The 1990s were something of a golden era for the movie industry, with many films made during the decade still looked back on with fondness.
It was a particularly noteworthy time for kids’ movies too, with titles like Toy Story, Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Home Alone and Babe proving hugely popular at the box office.
There were also plenty of sports movies made during the 90s, many of which have gone on to become big family favourites.
Ice hockey, baseball, basketball and bobsleigh were amongst the sports covered, highlighting how good filmmakers can turn their hand to a wide variety of subjects.
Read on as we look at some of the best sports movies for kids made during the 1990s.
The Mighty Ducks
This superb 1992 movie grossed over $50 million in the United States, inspiring two sequels and an animated television series.
Emilio Estevez plays Gordon Bombay, an arrogant defence lawyer whose personality traits leave a lot to be desired.
After winning his 30th case, Bombay goes out to celebrate but is arrested for drunk driving on the way home and is subsequently sentenced to community service.
He is tasked with coaching the local ‘District 5’ Pee-Wee hockey team, a ramshackle group who have limited ability and not much equipment.
An emotional roller-coaster follows, with Bombay eventually inspiring the team to win the state championship on penalty shots.
The Mighty Ducks is a classic underdog story and one of the best kids’ movies of the 1990s. Many fans of the sport even argue it’s the best ice hockey movie ever made, although that particular honour probably goes to ‘Miracle’.
Take a basketball legend, mix in a plethora of Looney Tunes characters, add in a few acting stars, and you end up with the magnificent Space Jam.
The film is the most successful basketball movie of all, grossing more at the box office than the likes of Coach Carter and White Men Can’t Jump.
Starring Michael Jordan, the movie tells the fictional story of what happened between Jordan’s premature retirement from the NBA in 1993 and his comeback two years later.
Jordan is signed-up by the Looney Tunes to play in a basketball match against a group of aliens who are trying to force them into becoming slaves in their amusement park.
This good-versus-evil tale works well on many levels, with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck delivering their usual wisecracking antics throughout the film.
Jordan manages to prove he can act a bit, while Bill Murray’s excellent performance made him relevant to a whole new audience.
A sequel, unsurprisingly entitled Space Jam 2, is scheduled for release in July 2021 and will star LeBron James and Sonequa Martin-Green.
The much-missed John Candy delivered one of his finest performances in the 1993 classic family movie, Cool Runnings.
The film is loosely based on the story of the Jamaican national bobsleigh team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Candy plays Irving ‘Irv’ Blitzer, a two-time gold-medalist at the Winter Olympics who was sent home from the 1972 edition for cheating.
A father of one of the team members persuades Blitzer to redeem himself by sharing his expertise with the Jamaican team.
The group are ridiculed by the many other teams, firing up Blitzer who sets about inspiring his men to achieve their goals.
They overcome various hurdles to secure a place in the finals, battling against the odds to climb up the leader board. The team look to be on their way to a medal, but a high speed crash ends their hopes.
The team refuse to give up, lifting the sled over their shoulders and walking across the finish line to a hero’s welcome. It’s a heart-warming climax to a great movie that is guaranteed to make you cry.
Rookie of the Year
Starring Thomas Ian Nicholas and Gary Busey, this 1993 baseball movie sticks to an established formula but manages to do it really well.
Nicholas plays Henry Rowengartner, an aspiring baseball player who breaks his arm while fielding during a little league game.
When his cast is removed, Henry’s tendons have healed in such a way that he is able to pitch the ball faster than most professionals.
He is subsequently signed by the Chicago Cubs, serving as relief pitcher to his hero Chet ‘Rocket’ Steadman. Rowengartner improves rapidly under Steadman, and manages to make his mark with the Cubs despite efforts by the club’s general manager and his mother’s boyfriend to exploit him.
Steadman gets injured in the final game of the season and Rowengartner is thrust into action, but a fall at the top of the ninth inning reduces his arm strength back to normal.
However, he keeps his nerve and uses a variety of clever tactics to defeat the New York Mets and win the divisional title for the Cubs. That proves to be his final appearance in the MLB and he returns to little league the following season.