Despite the 150 year existence of tennis, there have only been a handful of movies that have exclusively featured tennis. Other films that feature tennis haven't even been about tennis. There are a lot of lists on the web that list 'the best tennis films in history' or 'the top 10 tennis films of all-time'. Both of those headlines are absurdly false. First, most the films that feature tennis are quite awful. Second, there are hardly 10 films that completely feature tennis that could fill a top 10 list. To fill it, you would have to add films that have only tennis matches in them, and documentaries and docudramas. To help you better understand the history of tennis in film, I have separated this topic into two separate lists: scripted films and documentaries - both alphabetically, to avoid any subjectivity as to what films appear should from the top down based on my opinion. This is also not an exhaustive list, as it does not include short films, short documentaries or animated programs.
16-Love (2012) - Feature independent drama.
Balls Out: The Gary Houseman Story (2009) - Low brow, recycled, T and A feature comedy. From the thousands of scripts that were submitted to the Bluecat Screenwriting Competition in 2005, this was the winner. It was released direct-to-video. Enough said.
Break Point (2014) - Feature comedy with Oscar winner JK Simmons.
The Break (1995) - Cable TV film drama with Martin Sheen.
The Christian Licorice Store (1971) - Feature drama with Beau Bridges. Great title that is never explained in the film. Tennis player who is running on empty and burning the candle at both ends. Have never seen this. Would like to.
Hard, Fast And Beautiful (1951) - Feature drama with Claire Trevor. Despite the awkward, brow-raising title, one of the rare films that had tennis as the main focal point.
Jocks (1987) - Typical T and A teen feature comedy with (surprisingly) Mariska Hargitay. Probably worse than Balls Out (if that is possible). When the lead character has no name and is only referred to as 'the Kid', you're in for a film with no substance.
Little Mo (1978) - TV film drama with Glynnis O'Connor as Maureen Connolly.
Match Point (2005) - Feature drama with Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Woody Allen. Probably the most critically acclaimed of all tennis films, though tennis plays only a supporting role.
Nobody's Perfect (1990) - Feature comedy with Chad Lowe.
Pat and Mike (1952) - Feature romantic comedy with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Hepburn plays a star tennis player and played her own tennis in the film.
Players (1979) - Feature drama with Ali MacGraw and Dean Martin Jr. (who was a former junior player).
The Prince of Tennis (2006) - Feature drama from Japan.
Second Serve (1986) - TV film drama with Vanessa Redgrave as Renee Richards.
The Seven Percent Solution (1976) - Feature drama with Robert Duvall. Not a pure tennis film and included only for a tennis match played in the film.
Spring Fever (1982) - Another typical lowbrow feature teen comedy, almost as bad as Jocks and Balls Out. Notable because the lead role was played by a real tennis player, Canadian Carling Bassett, who would go on to be a top 10 player the following year.
Strangers on a Train (1951) - Feature psychological crime thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hands down, the best tennis film ever made. Although tennis is only a supporting character, it plays a crucial role in the film. That it is directed by the legendary Hitchcock, is good to know.
Tennis Anyone? (2006) - Feature independent drama.
Wimbledon (2004) - Feature romantic comedy with Kirsten Dunst. Filmed between matches at Wimbledon 2003.
Documentaries & Docudramas
7 Days in Hell (2015) - Mockumentary with Andy Samberg based on the famous history-making Isner/Mahut match at Wimbledon.
Jelenin Svet (2008) - Documentary on tennis player Jelena Jankovic.
Unmatched (2010) - Documentary on Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
Venus and Serena (2012) - Documentary on Venus and Serena Williams.
When Billie Beat Bobby (2001) - Docudrama based on the Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
The White Game (1968) - Documentary from Sweden on the protests at the 1968 Davis Cup match between Sweden and Rhodesia.
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