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Top 10 Gymnastics Movies

Updated on April 18, 2016

The Best of Gymnastics On the Silver Screen

Gymnastics is an awesome sport! It's exciting to watch the brave gymnasts complete dangerous routines on floor, bars, beam, and vault. I've been a gymnast for many years now, and I love the sport's beauty, grace and fearlessness.

Although the sport is not always represented well in films, it's fun to watch it go mainstream. Were you, like much of the world, inspired by the 2012 London Olympic gymnastics teams? Impressed with Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber? Unfortunately, the Summer Olympics only happens once every four years. By watching some of these fun gymnastics-themed movies, though, you can enjoy the beauty and fearlessness of the sport at any time.

Check out this list of gymnastics movies for more inspiration from a beautiful sport!

10. Gymkata: Worst Movie of the 80's

Ok, I lied. This list includes nine top gymnastics movies and one terrible one: Gymkata. Its scenes are so ridiculous that it's hard to believe this movie was not a comedy.

The plot: A top gymnast is recruited as a spy and must compete in a deadly competition known as "The games".

The gymnastics: The lead, Kurt Thomas was an American Olympic gymnast. This was probably his last feature film movie.

Conclusion: You can't watch this movie without cracking up in almost every scene! The acting is terrible and the plot ridiculous. I want to say it's so bad it's good, but I'm not sure it even qualifies for that dubious distinction.

Watch for yourself to see what I'm talking about:

9. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Lifetime Docu-drama

This movie is a Lifetime Original Movie based on a best-selling non-fiction book by Joan Ryan: Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters.

The plot: The movie is about a girl who moves to LA in order to chase Olympic dreams. With a difficult coach and super hard training schedule, it shows young female gymnasts pushing their bodies to the limit in order to achieve perfection. How far will they go to reach their goals and dreams?

The gymnastics: The gymnastics performances in this movie are quite good and include a performance by the famous Deaf gymnast Aimee Walker.

Conclusion: This made-for-TV movie is the Lifetime channel's attempt to put all the crazy treatment of gymnasts documented in Ryan's book into a single, extra melodramatic story. The ending is a little trite, but the performances are excellent (especially Swoozie Kurtz as the mom).

8. American Anthem: An 80s Classic

The plot: Starring gymnastics and teen angst, this 1986 movie portrays a love story between two gymnasts who prepare together for the Olympic trials while overcoming personal hardships in their own lives.

The gymnastics: The main character, Steve, is played by real-life American Olympian Mitch Gaylord. With its bright 80s enthusiasm and impressive athletics, there's no better movie to make you feel like going out and learning gymnastics.

Conclusion: In many ways this is a classic genre mash-up of the 80s sports movie and 80s teen romance. Think Teen Wolf or Footloose if the main character were a gymnast instead of a dancer/young werewolf. It's a little goofy but great fun.

7. The Gymnast: A Tale of Self-Discovery

This story about a former gymnast discovering new love and meaning is a critically acclaimed feature film.

The plot: A former gymnast whose career was ended by an injury and is stuck in a loveless marriage finds her life changing after she meets a beautiful acrobat.

The gymnastics: Despite its title, this film does not actually include much gymnastics. It does, however, have wonderful scenes of both dance and acrobatics. The scenes of the two women learning aerial acrobatics are as thrilling feats of athleticism and beauty as one could hope for in a gymnastics movie.

Conclusion: Although not as gymnastics-focused as the other movies on this list, The Gymnast has a more complex and emotionally stirring narrative and incredible scenes of acrobatics.

6. Lefty: The One-Armed Gymnast

The plot: This family-friendly movie from 1979 is about the true story of a one-armed gymnast, (I didn’t believe it either!) Carol Johnston.

The gymnastics: Lefty is a documentary starring the actual gymnast, so the gymnastics in it is as excellent as you would expect.

Conclusion: It's an old movie which would be hard to find if it weren't luckily on YouTube! Sweet and inspiring, this movie is great for kids.

5. Gymnast: A BBC documentary

The plot: A behind the scenes look at the world of gymnastics, this documentary gives us a glimpse of the lives of a group of hopeful gymnasts. The girls have to deal with pressure from parents, coaches and hard schedules. By the way, some of the parents in here are INTENSE. These young women are willing to risk everything in order to get into the 2008 Olympics.

The gymnastics: Again, the athleticism here is both real and impressive. Worth watching for the gymnastics alone.

Conclusion: This is an interesting and inspiring documentary.These girls are DEDICATED.

4. Nadia: The Story Behind the First Perfect 10

The plot: Nadia Comaneci was the world's first perfect 10. This family-friendly film from 1984 tells the story of her life, beginning with her being found in a playground and ending with her becoming a legend.

The gymnastics: The film makes you realize how much hard work is put into the sport. Gymnasts start training very young and "miss" their childhoods. Nadia's "perfect 10" was the product of complete dedication. The gymnastics scenes really show the work that goes into that perfection.

Conclusion: I saw this film a few weeks ago. It was a little cheesy but cute at the same time.

Did you know?

Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10.0 in the Olympics. She did it at the 1976 Games and then went on to score six more 10.0s and win three gold medals.

3. Perfect Body: Eating Disorders and Gymnastics.

The plot: This sad story tells of a gymnast who becomes obsessed with getting the "perfect body" for gymnastics. It shows how her eating disorder takes over her life and destroys her.

The gymnastics: Amy Jo Johnson, star of the film Power Rangers, is the lead. Johnson spent time as a competitive gymnast before her acting career and perfectly blends her athletic and acting skills in this role.

Conclusion: Eating Disorders have long been associated with the gymnastics sport. The quest for perfection, the tight leotards and the super strict coaching may be to blame. This movie was riveting and gave me a lot to think about.

(Christy Henrich, a world class gymnast actually died from anorexia in 1994 after a long battle with eating disorders. Her tragic death brought worldwide attention to a darker side of the sport.)

2. Peaceful Warrior: Succeeding Against Odds

The plot: Dan Millman has it all: straight A's, girls, looks and friends. He's a flawless gymnast and close to making it to the Olympics. But a motorcycle accident "shatters" his leg and his Olympic dreams. They say he'll be lucky to walk. He wants more. This movie was based on the book by real Olympic gymnast Dan Millman.

The gymnastics: Peaceful Warrior uses stunt doubles for the gymnastics, but I could only tell because I looked it up. The scenes of Dan on the rings are as good as what you'd see in a real competition.

Conclusion: This movie will definitely inspire you. Plus, the lead actor, Scott Mechlowicz, is really hot! (He was the lead in Euro Trip). One of my all time favorites!

A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does

— Peaceful Warrior

1. Stick It: It's Not Called Gym-NICE-tics!

And finally, my favorite movie and the gymnastic-themed version of Bring it On.

The plot: An ex-gymnast (Missy Peregym—who is fantastic here!) is forced to return to the world of gymnastics after an encounter with the law.

The gymnastics: This movie has it all: non-stop action, funny dialogue, beautiful actors and lots of daring gymnastics scenes!

Conclusion: Funny, creative, and entertaining, this is a brand new take on the world of gymnastics. Teens will especially love this one.

Stick It - stills from the film

Click thumbnail to view full-size

TV Show Honorable Mention: Make it Or Break it

The plot: They finally did it! Someone made a teenage mainstream TV show about gymnastics. The show is currently on season 3 and focuses on the journey to the Olympics of several elite gymnasts. Obviously there is lots of DRAMA: Boys, injuries, family problems...did I mention boys? These girls have a lot of guy drama.

The gymnastics: As a gymnast/ex-gymnast, you will at the very least get some laughs at the "gymnastics world" portrayal.

Conclusion: It’s not the most well done or inspiring show, but it is entertaining.

Are you a gymnast/ ex gymnast?

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    • profile image

      boo 37 hours ago

      I love Stick It so much my favourite character is Hailey Graham

    • profile image

      Bailey 2 months ago

      I love Gymnastics. I have been doing gymnastics since i was three years old. I am 15 years old and my dream is to become an all star gymnast.

    • profile image

      Gretha 2 months ago

      Reach for the stars. :)

    • profile image

      Riley 5 months ago

      Check out the gymnastics movie "chalk it up", too, I would definetly put it on the top ten list!

    • profile image

      Britney Buchanan 6 months ago

      I am 13 years old and always loved gymnastics....I loved watch my 2 favourtie gymnasts .....Gabby Douglas and Nastia Lukin. Although I got to know more about Gabby, from the move 'The story of Gabby Douglas'.

      Gabby thought me that although my parents can't afford to send me to the gym in Jamaica ....i should use my faith...and sometimes we should make sacrifices .I lobe that movies sooooo much

    • profile image

      Sherine Roberts 9 months ago

      I have always been into Gymnastics ever since school I love watching Gymnastics movies too I think I love this very much this is what I want to be forever and ever

    • profile image

      Lilly 10 months ago

      I've never found out about gymnastics until a couple months ago when I watched Make It Or Break It And It Was Love At First Sight

    • profile image

      julie baker 11 months ago

      i love gymnastics! when i first joined i never thought i would be as good as those other advanced girls on my team! this is my 15 year in gymnastics and i have all my skills! my next meet the UCLA gymnastics coach is coming to offer some of us scholarships! i cant wait and my coach said i have a 99.9% chance of getting in!! i got my full out doube back handsring back layot ending w a full yesterday!!

    • profile image

      sweetpie 12 months ago

      I love gymnastics but I can't do a handstand on bars

    • profile image

      Gymnast 332 13 months ago

      Once on Netflix their was a movie that took place in britten

    • profile image

      Bailey 15 months ago

      I thought that the Gabby Douglas story was an amazing movie!!! It is on Netflix . It's good for your girl or boy to watch to learn about her

    • profile image

      Dee 2 years ago

      There was also an awesome documentary about Lavinia Milosevic that the BBC put out many years ago (my personal idol). It is on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWVMWTOzbgw and portrays the other side of gymnastics... How it is to train so hard and ultimately not succeed. After all, how many gymnasts actually do!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @theXodus: i cant wait for more make it or break it am addictedvto it i love it pls i want more episode

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      Haven't seen most of these. Great selection!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Some new movies i have found here! Thank you.

    • kcsantos profile image

      kcsantos 4 years ago

      wow, haven't seen any of these. I'll check them out late! Thanks!

    • profile image

      smileysj 4 years ago

      Great lens! The clip of Gymkata had me in stitches...so funny! Will definitely check out the other films :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love gymnastics i think its the most important sport in the world i love it so much my dream it to make it to the Olympics if i even get that far many have said im too tall but that's the same thing they said about nastasia luken and look at her now amazing

    • theXodus profile image

      theXodus 5 years ago

      Missy Peregym is so beautiful and has an amazing body in that movie!

    • onebrightlight profile image

      onebrightlight 5 years ago

      I love gymnastics and wish I could have partake as a child. But at 50, I suspect I'm way to old to even consider such a feet. Ironically I often have dreams of being on the uneven parallel bars!

    • profile image

      DMVAgent 5 years ago

      so remarkable lens, you did a great job. this lens is so interesting, i like reading this lens!

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I'm loving watching the gymnastics this year at the olympics...so much strength and elegance at all once.

    • profile image

      Bobski606 5 years ago

      I would love to be a gymnast but unfortunately a genetic condition prevents me from doing so, instead I stick with martial arts. Brilliant lens, thanks, for sharing.

    • Escapes2 profile image

      Escapes2 5 years ago

      I have to check out some of those movies. Sadly, I have only heard of Stick It. My daughter is a level 10 gymnast so my house eats, breathes and sleeps gymnastics.

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 5 years ago

      Great lens. I love watching gymnastics.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      Excellent list. There are a few here I have seen and others I have not seen or heard about, so thank you for those. I LOVE STICK IT!! I think it's a WONDERFUL movie.

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      Great lens.

    • squidoogiftsfor profile image

      squidoogiftsfor 5 years ago

      fantastic lens - well done

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 5 years ago

      Saw and liked Peaceful Warrior besides the hokey title. Didn't know there was a film about Nadia Comaneci, will have to check it out.

    • top101 profile image
      Author

      top101 5 years ago

      @Mandy Stradley: Me too! Its so soon :)

    • top101 profile image
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      top101 5 years ago

      @kburns421 lm: Thanks so much! Yes, I watched Gymkata with my family and we were cracking up! We couldn't believe the scenes we were watching were happening...

      Always great to hear from former gymnasts--I think you will especially enjoy these movies as someone who knows the sport.

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 5 years ago

      Wow, this lens is great! As a former gymnast, I'm kind of ashamed I didn't know about these movies. After reading your description and watching the trailer for "Gymkata," I have to see it haha. I also really want to see "The Gymnast" because I now perform circus, so that movie has both of my passions. I will most likely be back to buy some of these through Amazon soon!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      I can't wait to watch gymnastics in the olympics!

    • profile image

      kmyangel 5 years ago

      My sister is a very big fan of gymnastic but sadly never practiced this sport ! I think she would love to see a gymnastic movie !

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Nice lens! Great job!

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have one daughter who is very athletic and can't draw a stick figure. I have another one who is a beautiful artist and drives her bike into walls. She broke her arm the day she got accepted to art school.

    • cornell-tol profile image

      cornell-tol 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      DARdreams 5 years ago

      I am/was a gymnast (once a gymnast, always a gymnast?) and own the movie "Stick It," but didn't know about these other gymnastics movies. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have seen The Gymnast and it is a great movie! Make sure you watch all the way through the credits, the last 30 seconds are my favorite!

    • imlifestyle profile image

      imlifestyle 5 years ago

      My daughter is in gymnastics and really loves to participate. This a good start for her to see what it takes to go further in the sport. Thanks

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Amazing skills, but I shudder watching gymnastics - am always so worried that somebody will hurt themselves.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I was a gymnast MANY years ago! Great movie picks! :)

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Cool lens, I had no idea there were even 10 movies about Gymnastics. Definitely going to check out some of these.

    • baseballbrains lm profile image

      baseballbrains lm 5 years ago

      This is an awesome lens, great videos!

    • top101 profile image
      Author

      top101 5 years ago

      @julieannbrady: Me too! thanks for reading :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I love watching the Olympics with all those worldwide gymnasts who defy explanation with their marvelous routines.