Is the 2023 movie Champions based on a True Story?

By Ricky Valero
Published: April 4, 2023

Is the 2023 movie Champions based on a True Story? We discuss the highly anticipated film and confirm it is based on real events.

The 2023 film Champions hit theaters on March 10, 2023. The film was written by Mark Rizzo and directed by Bobby Farrelly, with Woody Harrelson playing the lead role.

The film was the solo-directorial debut from Bobby Farrelly, who typically shoots his movies with his brother Peter. Farrelly is most known for his work on films such as Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary, and Hall Pass. 

Farrelly mentioned in several interviews that the original film inspired him to make an Americanized version.

What is the 2023 movie Champions about?

Champions is about a former minor league basketball coach who is court-ordered to coach a team of players with intellectual disabilities. Despite the original hesitation, Coach Marcus (Woody Harrelson) realizes that the team might go further than he ever thought they could.

The film also stars Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who plays Alex, Marcus’s love interest in the movie, and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) plays Phil, the man responsible for getting Marcus fired in the fired place.

Is the 2023 movie Champions based on a True Story?

The film is based on the true story of a basketball team from Valencia. The real team was formed in 1998 within The Sports, Rehabilitation, and Social Association (Aderes) of Burjassot, created for people with intellectual disabilities. This team went on to win 12 Spanish championships between 1999 and 2014.

Champions is a remake of the 2018 Spanish film Campeones, written and directed by Javier Fesser, that starred Javier Gutierrez in the lead role of Marco, the basketball coach.

A fun fact about the film; Fesser wanted non-professional actors and real-life disabled people for the basketball team. So every one of the actors made their debut in this movie. The American version of the film had several intellectually disabled actors play in the movie, including Madison Tevlin, Joshua Felder, and Kevin Iannucci.

The original Spanish film sparked sequels worldwide, with films being made in India, Saudi Arabia, and, recently, in the United States. The movie was nominated for 11 Goya awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars, where it won 3 Goya’s for Best New Actor, Best Original Song, and Best Film.

The original film was also the highest-grossing film of 2018 and stood as one of the most critically acclaimed films in the country.

Is the 2023 movie Champions based on a book?

No, the 2023 movie Champions nor the 2018 film Campeones were based on a book. It’s based on a true story but not a book.

Like any Hollywood-made film, certain elements are fiction in the movies to make them more dramatic.

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