The 12 Best Winter Sports Movies Ever

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

The 12 Best Winter Sports Movies Ever

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    Image via Everett Collection

    With the Winter Olympics coming up in just a few weeks, the world will be introduced to some athletes who rarely get talked about.

    The media will tell their stories, fans will talk about them on social media and there will plenty of drama around the events that they compete in.

    While the Games themselves are a great spectacle for rarely-known athletes and sports, movies that showcase the cold weather do an even better job of this.

    That's why I bundled up and ranked my favorite winter sports movies—so I hope you tend to agree with them.

'Ice Castles'

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    Not a manly movie in the least bit, but Ice Castles still earns my respect—probably because my two sisters made me watch it a few times when younger.

    A story about a figure skater who has a freak accident and loses her sight, it shows the battle for her to get back to a level where she can compete.

    It's heartwarming, so it's OK if you shed a few tears, bro.

'Downhill Racer'

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    As Dave Chappellet (Robert Redford) earns the last spot on the U.S. Olympic ski team following an injury to another guy, his coach—played by Gene Hackman—finds the talented star to be quite the headache.

    Cocky and fearless on the slopes, Chappellet is determined to win a gold medal against his German rival.

    But what makes Downhill Racer so good isn't necessarily the plot—it's been done thousands of times before—but rather the way it's shot, with most ski scenes shot from first person, making the action feel as if we're right there on the slopes ourselves.

    Released in 1969, it's like GoPro before GoPro was even a thought.

'Mystery, Alaska'

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    For my money, any time you can get Burt Reynolds in a role where he plays a flappable, grouchy coach, I'm all for it.

    And when his co-star is Russell Crowe, who plays the role of a small-town sheriff who is asked to rediscover his hockey skills to help a downtrodden local team, it's even better.

    The one ridiculous twist in this movie is this Alaskan town with a population of probably 1,000 squaring off against the New York Rangers in an exhibition game.

    For anyone who enjoyed The Mighty Ducks series, Mystery, Alaska is basically a more grown-up version for you to watch.

'Men with Brooms'

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    For all you hipster sports fans out there who are a bit too cool to admit it, this one's for you.

    Although the title of the movie might be a bit misleading, the plot focuses on four friends who set out to conquer a curling championship in appreciation of their late coach.

    It might be a romantic comedy and about a sport that none of us follow much, but Men with Brooms is a flick that everyone should check out for a good laugh.

'The Cutting Edge'

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    OK, so it might be a bit of another rom-com, but I admit that I kind of enjoyed watching this movie while younger.

    The Cutting Edge pits a totally bro, former hockey player—Doug Dorsey—with the spoiled and entitled Kate Moseley as skating partners, who set to try to win an Olympic medal.

    It combines comedy with drama and a love affair, making it something that even a guy can watch by himself without being too embarrassed should someone walk in on them—or at least that's what I always tell myself.

'Slap Shot'

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    This movie begs the question, "Is it worth losing a few games if it means you get to hit someone?"

    After finding out that the team will be folding at the end of the season, players didn't just grow uninterested and start losing games—they fought!

    After seeing the cult-famous Hanson Brothers beat down everyone and everything in their way, I know exactly who I'd be calling should there be a problem that needs a little attention.

'Iron Will'

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    While most movies I was forced to watch in grade school struggled to keep my attention because they were so boring, Iron Will proved to be different.

    The Iditarod—or dog sledding in general—usually isn't something that most people give two damns about, so seeing Disney tackle the sport, and falsely make it an Olympic event for theatrical purposes, makes this flick one with great drama.

'The Mighty Ducks'

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    While growing up, there wasn't a kid I replicated more in my basement or in the backyard than Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson).

    As the lead role who has the tough task of playing the leader to the other misfits on his team, Conway bonds with a coach who, much like his players, needed a bit of guidance.

    That's a deep description for this movie, so all you need to know is that "The Minnesota Miracle Man" will forever be known as Gordon Bombay.

'Blades of Glory'

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    While other figure skating movies I've mentioned bring together two opposite personalities that need to learn to coexist, none of those used two males to entertain us.

    Putting together funny guys Will Ferrell (Chazz Michael Michaels) and Jon Heder (Jimmy MacElroy) to act as the first all-guy figure skating duo worked out quite well.

    Sure, it's a bit cheesy, sophomoric and perverse, but that's the best kind of comedy!

'Cool Runnings'

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    Is it sad to admit that, while this movie is targeted for teenagers, any time it pops on the tube, I'm posting up and watching it?

    OK, so I'm nearly 30 years old, but this just reminds me of my childhood.

    It's a good lesson in team unity, breaking barriers and following your dreams—and it happens to be pretty funny, too.

    Seeing how the current Jamaican bobsled squad is nearly playing out the entire plot for this year's Olympics is something that proves there are such things as movie gods.


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    I won't go as far as saying that anyone who says they don't enjoy this movie is being a bad American, but I will say that drinking a case of Bud heavy would serve you good if you happened to mutter those words to prove you're red, white and blue to your core.

    Bringing together a bunch of scrappy, unknown college players and pitting them against the typically dominant USSR would be a good storyline in its own right.

    When fans realize this was done as a reenactment of actual events, it makes the drama even bigger than it might have been back in 1980.

'D2: The Mighty Ducks'

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    Is this the greatest sports movie ever made?

    Probably not.

    But when it comes to narrowing it down to just winter sports movies, I have to put it atop my list.

    From the return of a bunch of rambunctious, down-and-out rascals, to the addition of their new teammates, D2: The Might Ducks takes everything we all loved about the first movie and puts an international flavor on it.