Pop Culture

Mo'ne Davis, move over: 5 other young women who totally rule in sports movies

Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old Little League pitching superstar, has definitively proven in recent weeks that not only do women deserve their chance on the playing field — they can totally rule the game. Davis' prowess on the mound and her self-confidence off of it are unquestionably inspirational, but we tracked down five movies that focus on female athletes just as dynamic. Play ball!

'Pat and Mike' (1952)
Yep, that really is Katharine Hepburn whacking those golf balls in the classic film about a top athlete who loses focus whenever her fiancé watches her play, but gets it back after hiring a dodgy promoter (played by Spencer Tracy). Hepburn was athletic in real life, and the film was crafted to give her a way to show off her skills. 

'A League of Their Own' (1992)
As much about sibling rivalry and no crying in baseball as it is about women in the game, "League" is a fictionalized look at the real female athletes who replaced male players who'd gone off to fight during World War II. Forced to play in skirts, the ladies are initially seen as little more than eye candy, but soon prove they've got the mettle to play real baseball for real stakes.

'Love and Basketball' (2000)
Quincy and Monica are friends — and competitors — from childhood, when they first meet on the basketball court and Monica proves herself the equal of her fellow male players. Over the years they grow closer as a couple, but their shared love for the game sends them in different directions as Quincy heads for the NBA and Monica (in a pre-WNBA world) moves overseas to play the game she loves.

'Bend It Like Beckham' (2002)

Jesminder, a tomboy and David Beckham fan, rebels against her Indian family's traditional values in order to play on the soccer field, where she turns out to have an impressive talent. Her parents are not thrilled when they learn she's engaging in less-than-ladylike behavior on the field, but her ability to earn a scholarship for her athleticism seems to soften their hearts.

'Blue Crush' (2002)
A trio of young women earn their livings as maids in a resort hotel, but their real passion is out on the ocean, where they surf whenever they have a chance. One begins to regain some lost self-confidence following a near-fatal wipeout by teaching a football player how to ride the waves, but her growing affection for him takes her eyes off the prize in a critical surfing competition.

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