HOME staff pick their favourite sporting films for the Olympics

With the Tokyo Olympics starting today, we asked HOME staff to share their favourite sporting films – and which sports they’ll actually be watching. Read on for their top tips of what to watch this Summer.

Alice Wilde, Talent Development Producer for Visual Art

Film title: I, Tonya

Why did you choose this film? I absolutely love this film and I find Tonya Harding’s story so compelling. Tonya had to endure so much and it really sheds a light on the pressures of a competitive sport like figure skating. The soundtrack is brilliant too!

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? The ice skating of course but I am really excited for skateboarding to make its debut, particularly the women’s competition!

Bren O’Callaghan, Curator

Film title: Gregory’s Girl

Why did you choose this film? Because it’s the only time I’ll watch football or people talking about football on screen. It was also the only VHS at school the teachers kept in the desk drawer, so for every wet-lunch or end of term, the class watched it over and over. I’ve broken through the pain barrier and now it’s more like greeting an old friend. Years later, it would be the first film I paired Scratch ‘n Sniff cards with, to a sold-out crowd of 300 in the middle of Edinburgh City Centre. There’s a background character in the film who is never explained or commented upon, a schoolchild dressed as a penguin who is in background shots, so we had someone dressed as a penguin hold up the giant numbered placards! People queued up for penguin hugs afterwards, back when we could hug.

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? I’m intrigued by the new sports, especially skateboarding and surfing, at least until they introduce professional-level Cards Against Humanity.

Jon Gilchrist, Executive Director

Film title: Escape to Victory

Why did you choose this film? In order to prepare for his role as Luis Fernandez in Escape To Victory (1981), actor Pelé played over twenty years of professional football and won three FIFA World Cups… Credit for that joke goes to Jonny Sharples, on Twitter.

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? Dressage

Clare Wells, Head of Marketing

Film title: Wimbledon

Why did you choose this film? As well as being a feelgood classic, I also love how it celebrates our country’s weird obsession with this one tennis event, and our love of an underdog character in sports

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? Clearly, the tennis – although actually the canoeing is my favourite (but there are far fewer cheesy romcoms set in the canoe slalom world – someone please take this idea and run with it.)

Rachel Hayward, Head of Film

Film title: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

Why did you choose this film? Lagaan combines all the key ingredients of a spectacular Bollywood epic with a high stakes game of cricket – undoubtedly the most engrossing game of cricket in cinema.

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? If I were to watch anything it would be one of the new additions like speed climbing.

Anne Louise Kershaw, Community and Outreach Programme Producer

Film title: All The Marbles

Why did you choose this film? This was my favourite and most watched film when I was little ‘til we taped ‘Back to the Future’ off the telly. For years I thought it was called ‘California Dolls’ because that is what was written on my video tape! It’s about female wrestlers Iris and Molly and their manager (played by Peter Falk who for sure was more than a little inspiration for how they write Sam in GLOW). Watching it every bit was completely familiar and evoked such little feelings of being small and feeling cosy and excited watching them scruff their way to the championship against adversity and with a scrupulous, lovable manager who is more than a little dodgy!

I loved it as a kid but re-watching it recently I realise it was things like this (much like Cagney and Lacey) that really had a big feminist influence on me. It covers all sorts of feminist issues within the sporting world, and the world at large, but particularly the solidarity, sass, business acumen and seriously impressive sportwomanship of the two characters (and actors who were from a sporting background), is that really struck a chord with little (and big) me. Proper sisterly solidarity by intelligent women who are amazing wrestlers. Wrangling the world with every match! And winning!

What sport will you be watching at the Olympics? None

Feeling inspired to get sporty? Join theatremarker Michael Pinchbeck on 14 Aug for Cyclical, a celebration and exploration of our national obsession with cycling through the lockdown.