Let’s be honest, the best sports movies about women are those that are so much more than sports movies. They’re films that deal with coming-of-age, sexism, and female friendship, even if the women sometimes start out as frenemies. Sure, sometimes there’s some love, but it’s always the secondary story since these movies are all about women whose first love is the love of the game. After all, who cares if they get the guy if they don’t achieve their athletic dreams?
These sports films, like those starring men, are often about adversity and overcoming unspeakable odds. But unlike those male-led movies, it often feels like the pressure is turned up a notch when it’s female athletes in question. Perhaps because too many people ignore women’s athletic achievements as being lesser than their male counterparts. For all those discussing whether NBA superstar LeBron James or New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the GOAT, Serena Williams’ name doesn’t come up nearly as often in the same breath, when it definitely should.
That’s why female sports movies are about more than breaking boundaries, they’re about breaking glass ceilings. It’s about showing how powerful and strong women are on the field or court or roller derby rink. So here are the 16 sports movies starring women and directed by women.