My Top “Fire Up” Movies

I’m not exactly a movie buff but boy do I love a good flick. My many years on the road as a professional athlete meant a lot of down time – traveling, in transit or just unwinding after a days training or competing. Movie time before bed became routine for me and still is (although a bit more of a luxury now with two energetic boys).

After all the boxes get ticked off for the day, it’s nice to just switch off and escape in a movie. Escape the intensity of the day I suppose and just give myself a chance to re-set. However, from time to time, I’ve come to rely on a certain list of movies that I watch for one reason only – to fire me up. Whether I’ve hit a performance slump, had a shocker day or just need some good old m-o-t-i-v-a-t-i-o-n and an extra lift, this list of favourites (which I have re-hashed more than I can count) seem to do the trick.

My top “fire up” movies (in no particular order)….



I’m a big Rocky fan (the whole box set) and it shocks me these days to know that many of the younger Gen Y’s have never seen any of the Rocky films. Their loss I suppose. Even the soundtrack is a worthy investment! If I really need a fire up or I’m down in the dumps (and need to get out immediately), I go straight to Rocky III or IV. Without question…they both seem to do the trick.

Favourite line: (Rocky IV) “You’re gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you’ve ever dreamed. But when it’s over, I know you’ll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it”. – Duke



A brilliant documentary on Brazilian Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34. I never want to believe the ending to this film…  It’s depicts the ultimate rivalry between himself and nemesis Alain Prost – guys that hated each other to begin with but with time their mutual respect starts to turn into friendship. It’s got loads to draw upon – courage, resilience, passion, focus and more.



This is a great Olympic film. A true underdog story that will never get old of the young 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey Team’s journey to GOLD over the seemingly invincible Russian squad at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980. A must watch for any athlete and coach!

Favourite line: “Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it”. – Herb Brooks



Classic. Just an all round great film especially when you need to feel fierce despite the knowing risks/sacrifices elite sport brings.

Favourite line: “What we do in life, echos an eternity” – Maximus



A washed up golf pro starts giving golf lessons to a psychologist who figures out pretty quickly that he has unfinished business as a golfer and helps him all the way back to the US Open. ….Damn, I should have picked a sport I could still play at 90!

Favourite line: “When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you”. -Tin Cup