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The sporting movie showdowns to rival Battle of the Sexes


Battle of the Sexes is the hugely entertaining and timely account of the real-life 1973 exhibition match between tennis players Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).

When the latter accuses the former that the standard of women's tennis isn't up to that of men's matches, it leads to an epic showdown where nothing less than the future of gender equality hangs in the balance.

Ahead of the film's release on 24th November it's time to pick a side and get ready to cheer, because here are some of the best sporting movie showdowns...

Ducks vs Hawks (The Mighty Ducks, 1993)

A common theme of sports movies is the plucky underdog versus the snooty, and seemingly more accomplished rivals, and no team is pluckier than The Mighty Ducks.

New coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) may not have wanted to take the Ducks under his proverbial wing, but after a thrashing from the snooty Hawks, he works hard to turn the team around and reverse their fortunes. Watching the Ducks go from zeroes to heroes proves anything is possible, and their final showdown against old rivals the Hawks, is a triumphant, fists-in-the-air movie moment.

Toros vs Clovers (Bring It On, 2000)

Yes, competitive cheerleading is a sport, and don't let the pompoms fool you, the rivalry between Rancho Carne Toros and the East Compton Clovers is as fierce as they come.

Headed up by Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) and Isis (Gabrielle Union) respectively, the teams clash and trade catty comments in the lead-up to the National Cheerleading Championships, and it really is anyone's trophy to win by this point.

The result might be unexpected based on sporting movie tropes, but the rivalry is endlessly fun to watch and important lessons are learnt along the way as well.

Average Joes vs Globo Gym (Dodgeball, 2004)

The clue is in the name for this one, but this hilarious film is an "underdog story" in every sense of the word. With the Average Joe's Gym facing financial troubles, owner Pete LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) gets a team together to compete in a Dodgeball tournament with a $50,000 prize.

Standing in his way is the ridiculous, and super-rich Globo Gym. With an all-star squad headed up by arrogant, mustachioed White Goodman (Ben Stiller), they prove to be a fierce opponent. However, the underdogs prove money isn't everything, and against all the odds they manage to advance to the final round in the contest to face off against Globo Gym.

Few movie sporting rivalries are as funny and genuine as this one; the final moments proving that victory is oh-so sweet.

Rocky Balboa vs Apollo Creed (Rocky, 1976, Rocky II, 1979, Rocky III, 1982)

The sporting rivalry to end them all, spanning three movies and going down in history as one of the greatest fictional rivalries ever. Trading punches and trading wins in the ring, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Apollo's (Carl Weathers) rivalry is intense, but there is also undoubtedly a great deal of respect between these two legendary fighters.

Apollo takes the first win in a controversial decision, Rocky the second, and the third was a mystery until 2015's Creed revealed it was Apollo who had triumphed. After his shocking death in Rocky IV at the hands of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Balboa is determined to avenge his old rival's death by doing the impossible and beating Drago.

With Rocky later training Apollo's son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) in the aforementioned Creed, this is a rivalry that spans decades and is arguably the greatest of them all.

Happy Gilmore vs Shooter McGavin (Happy Gilmore, 1996)

Nothing vicious about playing golf, right? Wrong! Aspiring ice hockey player Happy (Adam Sandler) has a fiery temper, but equally a huge amount of love for his Grandma whose debts he wants to pay off.

The solution to his financial woes? Turning his fierce slapshot into professional golfing of course, with the aim to take home the big prize which will be more than enough to settle Grandma's debt. Standing in his way is arrogant Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) who is disparaging of Happy's unorthodox technique and attitude towards the sport. 

Facing off against each other in the final showdown, the crowd rallies around Happy and, despite a series of unusual and unexpected events, Happy succeeds. Nothing better than the nice guy winning!

Click here to book your tickets for Battle of the Sexes and share your top sporting rivalries @Cineworld.

Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.