The 30 Best '30 for 30' Films

As ESPN's groundbreaking series celebrates its fifth anniversary, we pick our favorite films: tales of triumph, tragedy and (of course) 'The U'

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'Judging Jewell' (Dir. Adam Hootnick)
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ESPN11/30

11. 'Judging Jewell' (Dir. Adam Hootnick)

It's only 20 minutes long, and it's not about an athlete, but the short Judging Jewell is one of the best explications of a common 30 for 30 theme: Don't presume that the way the media initially frames a story is the only way to look at it. The rush to vilify and psychoanalyze security guard Richard Jewell in the wake of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing – a crime that Jewell was investigated for, but didn't commit – says a lot about how the demand for clean, comprehensible narratives unfairly turns real people into cartoon heroes and villains.

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