10 Movies Like Challengers You Must See

Challengers,’ helmed by Luca Guadagnino, is about the intricate dance of love, lust, and rivalry amidst the backdrop of professional tennis, where Zendaya and Josh O’Connor lead the cast alongside Mike Faist. The narrative orbits around Tashi Duncan, once a tennis virtuoso turned coach due to a career-terminating injury, and her spouse, a former champion currently struggling with a string of defeats. Their quest for redemption takes an unexpected twist when he confronts his ex-best friend and Tashi’s former flame on the court.

As emotions intertwine with ambition, the film navigates the complexities of relationships and the relentless pursuit of glory, weaving a captivating tale of passion and competition. If you find yourself thirsty for more tales brimming with themes of love, ambition, and flaming love triangles, here are 10 films similar to ‘Challengers’ that you will like.

10. Summer of ’42 (1971)

‘Summer of ’42’ is a coming-of-age drama directed by Robert Mulligan, set during World War II. The film follows Hermie as the main protagonist, a teenage boy spending a transformative summer on a small island. Hermie becomes infatuated with Dorothy, an older woman mourning her husband’s death in the war. As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Hermie grapples with his newfound emotions and experiences the intricacies of love and loss. Starring Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes, the film amuses audiences with its poignant portrayal of youthful innocence and the bittersweet realities of wartime romance. Similar to ‘Challengers,’ ‘Summer of ’42’ explores themes of love, longing, and the intricacies of relationships amidst a backdrop of personal and societal challenges.

9. The Break-Up (2006)

‘The Break-Up,’ directed by Peyton Reed, stars Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn as Gary and Brooke, a couple whose relationship disintegrates into a series of comedic clashes and misunderstandings. Despite their breakup, they continue to share a condo, living through the problems of cohabitation while attempting to move on. The film humorously explores themes of love, communication, and the challenges of modern relationships, echoing the heartfelt portrayal of romance found in ‘Challengers.’ Both movies are about the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics, depicting characters dealing with fractured relationships and the blurred lines between love and friendship amidst conflict and personal growth.

8. Tin Cup (1996)

In the sports romantic comedy ‘Tin Cup,’ directed by Ron Shelton, Kevin Costner stars as Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy, a talented but unconventional golfer with a penchant for taking risks. When he falls for Dr. Molly Griswold (Renée Russo), Roy’s quest for her affection becomes intertwined with his pursuit of professional success. As he navigates the competitive world of golf, Roy faces off against his own demons and rivals, including his longtime nemesis, David Simms. With its blend of humor, romance, and underdog spirit, ‘Tin Cup’ resonates with audiences by capturing the essence of perseverance and passion on and off the golf course, much like the themes explored in ‘Challengers.’

7. The Dreamers (2003)

In Bernardo Bertolucci’s provocative film ‘The Dreamers,’ we’re whisked away to the vibrant streets of Paris during the turbulent 1968 student protests. Here, Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American student, forms an intense bond with Isabelle and Theo (Eva Green and Louis Garrel), two siblings entrenched in their own world of cinephilia and radical ideas. As their friendship deepens, boundaries blur, and the trio embarks on a journey of self-discovery, exploring love, lust, politics, and the power of cinema in the midst of societal upheaval. With its lush cinematography and daring themes such as incest, ‘The Dreamers’ bewitches audiences with its mesmerizing tale of youthful rebellion and forbidden desires, echoing the poignant exploration of relationships and personal growth found in ‘Challengers.’

6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

In Woody Allen’s romantic world of ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona,’ viewers are transported to the breathtaking landscapes of Spain, where two companions, Vicky and Cristina (Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson), find themselves ensnared in a whirlwind of romance, artistry, and uncertainty. Their summer escapade takes an unforeseen twist when they encounter the charismatic artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) and his tempestuous former spouse, María Elena (Penélope Cruz). As these four individuals navigate the labyrinth of desire, affection, and creative fervor, their connections deepen, blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality. ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ is about the exploration of love’s enigmatic essence, ghosts from the past, and the transformative sway of longing, echoing the emotional intricacy and depth found in ‘Challengers.’

5. Blue Crush (2002)

‘Blue Crush,’ directed by John Stockwell, drowns audiences in the competitive surfing world, tracing a young woman’s journey towards success in the sport while also entangled in a love triangle with her best friend and a pro football player. This thematic resonance mirrors ‘Challengers,’ as both films are about personal ambition and romantic entanglements amidst the backdrop of intense competition. As Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) strives to conquer the waves of Hawaii’s North Shore, she grapples with the emotional turbulence of love, friendship, and professional aspirations. Through its vivid portrayal of courage and perseverance amidst the beauty and chaos of the ocean, ‘Blue Crush’ captures the vibes found in ‘Challengers.’

4. Bring It On (2000)

In ‘Bring It On,’ a comedic tale directed by Peyton Reed, audiences are thrust into the high-energy world of competitive cheerleading, where two rival high school squads clash in a battle for supremacy. Amidst the spirited routines and dazzling performances, the rivalry between the teams is fueled by personal vendettas and romantic entanglements, adding layers of spice to the already intense competition. This thematic exploration of rivalry and romance aligns with the plot in ‘Challengers,’ as both films jump into the problems of personal ambition and interpersonal dynamics within the context of a competitive environment. Through its blend of humor, heart, and high-flying stunts, ‘Bring It On’ holds audiences with its lively portrayal of friendship, rivalry, and the indomitable spirit of youth.

3. Bitter Moon (1992)

While ‘Bitter Moon’ and ‘Challengers’ may seem worlds apart in genre and setting, both films share a thematic core that taps into the complexities of relationships and the darker facets of human nature. Directed by Roman Polanski, ‘Bitter Moon’ unravels a tale of obsession, desire, and betrayal aboard a luxury cruise ship. As the plot unfolds, viewers are drawn into a web of seduction and manipulation, exploring the tumultuous dynamics between the characters. Similarly, ‘Challengers’ navigates the intricacies of love, rivalry, and personal growth, albeit in the world of professional tennis. Despite their divergent narratives, both films offer a provocative exploration of the human psyche, inviting audiences to confront the depths of passion and the consequences of unchecked desire.

2. Bull Durham (1988)

In ‘Bull Durham,’ directed by Ron Shelton, audiences are transported to the colorful world of minor league baseball, where the game serves as a canvas of human emotions and relationships. Through the lens of America’s favorite pastime, the film explores themes of love, loyalty, and the pursuit of dreams. As seasoned catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) mentors talented but erratic pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), their dynamic reflects the conundrums of mentorship and personal growth. Caught in the middle is Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), a passionate baseball groupie whose unconventional approach to romance adds umpteen of drama to the story. With its blend of humor, heart, and gritty realism, ‘Bull Durham’ resonates with viewers by capturing the essence of life’s victories and defeats on and off the field, as seen in ‘Challengers.’

1. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

‘Y tu mamá también,’ directed by Alfonso Cuarón, stands out as a quintessential watch for enthusiasts of ‘Challengers’ due to its poignant exploration of youth, desire, and complex relationships. The film follows two teenage boys and an older woman on a transformative road trip across Mexico, jumping into themes of love, friendship, and breaking societal norms. Similar to ‘Challengers,’ ‘Y tu mamá también’ depicts the dynamic of two men vying for the affection of the same woman. The film’s raw authenticity and candid depiction of love, lust, friendship, and societal taboos strike the same chord predominantly heard in ‘Challengers.’

Read More: Is Zendaya’s Challengers Based on a True Story?