Who doesn’t love an underdog story? There’s something about a tale of a person with odds stacked against their favor stand up to the challenge – they become tales of grit, endurance and an affirmation of the archetypal David and Goliath tale. They lead us to believe that with courage, perseverance, and our belief anything is possible. Cinemas around the world have championed the underdog cause, mainstream movies more than anything else because underdog stories are always grand narratives and grand narratives make for lovely mainstream cinema. Here is the list of top movies about the dark horse.
15. 8 Mile (2002)
This American hip-hop movie is not only one of the finest films about the rap industry but is also a look at the younger days of Eminem, one of the most prominent rappers on the scene. The film won critical acclaim and features an excellent track titled ‘Lose Yourself’ that was sung by Eminem himself. What makes this such an effective underdog story is the racial aspect. The hip-hop scene was predominantly run by blacks and Eminem becomes this first lanky white kid to break onto the scene. A true tale of grit as this young boy follows his passion to overcome personal and professional obstacles to become one of the greatest rappers that the world has seen, this is definitely a movie you don’t want to miss.
14. Braveheart (1995)
The epic tale of William Wallace of Scotland where Wallace is played by Mel Gibson. Every story of freedom is that of an underdog struggling against a stronger force. It is the same here as Wallace wages war against Longshanks the English ruler. Severely disadvantaged, Wallace nonetheless is majorly successful in his military forays until he is betrayed. As an underdog movie it is enthralling to watch Wallace rally his men, his cries for freedom and his absolute belief in independence. His speech before the battle about how they might take their lives but would never take their freedom will always send shivers down your spine!
13. Invincible (2006)
Based on the true story of Vince Papale of the Philadelphia Eagles, this movie is a classic sports underdog tale. Papale is an ordinary man, a bartender who enjoys the occasional game of football. However as his life starts to fall apart and the city’s football team gets a new coach who opens up a position on the team, Papale tries out. His start is bumpy but the underdog factor comes in as he keeps practicing and eventually goes on to win the first game against the New York Giants. Papale is shown to have an excellent career with the Eagles eventually helping them get to the super bowl.
12. 300 (2006)
This epic war film stars Gerard Butler as the fearless king of the Spartans. The film is set against the backdrop of the Persian invasion of Greece. Directed by Zack Snyder the film is a fictionalized account of a real event. The film is extremely dark, gritty as is Frank Miller’s style whose comic the film is based on. The underdog factor comes in when one considers the strength of the Persian army at the time. Most of Greece was cutting deals with the Persian king to avoid conflict. However, Sparta which had always put great value in its freedom would not cut any such deal. Led by the king, these brave soldiers, 300 men fought against a Persian army that was 30,000 people strong. Eventually, they succumbed to defeat after being betrayed and flanked by the enemy. Yet the effort was heroic and if there ever is an underdog in a battle, the sheer numbers of this battle should be a testament to the fact.
11. Remember the Titans (2000)
Denzel Washington stars in this sports movie about the TC Williams High School. The football coach Boone is Washington’s role in the movie and he has a monumental task of removing racial prejudices from the team and to lead the team to victory. Odds keep getting stacked against them as he is warned by a school board member that a single defeat will cost him his job. The underdog story comes in because this team gets through against all odds, against all racial prejudices, against the increased pressure on the coach on having to win, they even overcome the fact that a game is eventually rigged and the referees are biased against them. A true sports tale of perseverance this remains one of the best underdog sports movies.
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