There are plenty of sports movies out there, but which ones are worth not only watching, but potentially owning? Which ones are not just great sports movies, but good movies in general? Here’s a list of fifteen of the best sports movies to ever find their way onto the silver screen.
Funny to think of Adam Sandler on a list that’s praising movies, but here we are. Looking past the initial issues with praising Adam Sandler, the movie was sweet, heart-warming, funny, and home to some great tackles,, including one by Kathy Bates that’s worth the price of admission alone.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Another SNL alum, another great sports movie. During the time that many consider the height of Will Farrell’s humor, this movie about a simple man that just wanted to go fast featured Jane Lynch before her Glee days and the always funny Gary Cole (Office Space).
Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, and Corbin Bernsen in one movie together? While it would spawn numerous sequels, each one less successful and less filled with original cast members, the original was unique, fun, and played on our love of an underdog and the Yankees losing.
Days of Thunder
Featuring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman before they were the Cruises, the film was essentially Top Gun in cars, which was not a bad thing. Making NASCAR cool before it enjoyed the popularity it does now, it features intense race scenes and cameos from some of racing’s biggest stars.
A League of Their Own
Tom Hanks, Gina Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnel headline one of the few sports movies to feature women. Set during World War II, the film follows the female baseball leagues that sprung up and reminds us all that there’s no crying in baseball.
The Bad News Bears
A curmudgeonly Walter Matthau leading a rag-tag group of child baseball players? What could possibly go wrong? Also starring Tatum O’Neal and a young Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), the movie is more about the game and having fun than about actually winning.
Based on the true story of Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, played by Billy Dee Williams, and Brian Piccolo, played by James Caan, the story details the friendship between the two teammates as Brian battles and eventually loses his battle with cancer while on the Chicago Bears. Originally made for TV, it was so popular that it was actually shown in some theaters.
It’s one of the few movies that men are allowed to cry during. Based on a true story, the film featured Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) in the title role as the under-sized walk-on football player at Notre Dame that finally got his shot and was carried off the field by his teammates. It’s the quintessential “never say die” movie.
A comedy starring Paul Newman and the creation of the iconic hockey goons the Hanson brothers, this movie was so influential that many of the terms used in the movie invaded the hockey lexicon used to this day. The actors that portrayed the Hanson brothers still do appearances in character and appeared in supporting roles in the two straight to DVD sequels.
Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, and Chevy Chase in a single movie? How can shenanigans not ensue, especially when you throw in a golf course for good measure. Bill Murray trying to blow up a gopher that’s been terrorizing the course is just one of the many highlights of this film.
Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins in a baseball movie that most studios passed on. Kevin Costner is brought in to help prepare Tim Robbins for the major leagues, and throwing Susan Sarandon into the mix certainly doesn’t help. This is a classic movie that is regularly voted one of the top sports movies of all time and was where Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon met before entering into a relationship.
Field of Dreams
Another film featuring Kevin Costner, and one of the other films that men are allowed to cry during. Everybody knows that “If you build it, he will come”. Also starring James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta, it’s the quintessential baseball movie and a heart-warming story about a game of catch and the relationship before a father and son.
Inspired by true events, this movie featuring Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper is the underdog story of a high school basketball team in Indiana that was undersized and undermanned, yet still went to the state championship game. Regularly listed as the best sports movie ever made, Dennis Hopper received an Oscar nomination for his role in the film.
The film that helped launch Stallone’s career, as well as five sequels. Undersized Rocky Balboa gets a shot at the title held by Apollo Creed, with Rocky’s only goal for the fight being to go the distance against the champion, something that no other person to face Creed has managed. The scenes of Rocky training by punching frozen meat carcasses and running up the steps in Philadelphia are iconic. The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won three, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Considered by many to be not just the greatest sports film, but the greatest movie ever made in any genre. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, the movie is based on the true story of boxer Jake LaMotta and documents his rise and fall, as well as the toll it took on his family and friends.