Gymnastics are fun to watch, and it encompasses many subsets such as balance beam, uneven parallel bars, still rings, vault, and the high bar. It is also a sport that features many great stars such as Nadia Comaneci, Gabby Douglas, and Simone Biles. To get to where they are, these gymnasts have to shed blood and sweat and overcome many challenges along the way. Let’s get to know these amazing people by checking out the gymnastics movies below!
12 Reviews of Gymnastics Movies
1. American Anthem (1986)
This movie is a classic among gymnastic enthusiasts. The sports drama film revolves around the life of Steve Tevere (portrayed by American Olympic champion, Mitch Gaylord) and the struggles he faces on the rise to success as a gymnast.
Steve fights with his father and in the aftermath, quits the gym team and even refuses the college scholarship. He still however visits the gym to spy on his teammates. One time, he meets a beautiful new athlete (played by Janet Jones) – whom he immediately falls for and decides to get back to the team to compete for the Olympics.
|Stars||Mitch Gaylord, Janet Jones|
|Studio||Lorimar Home Video|
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2. Stick It (2006)
Stick It is a teen comedy-drama film written and directed by Jessica Bendinger and one of the best gymnastics movies of all time. It’s about the life of an American elite gymnast, whose rise to success is a struggle against several odds. The movie is meant to inspire the young gymnasts-to-be about what it takes to succeed.
Haley Graham (played by Missy Peregym) is a rebellious 17-year-old who gets into trouble with the law. She is then arrested and forced to return to the elite Vickerman Gymnastics Academy as a year earlier she walked out of the World Championships and cost America a gold medal.
|Stars||Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Vanessa Gries, Gia Carides, Julie Warner|
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3. The Gymnast (2006)
The Gymnast is a drama written and directed by Ned Farr about a semi-retired gymnast’s second chance at success and happiness.
Jane Hawkins (played by Dreya Weber) used to be an Olympic gymnast, whose career came to an abrupt end following an injury. Now in her 40s, Jane is married to David (David de Simone), works as a massage therapist, and still exercises to keep in shape.
By chance, she meets a gymnastic trainer Nicole (Mam Smith) who introduces her to aerial dance – which she starts practicing with a partner – Serena (Addie Yungmee), a Korean American. Starting from this moment on, Jane starts feeling alive again with her newfound passion; and something new starts developing between the two dance partners.
|Stars||Dreya Weber, Addie Yungmee, David De Simone|
|Studio||Fearless Angels Productions|
4. Jump Ashin! (2011)
Jump Ashin! is a sports drama based on a real-life story of the director’s brother. Lin Yu Shin (played by Eddie Peng) is a talented gymnast. However, his mother is convinced there is no future in this sport and forces him to abandon training to help run the family’s fruit stand. Lacking motivation, Ashin gets into trouble with the local gang and has to run to the city, where he renews his passion for the sport he loves.
|Stars||Eddie Peng, Lawrence Ko|
5. An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars (2012)
The film is a family drama directed by Vince Marcello – based on a McKenna book in the American Girl series written by Mary Casanova. It is about the life of McKenna Brooks as the teenager (Jade Pettyjohn) tries to balance between school commitments and her budding career as a gymnast.
|Stars||Jade Pettyjohn, Ysa Penarejo, Nia Vardalos…|
|Studio||Universal Pictures Home Entertainment|
6. The Gabby Douglas Story (2014)
The Gabby Douglas Story is a biographical movie based on the real-life events of Gabrielle C. V. Douglas – an American all-around Olympic champion in both the years 2012 and 2015. It is also considered one of the best gymnastics movies. She is also the first African American to become an Olympic all-round champion.
Born into a family of four kids, Gabby (Imani Hakim and Sydney Mikayla) begins training gymnastics at the age of 6 following the advice of her older sister and finds her true calling. At 8, she wins the Virginia State Championships all-round. At the age of 14, Gabby moves to Iowa to train with her dream coach, Liang Chow (Brian Tee).
The film highlights the hardships Gabby has to overcome to eventually get to where she’s at.
|Stars||Imani Hakim, Sydney Mikayla, Brian Tee…|
|Studio||Sony Pictures Entertainment|
7. Full Out (2015)
Full Out is a young-adult drama based on a real-life story of American gymnast Ariana Berlin. The main actress in this film – Ana Golja playing Ariana, received the Canadian Screen Awards nomination for Best Performance.
Ariana is an enthusiastic gymnast – hoping to compete for the UCLA team (University of California, Los Angeles) when her dream is cut short due to a road accident. Devastated and yet determined to get back to the game, Ariana trains hard under the care of a dedicated coach named Val (Jennifer Beals). This movie teaches us a lot about resilience and bouncing back in the face of adversities.
|Stars||Jennifer Beals, Ana Golja, Art Hindle…|
|Studio||Carmel Creek Productions|
8. Raising The Bar (2016)
Raising The Bar is an Australian film. A 16-year-old Kelly (played by Kelli Berglund) leaves the elite gymnastics team as her family moves from America to Adelaide, South Australia. Here she starts a new life at a new school, where she meets Nicola (Lilli Karamalikis). Nicola needs help to join the school gymnastic club – forcing Kelly to coach her. As the club members see Kelly in action, they realize how important she would be for the club to win the inter-state competition.
Another theme explored in this movie is immigration. For more immigration movies, check out our other post dedicated to this topic.
|Stars||Kelli Berglund, Peta Shannon, Lilli Karamalikis|
9. The Bronze (2016)
The Bronze is a sports comedy-drama film directed by Bryan Buckley and written by Melissa Rauch and Winston Rauch. The film revolves around the life of Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch, best known for her role as a sassy nerd girlfriend on “The Big Bang Theory”) – a former bronze medalist, who has been living off her celebrity status in her hometown Ohio ever since.
One day she receives a letter asking her to coach a local rising gymnastic star, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson) – upon which she’ll receive a financial reward. Hope is sitting on the fence – should she try to train Maggie to achieve things she could not? Or should she sabotage Maggie just so she could remain the only star in her hometown?
|Stars||Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch…|
10. Chalk It Up (2016)
Chalk It Up is an American gymnastic film directed by Hisonni Johnson, a former gymnast. The movie features stars from Stick It such as Maddy Curley, Nikki SooHoo, and Julie Warner.
Apple (Maddy Curley) is a student at Greene University. Her main goal is to marry her rugby-playing boyfriend, Todd. When the rugby team gets disbanded and Todd has to transfer to another school, Apple decides to found a women’s gymnastics club hoping for Todd to return. Being the first-ever gymnastic club at Greene, Apple and her friends’ journey is nothing close to easy.
|Stars||Maddy Curley, John DeLuca, Nikki SooHoo…|
11. Nadia Comaneci: The Gymnast and the Dictator (2016)
The documentary is about the life of Nadia Comaneci – a world’s gymnastic legend; it is considered one of the best gymnastics movies. She is best known for her perfect score of 10.0 at the 1976 Summer Olympics game in Montreal. Throughout her career, Nadia won 9 Olympic medals.
Appearing on stage with red ribbons in her hair, the Romanian gymnast is credited with popularizing the sports all over the world. The documentary also examines the social atmosphere of Romania at the time – under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union cause certain restrictions on the Olympic Games as well as Nadia’s life.
12. A Second Chance: Rivals (2019)
Being a sequel to the 2011 Australian family drama A 2nd Chance, this film is set 10 years after the original movie. This time, the former world-class gymnast Maddie Cornell (played by Emily Morris) gets into an accident during practice that ends her dream to compete at the Olympics.
Devastated, she goes back to her hometown in South Australia to recuperate, where she meets Beverly (Carmel Johnson) – who coaches the local gymnast team. To reignite her passion for the sports, Maddie agrees to coach the youngsters and hopes to build them up on par with the city girls.
|Stars||Emily Morris, Stella Shute, Adam Touminen…|
Best Gymnastics Movies – FAQs
The 7 main types are: women’s artistic, men’s artistic, rhythmic, trampoline, tumbling, acrobatic, and group.
Simone Biles is considered the best female gymnast of all time – having won 25 world-title medals.
The best male gymnast of all time is Kohei Uchimura from Japan. He has won 7 Olympic medals, 3 of which are gold.
Best Gymnastics Movies: Conclusion
Hopefully, you’ve found for yourself a gymnastic movie that you like, found the time to watch it, and be inspired by these amazing gymnasts. To us, just watching them flipping around and doing crazy stunts is somewhat satisfying. There are even gymnastics classes now offered in Hollywood style. Aside from the aesthetic performances, we feel these films teach us a lot about life, about figuring out your callings and pursuing them to the ends, and that the road to success is an uneven path.