‘Next Goal Wins’ unfolds as an exhilarating biographical sports comedy-drama, masterfully directed by the visionary Taika Waititi. Drawing inspiration from the gripping 2014 documentary by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, the film plunges into the riveting narrative of Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen. Tasked with an almost insurmountable mission, Rongen must orchestrate a miraculous transformation of the American Samoa national football team – a squad widely regarded as one of the planet’s most feeble. At the heart of this cinematic journey is the magnetic portrayal of Rongen by the talented Michael Fassbender, leading an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, David Fane, Rachel House, Beulah Koale, Will Arnett, and Elisabeth Moss. As the stakes rise, Rongen faces the ultimate crossroads – either accept an almost impossible challenge or succumb to the looming threat of termination.
Amidst the intense drama, the storyline unveils the captivating narrative of Jaiyah Saelua, a fa’afafine player, whose presence marks a historic moment as the first transgender athlete to grace a World Cup game. The film weaves together the threads of determination, camaraderie, and resilience, immersing the audience in a tale where the pursuit of excellence transcends the boundaries of sports. ‘Next Goal Wins’ isn’t just a film; it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, a celebration of triumph over adversity, and a testament to the indomitable spirit that fuels the beautiful game. If your goals are left unquenched, here are 8 more movies like ‘Next Goal Wins’ that you must check out.
8. Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)
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‘Goal! The Dream Begins‘ is a sports drama directed by Danny Cannon, featuring Kuno Becker as Santiago Munez. The film revolves around Munez, a young man from a poverty-stricken Mexican village, who aspires to become a professional footballer. The plot follows his journey overcoming obstacles to join the English club Newcastle United. This underdog tale resonates with the determination and pursuit of excellence seen in ‘Next Goal Wins.’ Both films celebrate the resilience of individuals and teams striving for success against formidable odds, making ‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ a compelling watch for fans of sports dramas and inspiring narratives.
7. 42 (2013)
’42’ is a gripping sports drama directed by Brian Helgeland, chronicling the groundbreaking journey of Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, as the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. The film captures the challenges Robinson faced, battling racial discrimination to pave the way for future generations. If you enjoyed the themes of resilience and triumph over adversity in ‘Next Goal Wins,’ ’42’ delivers a compelling narrative rooted in real-life struggles. Both films showcase the human spirit’s capacity to overcome barriers, making ’42’ a must-watch for those who appreciate stirring sports stories with profound societal impact.
6. Invictus (2009)
Directed by Clint Eastwood, ‘Invictus’ is a riveting sports drama that chronicles Nelson Mandela’s visionary leadership during South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup. Starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby captain François Pienaar, the film captures the unifying power of sports in a post-apartheid nation. As Mandela rallies the nation behind the underdog Springboks, ‘Invictus’ weaves a tale of hope, reconciliation, and the transformative influence of sports. If you were captivated by the uplifting spirit and team camaraderie in ‘Next Goal Wins,’ ‘Invictus’ provides a captivating real-life narrative with exceptional performances, ensuring an emotionally resonant and inspirational viewing experience.
5. Miracle (2004)
‘Miracle’ and ‘Next Goal Wins’ share a kinship in their celebration of underdog triumphs and the unifying power of sports. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, ‘Miracle’ tells the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a group of amateur players coached by Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell). The film showcases their improbable victory over the dominant Soviet team, emphasizing teamwork, perseverance, and the indomitable spirit of the human will. Similarly, ‘Next Goal Wins’ follows the American Samoa national football team’s journey, emphasizing resilience and determination. Both films resonate with audiences through their compelling sports narratives, portraying the transformative impact of teamwork and the pursuit of excellence.
4. King Richard (2021)
‘King Richard‘ and ‘Next Goal Wins’ share an intimate connection through their portrayal of visionary coaches who guide their teams to unprecedented success. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, ‘King Richard’ focuses on the extraordinary journey of Richard Williams, portrayed by Will Smith, as he coaches his daughters, Venus and Serena, to tennis stardom. This film, akin to ‘Next Goal Wins,’ dives into the intricate dynamics of coaching, resilience, and the thirst to be better. The nuanced storytelling in ‘King Richard’ captivates viewers with its strong character development arcs and familial bonds, creating a narrative tapestry rich in emotions, much like the heartwarming journey depicted in ‘Next Goal Wins.’
3. Remember the Titans (2000)
‘Remember the Titans‘ is a perfect follow-up to ‘Next Goal Wins’ for its shared themes of unity and triumph against odds. Directed by Boaz Yakin, the film unfolds the inspiring true story of a racially integrated high school football team in 1970s Virginia. Denzel Washington leads a stellar cast, including Will Patton and Wood Harris, portraying the team’s coaches. The plot navigates societal tensions as the Titans overcome prejudice and forge a path to the state championships. If ‘Next Goal Wins’ resonated with you, ‘Remember the Titans’ promises a powerful narrative of teamwork, friendship, and breaking down societal barriers through the prism of sports.
2. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
‘The Mighty Ducks’ shares a heartwarming camaraderie and triumphant spirit with ‘Next Goal Wins,’ making it an excellent choice for fans of underdog stories. Directed by Stephen Herek, the film centers around Gordon Bombay, played by Emilio Estevez, a lawyer forced to coach a youth hockey team as part of his community service. The plot follows the Ducks, a ragtag group of misfit players, as they evolve into a formidable team, navigating both on and off-ice challenges. Estevez’s charismatic portrayal and the team’s journey from underdogs to contenders make ‘The Mighty Ducks’ an engaging watch, mirroring the uplifting essence found in ‘Next Goal Wins.’
1. Cool Runnings (1993)
‘Cool Runnings’ is a must-watch if you enjoyed the triumph-against-odds arc of ‘Next Goal Wins.’ Directed by Jon Turteltaub, this comedic gem recounts the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team’s pursuit of Winter Olympic glory. The film seamlessly blends humor, camaraderie, and determination, echoing the themes present in ‘Next Goal Wins.’ Starring John Candy, Leon, and Doug E. Doug, the cast delivers stellar performances that bring to life the endearing tale of underdogs defying expectations. As you reveled in the resilience of the American Samoa football team, ‘Cool Runnings’ promises a delightful adventure, proving that heart and perseverance transcend the playing field.
Read More: Best Sports Movies of All Time