Today: June 21, 2024

Sporting Movies: Fun Facts

Inspirational sports movies are always guaranteed to shed a tear and spread a cheer in equal measures. To celebrate the upcoming release of Next Goal Wins, which is released on DVD on 1st September, FilmJuice looks at the fun facts behind some of these much loved films.

Next Goal Wins
Next Goal Wins is a classic underdog movie set amongst the beauty and tribal magic of the South Pacific. The film follows the American Samoan football team – officially ranked them ‘the worst team in the world’ – after they suffered a record 31-0 defeat against Australia. Suffering the scars of being the world’s worst team, the film follows the team as they prepare to take part in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. However did you know …

  • Before this film was commissioned, the American Samoa football team had refused to allow numerous film and TV crews to tell their story. It was only when it became clear that directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison aimed to celebrate the team’s incredible spirit that they gave permission for this production.
  • When filming began, the team had only scored twice in seventeen years.
  • The team’s defender, Jaiyah Saelua, is the first transgender player to compete in a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Cool Runnings

  • During the Winter Olympics, the Jamaican bob sleigh team were received with open arms by other international teams. One team even lent the Jamaican team a back-up sled so they could qualify.
  • The crash scene we see at the end of the movie is the real footage taken from the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.


  • Rocky was the first sports film to win an Oscar for Best Picture.
  • At one point singer/actress Cher was considered for the role of Adrian, but the part eventually went to Talia Shire.
  • Butkus the dog was Sylvester Stallone’s own dog.


  • Chris Pratt was initially told he was too fat when he auditioned for the role of Scott Hatteberg.
  • All but one of the scouts in the movie were played by real Major League Baseball scouts.
  • Moneyball was the first baseball movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award (Oscar) since Field Of Dreams twenty-two years earlier.


  • The scene where Ernie McCracken bowled three strikes in a row was real… who knew Bill Murray was such a dab hand at bowling?
  • According to directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Woody Harrelson was a terrible bowler.
  • The entire commercial Ernie McCracken does for the kids, was ad-libbed by Bill Murray.
  • Jim Carrey was the first choice to play Ernie McCracken.


  • Charlie Sheen really was a pitcher in high school as well as playing pitcher baseball Ricky Vaughn in the movie.
  • Jeremy Piven was cast in the film but his part did not make the final cut.
  • Many of the baseball players were members of the University of Arizona baseball team.


  • The film is based on the real life underdog story of Milan Indians basketball team.
  • The movie was renamed Best Shot for the European release because most Europeans wouldn’t know what a Hoosier was?
  • The announcer at the final game in the film was the announcer from the real life game.


  • Ben Stiller broke three cameras in succession filming one scene.
  • According to many cast members, the hardest part of filming the dodgeball scenes was not flinching when they knew they were about to be hit by a ball.


  • Ten different horses played the role of Seabiscuit.
  • Jockey legends Charles Kurtsinge and George Woolf are portrayred by real-life jockeys Chris McCarrow and Gary Stevens.

The Karate Kid

  • Before Ralph Machhio was cast in the infamous role of Daniel LaRusso, both Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn turned down the role of this iconic character.
  • When he originally auditioned for the role of Miyagi, Pat Morita was rejected the part. After a little coaching from his uncle who taught him how to talk with a ‘proper’ Japanese accent, he auditioned for a second time and got the part.

Next Goal Wins is released on DVD on 1st September.

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