Sure, some people seeing Ron Howard's Rush in theaters right now remember the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda on the Formula One circuit in the 1970s. But I'm betting plenty more of them had never heard of the drivers, or their rivalry, or Formula One, for that matter. Luckily, because Rush is a very good movie, that lack of knowledge doesn't matter in the least.

There are great sports movies that capitalize on a national love of the sport or a very famous story to earn their chills-- think of 2004's Miracle, or Rudy, or the endless nostalgia of Field of Dreams. But there are some that have an extra power to sweep up the people who have never heard of the sport in question, or who might not even think they care about sports at all until they wind up jumping out of their seats and fist-pumping in the end. And with Rush converting Formula One skeptics all over the nation, we're celebrating 6 of those movies (OK, one's a TV show)-- starting, of course, with Rush itself. Take a look, and let us know your own picks in the comments.

by Katey Rich
Though it's the refined, European alternative to homegrown NASCAR, Formula One always seemed just as dull as our native sport-- a bunch of cars driving in circles, with most of the excitement coming from terrified anticipation of a crash. At the end of Rush I had no more desire to watch a car race, much less participate in one, but I completely understood what drives people to the sport. Particularly in the 1970s, when Formula One was even more dangerous than it is now, wanting to become a driver was basically a suicide mission, which makes our heroes James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) even more enigmatic. But getting to know them unveils the risk-taking and desperation to succeed that drives both of them, and Anthoy Dod Mantle's energetic cinematography conveys the thrill of strapping into that driver's seat, even if I'd never try it yourself. Give me two more Formula One drivers as worth following as these two, and I might see the magic of driving in circles after all.

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