Top 20 Sports Movies of All Time
The Best of the Best
The list of good sports movies could go on for days. There isn't really that many “bad” sports movies out there. Either way, I definitely find myself enjoying sports movies more than most. It doesn't matter if they're a documentary, based off of true events, or completely fictional, they are almost all good films.
It was hard to come up with only 20 movies to make up the best list. Since we're all from different generations and different backgrounds, I decided add a variety of films onto the list. Some of them are focused towards the younger generations, but others show the remarkable stories of true events that occurred many years ago.
The hardest decision was deciding which movie deserved the top spot of best movies. I decided to choose the one with the best storyline and best acting to take up the #1 spot on the list.
If you're a movie freak, you might also enjoy taking a look at the top sports movies from the 90's or the top movies from the first decade of the 2000's. But if you're a complete sports movie guru, take a look at the most underrated sports movies of all time and see if you agree. A lot of these movies double-up on these lists but there are others that have their own unique spot.
So which movies do you think fit the top 20? These movies are ones that I could watch over and over again and I hope you can too! If you haven't seen them, then I'd definitely check them out. These movies, and many more can be found on programs such as Hulu and Netflix pretty often. Enjoy!
20. Space Jam
Okay, don't judge this whole list based off of this one. Growing up as a 90's kid, this was everyone's favorite film. To see the biggest star in basketball team up with cartoon characters was simply priceless at the time. It's not a documentary or even realistic, but I guarantee that you'll get a good laugh.
19. Field of Dreams
This film kind of got mixed reviews. It's not exactly a "realistic" set of events but that doesn't mean it can't be a great movie. An Iowa farmer begins to hear voices saying, "If you build it, they will come." He turns an empty cornfield into a baseball diamond and sure enough, the Chicago White Sox came. To this day, you can still visit the Field of Dreams in Dubuque County, IA.
18. Sea Biscuit
This flick is loosely based off of the event of the real Seabiscuit, an undersized racehorse during the Great Depression. As an attempt to overcome tragedy and rebuild his life, car maker Charles Howard decides to gather up a team of racing horses. Getting stuck with the smallest horse wasn't going to be easy but after retraining Seabiscuit, he gains success and shocks the nation.
17. Bigger, Stronger, Faster
I wouldn't normally watch this documentary considering it's about anabolic steroid use and heavy weightlifters. However, I was required to watch the film for a class and then came to a change of mind. It's actually a great documentary that describes how the use of anabolic steroids can affect a person's whole life, not just make them stronger.
16. The Fab Five
Recruited from across the United States to play for the University of Michigan Wolverines basketball team, this documentary follows the path of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. None of them knew each other previously, but they would soon learn that they were a group of talented young men. Unexpectedly, head coach Steve Fisher decides that he will have all five freshmen start, which has never been a typical decision. The five came out and shocked the nation and even made it to the Championship game. If you don't know the end result, go check out the film, which can be found on Netflix.
15. Angels in the Outfield
Orphans Roger and J.P. are constantly sneaking out of their house to go watch the California Angels baseball team even though they were horrible. Roger begins to pray for the Angels to win the pennant as a shooting star goes by because he thinks that it will bring him and his biological family back together. Next thing he knows, he's at a game and sees angels helping the outfielders and the team turns their record around. Meanwhile, the team's manager becomes fond of the boys even though he faces termination. You'll have to watch the movie to see how the end of the Angels season ends up.
Radio is a film is a true story about a young, mentally challenged man that is always watching the football team. The head football coach decides to take a look at Radio's life outside the field and discovers that his dad died a few years before. He allows Radio to begin helping out with the football and basketball teams and he even begins taking classes at the school. Although the team makes fun of him at first, they all learn to love Radio like a brother.
13. Friday Night Lights
If you've ever been to Texas, you know that the entire state lives for Friday night football games. Odessa, TX was no exception and the school was always focused on their Friday night games. When the team's best player suffers a career-ending injury, the town loses hope for the season. The team learns that they can survive without the superstar and make it through a rough season, proving they have the ability to make a comeback on the way to the state finals.
12. The Blind Side
This movie follows the true storyline of football player, Michael Oher. He has no education and a not-so-good family life. When Mike expresses an interest in football, his friend's dad makes some ties to get him into Wingate Christian School. Leigh Anne Tuohy, the head coach's wife, soon realizes that Mike has nowhere to sleep at night and let's him stay with the family. He slowly becomes a member of the family, as well as the football team. Though he struggles to make the grades, Mike becomes a successful football player and eventually makes it to the big league.
Murderball is a moving documentary that shows the life of quadriplegic rugby players. Even though these guys are disabled, they are able to participate in one of the most physically brutal sports. In particular, this documentary shows the rivalry between the United States and Canada.
10. Million Dollar Baby
Maggie Fitzgerald is a 31-year old with a horrible family life. She decides that she wants to make a difference in the world and become known for something unique. Maggie finds an experienced boxer and begins to train with him. She has an unbelievably great talent and ends up having a father-daughter relationship with her coach. In the end, Maggie makes it to the Championship fight but suffers a career-ending spinal injury.
9. A League of Their Own
This may have been a fictional movie, but it was definitely an inspiring one. The economic downfall from Wold War II threatens the MLB to shutdown all together until Chicago Cubs owner, Walter Harvey creates a women's league to raise money. When the league first started, it only had four teams and it wasn't very popular among the American crowd. The storyline focuses on two sisters that have their differences and end up on different teams. In the end, they are playing each other in the Championship game when one sister decides to make a bold move.
8. Tin Cup
Tin Cup was a highly underrated movie of the 90's. Roy McAvoy was a washed-up professional golfer that owned a driving range in Texas. When Dr. Molly Griswold asks Roy for a golf lesson, he is more than happy to do so. Her boyfriend then contacts Roy and Roy hopes that he is going to be asked to play in an invitational; in reality, Griswold's boyfriend wanted Roy to be his caddy for a weekend. The two bicker back and forth and McAvoy ends up making a spot on the U.S. Open team and becomes involved romantically with Griswold.
Rudy only had one dream in his life, to play football at the University of Notre Dame. Due to his lack of size, athletic ability and horrible grade, it wasn't likely that Rudy would play ball on any college field. This is one of the most inspiring films as you follow Rudy through his struggle to become a member of the Notre Dame Irish football team.
6. Coach Carter
Basketball coach Ken Carter does the imaginable and benches his entire team after he discovers that they are failing their classes. This film is based off the true events of the Richmond Oilers basketball team and their struggles to reunite and become a powerhouse. Coach Carter shows them that they need to respect him, as well as the other staff at the school. The team overcomes the difficulties and makes it farther than anyone would have ever expected.
5. When We Were Kings
This popular documentary follows the events leading up to the match of George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 1974. It focuses on the build up and tension before the heavyweight championship fight in Zaire. Foreman was the reigning champion and Ali was a heavy underdog. It also highlights Ali's African American heritage and how he gains the support of the people in Zaire.
4. Hoop Dreams
I hadn't even heard of this movie until a few months ago but it is definitely one of the best sports documentaries that I have seen. The film follows two inner-city boys from Chicago and their road to becoming college basketball players. It shows their struggles from living in the inner-city and the tragedies that they encounter.
3. Miracle on Ice
The younger generation may not realize that this is based off the true story of the 1980 USA Men's Hockey team. It was during the middle of the Cold War and the Soviets were a highly favored team after win the gold medal. The United States completes the impossible and overcome the Soviets in the first medal round of the 1980 Olympics and move on to face Finland for the gold.
2. Remember the Titans
Remember the Titans is based off of true events from a Virginia high school football team in 1971. The union of two segregated high schools means that blacks and whites will be forced to play on the same football team. When an African-American is named the head coach, tensions escalate even more. The team doesn't have it easy and deals with injuries and racial struggles in the beginning. Once the team gains acceptance from the town, the move on to become a powerful contender that makes it to the Championship game.
This movie is based mostly off the true events of the Milan High School Indians and their path to the Indiana State basketball tournament in 1954. Although they altered the name of the school and players, the storyline is virtually the same in most aspects. It shows how one of the smallest schools in Indiana overcomes the impossible and makes it to the Championship game of the state tournament.