies were first produced. And whether focusing on soccer (Bend It Like Beckham), boxing (Rocky and its sequels), hockey (Slap Shot), baseball (Bull Durham), football (The Longest Yard), basketball (Hoosiers), cycling (Breaking Away), or tennis (Wimbledon), such films capture the competition and thrill of sport. All major films with a primary focus on athletic endeavor are contained in Encyclopedia of Sports Films. In this volume, more than 200 fictional feature-length movies released between 1925 and 2010 are described, including comedies, dramas, and biopics. While the focus is on Hollywood productions, independent films and foreign releases are also represented. Though boxing and baseball films have tended to dominate the genre, many other sports are also included here, including skiing, curling, and cricket.
Arranged alphabetically by title, each main entry contains a synopsis of the film, principal production information, and a critical analysis. In addition to the main entries, credits and brief descriptions for more than 200 films are also provided. DVD and VHS distributors are included, if available. Appendixes include made-for-television movies, documentaries, and films based on or inspired by true events and persons. For teachers who wish to incorporate films into their lesson plans, as well as librarians ordering titles for their patrons, Encyclopedia of Sports Films will be a valuable resource.
K Edgington —
K Edgington is associate professor at Towson University.
Thomas L Erskine —
Thomas Erskine and James M. Welsh (Salisbury, MD) are cofounders of Literature/Film Quarterly.
Edgington, K. Encyclopedia of sports films, by K. Edgington and Thomas L. Erskine with James M. Welsh. Scarecrow, 2011. 551p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780810876521; ISBN 9780810876538 e-book. Reviewed in 2011aug CHOICE.
Teachers use sports films in the classroom as an instructional tool, and scholars generally agree that depictions of sports in film can serve to reinforce cultural values in powerful ways. This encyclopedia by Edgington (Towson Univ., Baltimore) and Erskine and Welsh (cofounders, Literature/Film Quarterly) covers all major films with a primary focus on athletic endeavor. It describes more than 200 fictional feature-length movies released between 1925 and 2010, including comedies, dramas, and biopics. Though it features primarily Hollywood productions, it includes independent films and foreign releases. The authors exclude documentaries, films not readily available in VHS/DVD format at the time of publication, and made-for-television movies, except for a few exceptional titles. Despite the dominance of boxing, football, basketball, and baseball films in the genre, this volume discusses many other sports, including auto racing, skiing, and soccer. Arranged alphabetically by title, each main entry presents a synopsis of the film, principal production information, and a critical analysis. Entries for minor films have one-sentence synopses. The authors, who clearly are film aficionados, offer very well-written synopses that provide insights beyond the superficial.
Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries; lower-division undergraduates and above, and general readers. -- L. Kong, California State University, San Bernardino