It’s fitting that a film about
Michael Jordan is arguably the G.O.A.T. sports
By providing an unprecedented
look at the greatest athlete of all-time, “The Last Dance”
captivated hundreds of millions of people and entered the
zeitgeist. In addition to being insanely popular, it was critically
acclaimed and won many awards.
Very few documentaries are able
to check all three of those boxes, and it’s almost unheard of for a
There have been other incredible
sports documentaries including "Hoop Dreams" (1994), "OJ: Made in
America" (2016), "When We Were Kings" (1996), "Icarus" (2017) and
"Free Solo" (2018). These are all Oscar-winning films, aside from
"Hoop Dreams" (which was controversially snubbed and led to an
overhaul of the Academy's nomination process).
Still, "The Last Dance" has a
More than 15 million viewers saw
the first episode of "The Last Dance" and roughly 6 million tuned
in live each week, making it ESPN’s most-watched documentary of
all-time. People all over the world were interested too; after just
four weeks on Netflix, 28.3 million people outside of the United
States had already streamed it.
For comparison, "Free Solo" was
watched by roughly 4 million people in theaters (it grossed $29.3
million) and its TV premiere drew just 1.45 million viewers.
"The Last Dance" received a
positive rating from 97% of critics and 95% of audience members
Tomatoes. On Metacritic, it has a critic score of 90 and a user
score of 9.2 (both of which indicate "universal acclaim").
Also, it won an Emmy for
Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series, and it also won
awards at the AAFCA Awards, TCA Awards, Producers Guild of America
Awards, American Cinema Editors Awards, NAACP Image Awards and
According to Netflix, there are
currently over 60 titles in the Sports Documentary category. Recently, GolfSupport.com
used IMDb ratings to determine
Netflix’s highest-rated sports doc.
Unsurprisingly, “The Last Dance”
ranked first with a 9.1 rating (out of 10). It wasn't particularly
close either; none of the other sports documentaries had a rating
Rounding out Netflix's top-five
were "Formula 1: Drive to Survive” (8.6), "This Could Go Anywhere"
(8.6), "Last Chance U" (8.4) and "Last Chance U: Basketball"
Here’s a look at Netflix’s
top-25 highest-rated sports documentaries:
In this day and age, there are
unlimited entertainment options competing for our limited attention
spans. However, when “The Last Dance” premiered, there were no live
sports or new movies to watch so it was a much-needed distraction
at a time when people badly wanted to be entertained.
Despite the strange
circumstances, it lived up to the hype and deserves all of the
praise that it’s received over the last year.