Top 15 Football Movies of All Time

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Counting Down the 15 Best Football Movies


While football movies don't seem to get the recognition that baseball movies do, there are still some really good football movies out there. It's a tough task to translate what happens on the gridiron, to a movie screen. There's just no way to replicate the action of a football game in a movie. Directors have come close, but there's no substitute for the real thing.

It's because of this reality, that a lot of football movies focus on specific players and off the field issues. It's easier for audiences to get behind one or two key players, just like it is with any other film where there's a star and a co-star.

I think it must be said that the best true football movies are the ones made by NFL Films. The production value is always off the charts on anything they touch. If you're a true fan and you don't spend some time watching old NFL Films productions on NFL Network, you're missing out. They take you behind the scenes and give you insight that no Hollywood movie ever could...

This list is comprised of the best Hollywood football movies ever made. Whether you consider some of these to be the greatest films of all time, depends on your level of fandom. From a critical standpoint, several of these films were terrible - but for the most part, people don't expect sports movies to be good from a critical standpoint.

The plots are usually far from complex, but yet there are some with very serious topics as well. It's crazy to think how many different directions these films can go when they're all based around just one game.

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#15 - The Waterboy


Adam Sandler plays a slow-minded waterboy to a tee in this 1998 film. Eventually he works his way onto the football field to release his pent up aggression and the hilarity ensues.

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#14 - Necessary Roughness


The Texas State football team is forced to put a team together comprised of its student body, including Scott Bakula and Sinbad. Kathy Ireland is also in this 1991 classic that was very typical of the time.

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#13 - The Longest Yard


Whether you like the original with Burt Reynolds or the remake with Adam Sandler, Longest Yard is one of the best football movies of all-time. The plot centers around a group of prison inmates taking on the guards in an all-important game of football.

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#12 - North Dallas Forty


You have to go all the way back to 1979 for North Dallas Forty, which stars none other than Nick Nolte. This film showcases the life of a football player and it's supposedly based on a Dallas Cowboys team in the early 70's.

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#11 - Invincible


Based on the true story of a bartender in Philadelphia who fights his way onto the Eagles at age 30.

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#10 - We Are Marshall


Based on the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 Marshall football players, this film is about the school's efforts to rebuild. Marshall petitions the NCAA to allow freshman to play and they field a team from there. This is a remarkable story.

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#9 - Varisty Blues


This is just a classic high school football movie from 1999. It's the story of a Texas team that has to go to its backup after their star QB is injured for this season. Of course there's all kinds of other high school drama to go along with it.

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#8 - Leatherheads


Leatherheads is an underrated football film directed by and starring George Clooney. It's the story of a pro football team back in 1925 that recruits a college football star to come and help draw attention to their league. This movie gives you an idea of what it would have been like to be a pro football player well before it was great job it is today.

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#7 - Brian's Song


Brian's Song follows the real life story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers who are teammates on the Chicago Bears. The players are friends despite the fact that they both play running back. Eventually they're thrown a curve ball when Piccolo finds out he has cancer.

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#6 - Any Given Sunday


What happens when Oliver Stone makes a football movie? Any Given Sunday. This movie has a star-laden cast and follows the fictional Miami Sharks in a classic sports drama.

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#5 - The Program


James Caan (Brian's Song) also stars in the Program, which portrays a typical college football team in the early 90's. It's all here: steroids, partying and players getting passes on their exams at school. The Program probably wasn't too far off in illustrating how college football 'used' to be.

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#4 - Friday Night Lights


The movie that inspired the television show, this 2004 film stars none other than Billy Bob Thorton. It tells the story of the Odessa, Texas high school football team.

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#3 - The Blind Side


Another film based on real life, the Blind Side swept America by storm back in 2009. Ravens' OL Michael Oher was the inspiration for this film, which shows his journey from being homeless to the NFL.

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#2 - Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans tells the story of coach Herman Boone as he leads a high school team in its first season being racially integrated back in 1971. This movie is Denzel Washington at his finest.

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#1 - Rudy


Rudy is the definition of a feel-good movie. 20 years later it still holds as the best football film ever made. It's a story of hard work, dedication and over achieving. Right down to the dramatic music, this movie has it all. It's an American classic and a must see if you've never been.