11 Best Tennis Movies to Watch After the US Open


King Richard

Based on the real-life story of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, King Richard is a dramatic retelling of the family’s life before fame. The film also garnered six Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor win for Will Smith—who played Richard Williams, the father of the future icons.

Watch on Amazon Watch on Max


The Royal Tenenbaums

Luke Wilson stars as tennis prodigy Richie Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson’s early, star-studded hit. Mirroring the turbulent personality of American John McEnroe, there’s a scene in the film in which Richie absolutely melts down, squandering his chance at a promising tennis career.

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Match Point

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson star in this Woody Allen psychological thriller, which involves murder and a tennis instructor. It follows Allen’s tennis scene in Annie Hall over thirty years prior, now part of the central premise of the drama.

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Strangers on a Train

There’s nothing more intense than a sport that pits two athletes against each other, mano a mano. In Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, the intensity of a tennis match is juxtaposed with the suspense of a man trying to frame one of the players for murder.

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7 Days in Hell

Starring Andy Samberg and Kit Harington, 7 Days in Hell is a mockumentary film inspired by the 2010 Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut that famously went on over the course of three days. What if that was extended to a full week? Comedy gold.

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Bridesmaids is one the last truly remarkable good comedy films, so of course it features a tennis scene. In an impassioned match between Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne, the two actresses put traditional tennis aside—just to pelt each other as hard as they can.

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Starring Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst—one a slipping tennis pro in his thirties and the other a rising star—Wimbledon is a classic romantic comedy. Even so, the tennis film features some exciting matches, including some volleys against One Tree Hill‘s Austin Nichols.

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Battle of the Sexes

Though not the greatest film on this list, Battle of the Sexes recounted the inspiring story of Billie Jean King and the WTA, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. As the tennis world celebrates 50 years of equal pay for women, we have no one to thank but Billie Jean Kinga 12-time grand slam champion in her own right.

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Definetely the most bizarre film included here, Antonioni’s main character in Blow-Up walks past a tennis court full of mimes. Trying to throw the ball back after its hit over the fence, the mimes all turn their attention toward him. Horrifying.

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Chevy Chase stars in 1985’s Fletch, as an undercover reporter investigating a country club. While questioning his mark’s wife on the tennis court, he ends up flirting with her instead.

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California Suite

An all-star cast of Richard Pryor, Alan Alda, Walter Matthau, Maggie Smith, Jane Fonda, Michael Caine, Elaine May, and Sheila Frazier appear in 1978’s California Suite, including a scene of Pryor busting his ass on the tennis court.

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The Squid and the Whale

Surely, we couldn’t end our list of tennis scenes without including Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale. The Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, and Jesse Eisenberg picture features a family tennis match that turns uncomfortably competitive quickly. In classic Baumbach fashion, the scene is mom vs. dad—to disastrous results.

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Headshot of Josh Rosenberg

Josh Rosenberg

Assistant Editor

Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.

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