King Richard: What To Watch If You Liked The Will Smith Sports Biopic
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.
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.
Rent/Buy The Pursuit of Happyness on Amazon.
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.
Stream Warrior on Peacock.
Rent/Buy Warrior on Amazon.
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.
Stream Coach Carter on Peacock.
Rent/Buy Coach Carter on Amazon.
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.
Rent/Buy Battle of the Sexes on Amazon.
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.
Stream Ali on HBO Netflix.
Rent/Buy Ali on Amazon.
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.
Stream The Fighter on Hulu.
Rent/Buy The Fighter on Amazon.
Remember The Titans (2000)
One of the best sports movies of all time, the 2000 biographical drama Remember the Titans centers on the recently integrated T.C. Williams High School in Virginia and its football team led by head coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington). Over the course of a single season, the players go from a group of reluctant teammates to an inseparable family who serve as a beacon of home for their classmates and bitterly divided community.
Why it’s worth checking out: Just as King Richard would do more than 20 years later, Remember the Titans tells a story of a no-nonsense yet loving coach who sets out to prove that his players shouldn’t be judged by the color of skin or where they’re from, but by their grit, determination, and commitment to their craft.
Stream Remember the Titans on Disney+.
Rent/Buy Remember the Titans on Amazon.
The 2013 sports biopic, 42, documents baseball hall of famer Jackie Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) monumental achievement of breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier during the 1946 season. The movie doesn’t start there, however, as it dives into what made Robinson (whose number has since been retired across the board in MLB) such an inspirational figure for millions of young boys who would go on to become the legends of their own for decades to come.
Why it’s worth checking out: One of the great baseball movies, 42 is perfect for anyone who wants to see how legends are made, both in their respective sport and in their personal lives. Plus, the powerful performance by the late Chadwick Boseman is something worth revisiting time and time again.
Stream 42 on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy 42 on Amazon.
While not the typical sports biopic, the 2015 drama, Concussion, tells one of the most traumatic stories in modern NFL history, and one that continues to be an issue today. In the movie, Will Smith plays forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that has similar effects as Alzheimer’s disease, that he argues is caused by years of collisions on the gridiron.
Why it’s worth checking out: Will Smith’s performance in Concussion is powerful, as he plays a character who is so sure he is right about a hunch, he is willing to risk everything in order to let the world know. It’s this commitment by Smith, and his character, that makes the movie so impactful.
Stream Concussion on Tubi.
Rent/Buy Concussion on Amazon.
Being Serena (2018)
And then there is the five-part HBO docuseries Being Serena, which follows Serena Williams at one of the biggest points of her life and career: the moment she discovers she is pregnant. Over the course of this eye-opening series, Williams becomes a mother, marries Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and works her way back to becoming one of the most dominating forces on the tennis court.
Why it’s worth checking out: If you were a fan of King Richard for its depiction of Venus and Serena Williams and want to see what life is like now for the younger of the two sisters, then Being Serena is the way to go. Its access to the four-time Olympic gold medalist and tennis living legend is unmatched, and offers longtime fans a rare look into the day-to-day life of the world-class athlete.
Stream Being Serena on HBO Max.
Buy Being Serena on Amazon.
Each of these movies (and the docuseries) capture some of the magic felt in King Richard in one way or another, and offer in-depth looks at the lives of some of the sports world’s greatest figures. If you want to know what else is coming out after watching all of these titles, take a look at CinemaBlend’s schedule of the remaining 2021 new movie releases.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
By Mike Reyes