My fascination for gymnastics began when I started following the Olympics. Seeing all those athletic and talented young women defy gravity was truly life-changing. I was so enthralled by this sport that I would even watch movies about it. And over the years, I have watched so many of them. Here are the 13 best gymnastic movies that I have come across.
While all these films have gymnastics as their core, they also have different stories to tell. Behind every gymnast is a human being who has their triumphs, challenges, and whatnot. They have felt all kinds of emotions, even when not in competition mode.
These films can give people an insight into what it takes to be a gymnast and the person behind the athlete. If you love gymnastics as much as I do, watch them as soon as you can!
1. Full Out (2015)
English 1h 30m IMDb
Director: Sean Cisterna
Stars: Ana Golja, Jennifer Beals, Sarah Fisher
Ariana Berlin was a young woman with big dreams. She was working towards fulfilling her Olympic dreams when tragedy struck. Anyone athlete who has gone through something career-ending can probably relate to Ariana. She went through a period of loathing and pitying themselves. Things start looking better when Ariana starts working with a group of hip-hop dancers.
One of the best lessons from the movie is it will inspire you to work through your pain and recover from setbacks. Despite what happened to her, Ariana was able to get back into shape and reclaim her dream.
2. Peaceful Warrior (2006)
English 2h IMDb
Director: Victor Salva
Stars: Scott Mechlowicz, Nick Nolte, Amy Smart
If you like movies based on real life events, then look for Peaceful Warrior. This was based on the 1980 book by Dan Millman.
Changes happen in the main character’s life after meeting a special person. And he also goes through a rough patch that affected his college gymnastic career.
There are a lot of takeaways from Peaceful Warrior. Socrates, the man Dan meets, teaches him valuable lessons about life, including how we are blocking our own greatness. Some of the greatest battles we will face are within our mind and spirit.
3. The Gabby Douglas Story (2014)
English 1h 26m IMDb
Gabby Douglas is one of the most popular gymnasts in the United States. And behind her successful career, there’s a story that needs to be told. And this movie is the perfect vehicle for this. There might be someone out there who will find Gabby’s life story inspirational.
Before she found success, Gabby and her family went through so much. They had to sacrifice a lot but never wavered in their belief of Gabby’s talent. These and many other scenes in the movie are just some of the pivotal moments that shaped Gabby as a person and champion athlete.
4. Nadia (1984)
English 1h 40m IMDb
Director: Alan Cooke
Stars: Talia Balsam, Jonathan Banks, Joe Bennett
If you are an avid follower of gymnastics, you probably know who Nadia Comaneci is. At the age of 14 years old, she wowed the world when she managed to get a perfect 10 score at the Olympics.
Despite all the achievements, the young Nadia from Romania went through various ordeals. In the movie, we get to see what went on in Nadia’s life – from her childhood to her success as a Olympic gymnast. If you are getting into gymnastics and want some inspiration, check out Nadia as soon as you can.
5. The Gymnast (2006)
English 1h 36m IMDb
Director: Ned Farr
Stars: Dreya Weber, Addie Yungmee, David De Simone
Dreya Weber plays failed Olympic gymnast Jane who has had it tough. She gets the chance to showcase her abilities when she gets to work with acrobats. And Jane gets a new lease on life when she reignites her passion and meets Serena.
It seems everything about this movie is as smooth as the moves the actors in the film had to do. The story and characters were great, including Addie Yungmee who plays Serena. And of course, props to Dreya Weber for putting together the beautiful aerial choreographies in the film.
6. The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar (2018)
English 1h 26m IMDb
Director: Vanessa Parise
Stars: Simon Akenhead, Tim Beckmann, Raven Bowens
You don’t even have to be a gymnastics fan to know who the iconic Simone Biles is. So if you are interested to know about the inspiring person behind the powerhouse athlete, there’s no better way to do so than watching this movie.
Life was not always rainbows and butterflies for Simone. Her mother had many issues to deal with, leaving a young Simone in foster care. Despite all these challenges, the film shows how Simone persevered and became who she is today. And to add, the family’s support for Simone is something to look up to!
7. Perfect Body (1997)
English 1h 40m IMDb
Director: Douglas Barr
Stars: Amy Jo Johnson, Brett Cullen, Wendie Malick
In this movie, Amy Jo Johnson plays a gymnast who develops an eating disorder. Perfect Body features an issue that many athletes face behind closed doors. As much as we hate to admit it, there’s a lot of pressure that goes into being a gymnast. It’s no surprise that some gymnasts like Andy in the movie go to the extreme to achieve the perfect look and form.
There are a lot of valuable things the viewers can learn from the movie, especially body image issues. If you know young girls who aspire to become gymnasts, please let them watch this film.
8. The Bronze (2015)
English 1h 40m IMDb
Director: Bryan Buckley
Stars: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson
Coming across an R-rated gymnastics movie is rare. But if it’s something that tickles your fancy, 2016’s The Bronze is right there!
An Olympic has-been, Hope, has been clinging to her local fame since winning a Bronze for years. But things change when a young gymnast threatens that and Hope has no choice but to become its mentor.
This is perfect for those who don’t mind a raunchy and funny sports themed film. It’s definitely not for people who are easily offended, especially since there are scenes that they might find crass.
9. White Palms (2006)
Russian, English, Hungarian 1h 37m IMDb
Director: Szabolcs Hajdu
Stars: Zoltán Miklós Hajdu, Kyle Shewfelt, Gheorghe Dinica
Gymnastics training in Eastern Europe back in the day was as intense as military boot camps. It was frightening and traumatic, especially for young gymnasts. This is what the lead character in White Palms, Dongo, looks back on as he attempts to coach a talented but pompous gymnast in Canada.
White Palms is a beautiful and complex Hungarian film that allows the viewers to look into Dongo’s past and what haunts him. He comes across what has transpired many years ago back in his home country. He then comes to terms with the past and lets go of the burden.
10. Jump Ashin (2011)
Mandarin, Min Nan 2h 6m IMDb
Director: Yu-Hsien Lin
Stars: Eddie Peng, Yi-Chen Lee, Lawrence Ko
One of the most intriguing things about this is that the movie is based on the life of the director’s brother. Jump Ashin is a story about the struggles of gymnast Xin in 1980s Taiwan. His family, particularly his mother, was not too keen on his gymnastic aspirations. He quits gymnastics but finds himself in various troubles.
The movie perfectly encapsulates the mood of Taiwan during this era. While the storyline might be something you have heard of before, it’s still something worthy of your time, especially if you aspire to follow your dreams.
11. Stick It (2006)
English 1h 43m IMDb
Director: Jessica Bendinger
Stars: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Bridges, Vanessa Lengies
Wild child Haley Graham (played by Missy Peregrym) is left with no choice but to get back to gymnastics training or see the four walls of a gym. That is the premise of 2016’s Stick It.
While the movie won’t ever be groundbreaking, it’s an entertaining and hilarious movie about a teenager and gymnastics. Consider it as one of your guilty pleasure films! There’s also some comedy in the movie, so you know you are in for a laugh! And at the end of the film, you will be reminded of the importance of redemption and rediscovering your passion.
12. Perfect 10 (2020)
English 1h 23m IMDb
Director: Eva Riley
Stars: Frankie Box, Alfie Deegan, Sharlene Whyte
While watching Perfect 10, you would never think that this is the director’s feature film debut. The film centers on teenage gymnast, Leigh, who finds out she has a half-brother. Her discovery of her new sibling is only the beginning of this drama.
In Perfect 10, the movie is full of different emotions, ranging from happiness, sorrow, and fragility. These range of feelings and sentiments are expressed well by the cast, specifically by Frankie Box.
13. Olga (2021)
Russian, French, German, Italian, English, Ukrainian 1h 25m IMDb
Director: Elie Grappe
Stars: Anastasiia Budiashkina, Sabrina Rubtsova, Caterina Barloggio
Imagine how difficult it must be to leave home, go to another country, and train for a gymnastics competition. Olga, the main character in the movie, goes through all that and more.
There is more to this film than just a teenage girl who moved to Switzerland and trained at the gymnastics center. It exhibits these complicated emotions coming through an exiled girl, Olga. She has to deal with these while committing to being the best at her sport. And this is in addition to complications brought about by a revolution happening in the background of the story.
Power Tumble With These Gymnastics Movies
We all know that gymnastics requires a lot of talent and training. And for some of us who can’t perform any of these complicated routines, we can always find comfort in the 13 best gymnastics movies. These movies are here to entertain, inspire, and educate even those who can’t cartwheel for their lives.