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)

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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