Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play

Directed by Jerome Thélia

From Brazilian favelas to dusty Congolese villages, from a neolithic Scottish island and Mayan royal courts to modern English soccer pitches, “Bounce” explores the little-known origins of our favorite sports across the centuries, and traces how a simple invention like the ball has come to stake an unrivaled claim on our passions, our gaming consoles, our money, and our lives. Equal parts science, history and visual essay, “Bounce” removes us from the scandals and commercialism of today's sports world to uncover the true reasons we play ball, helping us reclaim our universal connection to the ball games we love.


Add a review


See more films


  • ★★★★ review by Mike Scholtz on Letterboxd

    I don't like sports. But I like sports movies.

    This qualifies as a sports movie.

  • ★★★½ review by dbardsley on Letterboxd


  • ★★★★ review by soccermoviemom on Letterboxd

    Jerome Thelia's Bounce is a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary that explores why ball play is so instinctive and important to us.

    See my review at

  • ★★★½ review by Jeremy Burgess on Letterboxd

    [Seen at the 2015 Portland Film Festival]

    A fascinating doc that digs deep to explore the psychology of play and sport. Well-edited, brisk, and entertaining.

  • ★★★★ review by Daniel Tucker on Letterboxd

    *Originally Published on Next Projection*

    Sometimes unexpectedly great documentaries can come from the deceptively simplest of subjects, and a film like Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play is a sweet reminder that any subject can be captivating when put in the right hands. Bounce is a wonderful documentary chronicling the invention, historical importance, and evolution of the ball. While the earliest recorded history of the ball is fascinating, perhaps more interesting is the film’s examination of the cultural significance of sports. Though admittedly not a cinematic documentary, it never fails to engage and is ultimately a fascinating look at something we otherwise take for granted.

  • See all reviews