Come for Will Smith, stick around for these emotional stories.
There is a lot that can be said about King Richard and the emotional and inspirational performance by Will Smith in the sports biopic. After watching the biographical drama, showcasing how Venus and Serena Williams’ father helped make his daughters into two of the greatest tennis stars of all time, either in theaters or on HBO Max, you may be asking yourself it there are more movies out there that touch on certain aspects of King Richard or tell similar stories.
Movies you must watch this month!
Well, look no further, because we have put together a quick yet comprehensive list of movies (and a docuseries) that are all great companion pieces to the amazing true story of tough love, hard work, and determination.
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a man who, despite losing his job and home, never lets go of his self-respect, determination, and faith in himself and the world. Over the course of the 2006 biographical drama, Smith’s character shows the heights one can reach when they don’t let go of their dreams.
Why it’s worth checking out: Like King Richard, Will Smith plays a father who is willing to do anything (ANYTHING) to make a better life for his children. And, if you are looking for a great emotional performance from its lead, then The Pursuit of Happyness is the way to go.
In the 2011 sports drama, Warrior, two estranged brothers — Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) — enter an MMA tournament where the victor will take home a $5 million prize. As the two work their way through their respective brackets, it becomes clear that Tommy and Brendan are on a collision course that will end with pain, glory, and a shot at redemption.
Why it’s worth checking out: You could argue that Warrior is just another sports movie, but it’s so much more than that with its highly emotional story about a broken family finding its way in a world that, at best, doesn’t understand them and, at worst, continually beats them down and leaves them in the dust.
Coach Carter (2005)
The 2005 sports biopic Coach Carter tells the story of Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), who made headlines after he returned to coach his old high school basketball team with an iron fist but open heart. Over the course of a single season, Carter transforms his team from a group of talented yet disrespectful and failing students into a tight-knit group who are willing to do anything for each other, even if it means forfeiting games and losing out at a chance at a championship.
Why it’s worth checking out: Like King Richard, Coach Carter is anchored by a commanding lead with Samuel L. Jackson, who remains steady in his approach to make his team great not only on the court but off it as well, even if that means going up against resistance from a world that refuses to understand his motivations.
Battle Of The Sexes (2017)
In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs faced off in one of the biggest sporting events of the 20th Century, the famous “Battle of the Sexes.” This monumental event is retold in spectacular fashion in the 2017 biographical sports drama/comedy Battle of the Sexes, with Emma Stone stepping in as the underdog King, and Steve Carell portraying the bombastic and overly-cocky Riggs.
Why it’s worth checking out: If you were a fan of both the drama and on-court action of King Richard, then Battle of the Sexes is a perfect companion piece. Not only does it feature superb tennis matches, but it also has a great story about Bille Jean King taking a stand for female athletes being treated like their male counterparts in terms of pay and respect.
In the 2001 sports biopic Ali, Will Smith steps into the shoes of a giant and portrays the greatest boxer to ever put on a pair of gloves and step into a ring. Over the course of the film, Smith’s character goes from up-and-coming boxing star Cassius Clay to the man forever known as Muhammad Ali, showcasing some of the legend’s most iconic fights and personal victories that forever changed the world.
Why it’s worth checking out: Ali features another great Will Smith performance, one that makes it hard to look away whenever he’s on screen. This faithful portrayal of Muhammad Ali gives those not familiar with his story a chance to see him in all his glory.
The Fighter (2010)
In the 2010 biographical drama, The Fighter, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) experiences equal amounts of pain in the boxing ring and in his personal life, which is plagued by personal issues involving his large family, especially brother/trainer/jailbird Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). When Micky earns the biggest match of his career, he must contend with his opponent and the over-the-top personalities and faults of his family.
Why it’s worth checking out: More than a decade after its initial release, The Fighter remains not only one of the best boxing movies but also one of the greatest sports biopics. And like King Richard, the large ensemble cast of characters in The Fighter adds another level of drama to this emotionally-charged story.