Roller Derby Movie
Roller derby isn’t the most prominent sport to have movies made about. There are so many other sports movies out there about basketball, football, baseball, and even figure skating. Why aren’t there any more movies about roller derby?
You’ve just heard about roller derby and are looking for some great roller derby movies to check out. Maybe you’re having a derby bonding night with your team and you don’t want to watch “Whip It!” again for the hundredth time.
We’ve compiled a list of roller derby movies, organized by popularity and IMDb rating, to help you learn more about the game, the community, and get motivated enough to be a better derby player.
What is The Movie About Roller Derby?
Possibly the most famous and most referenced roller derby movie, “Whip It!” is the main reason a lot of females choose to get into roller derby. Ask any roller derby player from any country and they’ll tell you that they’ve definitely seen it.
Whip It (2009)
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
“Whip It” is a story about a teenage girl who feels out of place in her small town of Bodeen, Texas and finds her escape in a roller derby league in nearby Austin. She learns to find herself in her derby persona “Babe Ruthless” while struggling to keep her parents from finding out.
With Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page leading the pack in this amazing and motivating roller derby underdog story, this is a must-see for every player.
If you’ve already watched “Whip It” and are looking for other great roller derby movies to watch, we recommend the following movie list.
Action Roller Derby Movies
We love watching roller derby on the big screen, however, Hollywood just doesn’t know how to depict roller derby quite like the Whip It movie. We’ve made a list of documentary movies we feel really get into the action and heart of roller derby.
Roller Life (2016)
IMDb Rating: 8.5/10
Roller derby can take so much time and dedication. Practices, fundraisers, away games, and more practices seem like a lot but it always pays off in the end.
Featuring the Brewcity Bruisers Milwaukee Roller Girls, this feature-length documentary reveals all the highs and hard hits of full-contact flat-track roller derby.
This movie is an insider look at how tough roller derby players balance their love of the sport with their careers and personal lives while blocking obstacles that get in their way.
You should watch this if: you want to feel motivated by how derby players never let real life get in the way of their love of the sport.
Hell on Wheels (2007)
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
When watching derby, maybe you’ve wondered why women choose to wear fishnets in games or why they choose a derby name and persona. There’s actually a history behind all that.
“Hell on Wheels” is a documentary about a group of Texas women getting together to bring roller derby back to its former glory. The cast features the women of TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls.
This is a great film if you want to see how modern-day roller derby was brought into the 21st century by an all-female coalition.
You should watch this if: you want to discover how the revival of roller derby happened and became what it is today.
Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of The Rat City Rollergirls (2007)
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
For some players, finding a local roller derby team wasn’t possible where they lived, so they have no choice but to start their own.
Focusing on the Rat City Rollergirls of Seattle, this documentary movie follows this team’s small beginnings to their success in their championship bout. They started their league from scratch in April 2004, playing in a small rink in front of about 200 fans to selling out stadiums monthly.
In this film, you see who these strong women are, their relationships with each other as a team, and what it takes for them to rise all the way to the top.
You should watch this if: you want to be inspired by a small-town roller derby team working hard to make it big.
Derby Baby: A Story of Love, Addiction and Rink Rash (2012)
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
Roller derby has slowly become an internationally recognized sport, with nearly 2000 roller derby leagues across 53 countries in the world.
Back when roller derby started gaining worldwide popularity, this documentary movie reveals the love and addiction of roller derby internationally at the first-ever World Cup in 2011.
This film highlights how roller derby has motivated thousands of women to put on skates and why women’s roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the world.
You should watch this if: you want to explore how roller derby has empowered so many women all over the world.
In the Turn (2014)
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
Roller derby has always been more prominently a women’s sport but these past years have led to a more progressive acceptance of players of all orientation and gender.
“In the Turn” is a documentary about the story of Crystal, a transgender girl from Timmins, Ontario in Canada. With the help of her supportive mother and the Vagine Regime roller derby association, Crystal is sponsored to go to the U.S. to attend a roller derby camp.
This movie features interviews with a positive community of fans, referees, and several transgender team members of the Vagine Regime as well as online vlog footage and news footage.
You should watch this if: you want to see how amazing and supportive the derby community is when it comes to difficult matters.
Roller Derby Movie 1970s
If you’re looking for more retro 1970s era roller derby movies, here’s our list of recommendations below.
Kansas City Bomber (1972)
IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
This is the most popular roller derby movie in the 1970s featuring Raquel Welch. She plays K.C. Carr, a single mother, struggling to start over again in her new home of Portland, Oregon. Welch’s character joins the local derby team called the Portland Loggers after leaving her former team in Kansas City. This is a story of one woman’s balancing act between stardom and love.
Unholy Rollers (1972)
IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Karen is an average woman who seeks for more action from life. She quits her job and becomes a roller derby skater. Karen is determined to become the best derby player and doesn’t let anything get in her way, not even her teammates. Throughout the movie, she battles the jealousy of her teammates and the owner of the team.
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
This is a documentary directed by Robert Kaylor about the exciting and diverse world of professional roller derby in the 1970s. It features on-track gameplay as well as a personal and behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the featured roller derby players.
It seems like the 1970s was a great decade for roller derby movies since we weren’t able to find any roller derby films from the 1980s.
Roller Derby Movie 2019
Our pick for the roller derby movie 2019 is the Winner of the Audience Choice Award in the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival 2019 — “Suzy Hotrod: Roller Derby Star”.
Suzy Hotrod is the last original member of New York City’s Gotham Girls Roller Derby league. She describes her growth and change in roller derby as well as the changes in the game and the community itself. Watch her take hard hits and jam her way out of numerous packs and into the Roller Derby World Cup.
A true legend in the roller derby community, this is a must-watch for all roller derby fans out there.
For anyone interested in checking out the humble origins of roller derby in the 1970s, Kansas City Bomber, The Unholy Rollers, and Derby are just the films for you.
For a modern look into the roller derby world, we recommend any of the inspirational and empowering documentaries listed in this article that have illustrated the game, the passion, and the community of roller derby to thousands of people.