The Boy in Blue [1986]

Nicholas Cage stars as Ned Hanlan, the late-19th century Canadian sculler and world champion. Hanlan was one of the first scullers to successfully utilise the “sliding seat.” A wild, uncontrollable youth, Ned Hanlan is adopted by a gambler named Bill who promotes the boy on the sculling circuit for his own monetary gain.


True Blue [1997 then rereleased as ‘Miracle at Oxford’ in 2004]

At the 1986 Boat Race, Oxford University suffered its first defeat by Cambridge in 11 years. Angry at the outcome, American Oxford oarsman Rick Ross imports all of his mates from the US National squad into Oxford as post-graduates so they can help redeem the Oxford programme. But the Americans pull out just six weeks before the race, leaving Oxford’s coach to build an inexperienced crew into a winning team.


Eight Girls in a Boat [1934]

While attending an exclusive Swiss private school where rigid discipline is maintained, rowing is prescribed as a means to distract and occupy the girls. But one girl, Christa Storm, falls for a young medical student and soon discovers that she is going to have a baby. She keeps the pregnancy secret until she eventually has to admit her pregnancy to the team when she collapses during a punishing workout.


Oxford Blues [1984]

Nick Di Angelo is working in a Las Vegas casino to earn enough money to pursue the woman of his dreams, Lady Victoria Wingate, to Oxford. He believes the only way to win her is to get into Oxford University and join the rowing team.


Losing sight of shore [2017]

This documentary recounts the feats of the Coxless Crew, a team of four women who rowed from San Francisco to Cairns in Australia in support of two charities. The team set two world records: the first group of four rowers to ever cross the Pacific and first all-female team to ever do the same. Available on Netflix.


Bonus – A Most Beautiful Thing (2020)

Originally headed to debut at SXSW film festival, the much-anticipated documentary feature, A Most Beautiful Thing, narrated by Grammy and Oscar-winning artist Common, opens in select cities in the United States on July 10 2020. The film chronicles the first Afro-American high school rowing team in the nation (made up of young men from the West Side of Chicago, many of whom were from rival gangs, all coming together to row in the same boat.) The story is based on Arshay Cooper’s self-published memoir.


Have you seen these movies? Here is an additional list to pique your interest.

–          Pieces of Eight

–          Pull Like a Dog

–          Backwards

–          A Fine Balance

–          Social Network

–          Boys of ’36

–          10 jakih (Sinkovic brothers)

–          The Crew

–          Gold Fever

–          Dare to Be

–          Summer Storm

–          Zweier Ohne

–          Der Alte, in schwarzen Tunnel

–          A Hero for Daisy