Lacrosse is a popular sport in North America, featuring a team-oriented atmosphere and fast-paced action. Like many other classic sports, the game of lacrosse has become a subject matter for an increasing number of films. Listed below are the top films about or involving lacrosse.
What Are the Most Popular Lacrosse Movies?
- The Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation
- Crooked Arrows
- Keepers of the Game
- The Grizzlies
- A Warrior’s Heart
1. The Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation
The Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation, is a 2017 sports documentary that follows both the spiritual and physical matters in the sport of lacrosse. This documentary is especially important because it tells the story of the game of lacrosse from the perspective of the Iroquois tribe and the role the sport plays in the culture of the people who originated the game.
In addition to the major themes it addresses, this documentary also follows The Iroquois National Lacrosse Team as they compete in the 2015 World Box Lacrosse Championships. The Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation takes the top ranking due to the emphasis it gives on sharing the story of the sport of lacrosse through the lens of those who originated it.
2. Crooked Arrows
In the 2012 drama Crooked Arrows, a new lacrosse coach leads a team of young indigenous lacrosse players to a championship against its wealthier, non-indigenous, prep-school rival. The coach, a son of the chief of a fictional tribe and former lacrosse star, Joe, runs the casino on the tribe’s land and secures approval from the tribal council to expand, though his father disapproves.
The condition for the expansion is that Joe must go on a spiritual journey, deciding to restore the high school lacrosse team on the reservation, to bring pride back to the tribe and its game. Though following a generic sports movie formula, Crooked Arrows earns the second spot due to its portrayal of Native American history and culture, and the film is backed by the Onondaga Nation.
3. Keepers of the Game
Keepers of the Game documents the journey of a high school girls lacrosse team in the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. The 2016 documentary directly addresses important societal issues such as gender, stereotypes, sexism and racism afflicting the team beyond the reservation. It also highlights the ongoing battle to preserve native traditions, rituals, and history both within the reservation and beyond.
Keepers of the Games earns a spot on the list not only for its raw portrayal of the sport of lacrosse itself, but because it gives light to a real life example of the societal issues plaguing Native American peoples and the fight that many girls lacrosse programs have to prove that they are legitimate.
4. The Grizzlies
In The Grizzlies, inspired by a true story, a teacher, Russ, inspires his underdog students to play lacrosse and overcome the issues plaguing their arctic community. The remote, canadian arctic village is bleak and has the highest suicide rate in all of North America. Many of the students in the film are caught between the education system and cultural practices, stuck in toxic relationships and headed for failure.
The lacrosse team is formed when Russ thinks it would benefit his students to take out their emotions through sport, giving them goals to aspire to. The Grizzlies creatively exhibits the culture of indigenous arctic peoples and their dynamics, while providing a heartwarming sports narrative, showcasing how sports can heal communities.
5. A Warrior’s Heart
A Warrior’s Heart is a 2011 romcom centered on a lacrosse player and his classmate.The main character is Conor Sullivan, a lacrosse player who recently moved from California to Virginia, is arrogant, has a temper, and lacks teamwork skills. After loss and grief strike Connor’s life, his teammate and friend decides that he has to intervene, taking Connor to a wilderness camp where he teaches him the tribal origins of lacrosse and the Iroquois belief in a creation divinity.
Though the move is predictable by nature, it is a heartwarming look at how the sport of lacrosse, and sport in general, can help someone overcome a difficult period in their life and emerge better on the other side. It is also a love story.
Fate of A Sport
Fate of A Sport is a documentary that details the struggle of the Rabil brothers starting a new sports league during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Paul Rabil, a professional lacrosse player who played for the PLL (Professional Lacrosse League), and his brother Mike Rabil form their new lacrosse league. The new league they form is called the Premier Lacrosse League. Directed by Michael Doneger, this film was released in 2022 and was a part of the Tribeca Film Festival.
Toe to Toe
Toe to Toe is a 2009 drama about a friendship between two high school women’s lacrosse players. The film centers on Jesse, a rich white girl, and Tosha, a new African-American girl from an impoverished area of town. Set at a fictional DC prep school, the two senior girls struggle relating to one another both on and off the pitch, finding common ground as teammates and, ultimately, as friends. Though Toe to Toe is not as educational about lacrosse as other great films, it provides a heartwarming story about women’s lacrosse and friendship.
American Pie is a classic 90’s comedy with elements of lacrosse in it. This film documents a group of friend’s senior year of high school as they navigate the complexity of relationships, academics, and social status. Actor Chris Klein, “Oz” in the movie, along with actor Seann William Scott, “Steve Stifler”, are on the lacrosse team together. Though there are many other elements to the film, Oz has to balance his reputation and commitments to the lacrosse team with his aspiring singing career in the school’s acapella group.
What is the best lacrosse movie?
The best lacrosse movie of all time is The Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation. This documentary takes a deep dive into the history of lacrosse, taking place at the birthplace of the sport in the Iroquois Nation. The movie highlights the game of lacrosse through the lens of its creators, who have passed the sport down for several generations.