As a runner, sometimes you look for a bit of a motivation to keep yourself running. And, whenever I feel so, I turn to either read some of my all-time favorite running books or watch a few amazing movies on running. But then, there are days when I watch these movies just to chill, relax and, to get entertained.
A good movie strikes a chord in your mind and instill emotions in the subconscious
The story of a protagonist facing challenges & then coming out victorious at the end always fills us with positivity and encourage us to do better. As runners, we can always relate ourselves to such situations and it also boosts us with the right motivation.
With this article, I will be discussing some of the best movies on running that have always motivated me to do better. Whenever I feel unenthusiastic or sluggish, I watch one of these movies to come out of the negativity. You can buy, rent, or stream these movies online.
1. Forrest Gump
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Sally Field
3 years 2 months, 14 days 16 hours!!! Yes, this was the time which the protagonist of the movie ran continuously (apart from some time for sleeping and eating). He ran so much because of a heartbreak that he suffered that his beloved will never come back.
Forrest ran so much to ease his pain of losing his beloved. I can relate to him very much as running often helps in alleviating us from a lot of other pains. This movie got 6 awards including the Best Picture, Actor & Director. Truly deserved!!
2. Saint Ralph
Director: Michael McGowan
Cast: Adam Butcher, Gordon Pinsent
Saint Ralph is the story about Ralph Walker, a school kid who proved everyone wrong in his daunting pursuit of trying to win the 1954 Boston Marathon.
Ralph discovers that he has got a talent of running. As a result, he decides to run the prestigious Boston Marathon. When people around him told him that it will be a miracle for him to win this event, he connects the dots and decides that by winning he can also affect his mother’s cure.
This is the type of movie that leaves us feeling encouraged and convinced that miracles do happen when we do things out of love.
3. Spirit of marathon (Documentary)
Director: Jon Dunham
The film takes us through the journey of six marathon runners experience while training and competing in the 2005 Chicago Marathon.
The film score beautifully blends the emotion, pain & thrill of the marathon.
One of the critic comment was that even if you’ve never run for anything but a bus, you’ll likely get swept up in this movie’s inspiring journey of physical endurance and personal achievement.
When I watched this documentary, I felt as if I was running the marathon myself. This movie is a treat for a marathon lover.
Director: Angelina Jolie
Cast: Jack O’ Connell, Domhnall Gleeson
Another gem of a movie where the protagonist Louie Zamperini turns his life around by focusing his energy into running with the help of his elder brother. He later qualifies for the 1936 Olympics.
The movie shows that the fighting spirit that one gets from running, remains with him/her throughout life. Louie’s running experience helped him survive 47 days in the Pacific when his plane crashed during World War II. It also helped him remain strong when he was captured by the Japanese army & put up in a PoW camp.
A true runner hangs back & makes his move when everyone else has reached the point of exhaustion. This film tells us exactly that.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Cast: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis
Who among the runners’ world would not know the name of Jesse Ownes? Jesse Owens was an American track and field athlete who won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
For any runner, a race is about courage, tolerance, determination & this movie wonderfully portrays these emotions. It also shows how Jesse’s coach helped him realize his true potential and achieve the feet.
It is an inspiring drama about Jesse’s fight to become an Olympic legend.
6. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Director: Rakeysh Mehra
Cast: Farhan Akhtar
This is the true story of “Flying Sikh” – Olympian and world champion runner Milkha Singh. This film shows the struggle that Milkha Singh had to face in his early life with his family getting killed during the partition. This movie shows the journey of Milkha Singh from an orphaned child to the greatest athlete that India produced.
For me, what stands out in this movie is how the actor Farhan essayed the role of Milkha Singh. There are many videos available on YouTube on how Farhan prepped up for the role of Milkha Singh.
The other great thing about this movie is the sound album. I would recommend the song “Zinda hai toh” to everyone who is practicing running on a treadmill. A truly incredible movie.
7. Budhia Singh – Born To Run
Director: Soumendra Padhi
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Mayur Patole
Remember Budhia Singh, the youngest marathoner who was only three when he ran a marathon. Also, by the time he was 5 years old, he had already run 40+ marathons.
This movie shows the relationship between Budhia Singh & his coach Biranchi Das. Biranchi discovered the talent in Budhia Singh – the talent of unreal reserves of stamina that will go on to make him the youngest marathoner. The best part of the movie was the training scenes & the actual 70 km run.
There was a negative angle also given on the coach but despite that, I felt the movie was a big motivational film. It is really hard to believe a 3-4-year-old to run a marathon but it was indeed a true story & this movie made us believe that.
8. 100 Metros
Director: Marcel Barrena
Cast: Dani Rovira, Karra Elejalde
This was a movie I stumbled upon while browsing movies on Netflix. It is an amazing heart-warming story about a man named Ramon, fighting for his life. It is a story about a Spanish man who had multiple sclerosis. He was told that he could not make even 100 meters & yet he tried to finish an Iron-Man competition.
In the pursuit of this race, he was also helped by his father-in-law. I felt inspired by Ramon, he offers motivation, courage, and gives strength.
9. Chariots of Fire
Director: Hugh Hudson
Cast: Ben Cross, Ian Charelson
This is based on a true story of 2 sprinters. Harold Abraham & Eric Liddell from a very different school of thought came together as their lives intersect at the 1924 Paris Olympics. The two men were quite different from each other: one with a deep faith & the other just wants to win no matter what may come.
One of the best movies on running, the movie went on to bag 4 Oscars including Best Picture & Best Screenplay. I liked it the way the two gentlemen brings freshness and passion to their roles which is a treat to watch as an audience & runner as well.
10. The Long Run
Director: Jean Stewart
Cast: Armin Mueller-Stahi, Nthati Moshesh
This is a fictional movie about a failed track coach who spots an amateur runner and tries to turn her into a champion.
This movie gives a peek into the ultra-marathon experience and do watch it to get that experience. It can help train for such events even if someone has little or negligible running experience.
The soundtrack of this movie is brilliant, and I liked the work of the coach in this movie. He was simply superb and looked very real as a coach.
I remember my first marathon where I could not finish the race. Yes, it was a “Do Not Finish” and trust me I was going through a lot of emotions at that time. There, one of my fellow runner friends suggested me to just go and watch a few inspiring movies on running. Couple of them have made to this list too😊
These movies on running, not only that have pushed me to raise my limits but some of them have also left a lasting impression on me.
Thank You for reading it through. Movies are one of the great sources of entertainment. And along with entertainment, the movies on running are always coupled with inspiration and motivation.
So, next time when you feel a bit low or you want to pump yourself before your next big race or you just like to chill and relax post your run. Go get some popcorn and watch some of the best movies the sport has to offer.
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