Movies are with us since the first TVs appeared, and even before, there were theatres where you could watch your favourite show. However, we often find movies very entertaining, and the fact that we could just sit down on our sofas and enjoy the movie with our friends or alone is very relaxing. As a big fan of movies, I like every kind of them, if they catch my attention, and here, we are going to talk about sports movies.
Best Sports Films Ever
The sports movie genre is somewhat underrated and I feel that there is a lot of space for some attention to them. Nevertheless, let’s revive this genre with our list of 20 best sports movies of all time.
1. Rocky (1976)
If a single movie can motivate you to do something with your life than it’s Rocky. Remember the good, old Rocky Balboa, who is a hard-working boxer, trying to defend his own pride? Well, if you do, you aren’t that young anymore, you know? This movie represents the finest example of sports movies ever, because it perfectly combines drama with boxing, offering you a rollercoaster of emotions while watching it. Your blood will boil and you’ll get excited when you see Rocky facing his opponent in a brutal, non-forgiving match against his opponent where stakes are high. I still occasionally get back to this movie, although I’ve watched it more than 10 times.
2. When We Were Kings
This Oscar-winning documentary is again about boxing, but as it’s a documentary, it’s more realistic and more relaxing than Rocky. Here, the main star of the movie is Muhammad Ali where the movie talks about 1974 “The Rumble in the Jungle” championship, between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. At the time, Muhammad Ali was just an underdog challenger, trying to make his reputation. I won’t spoil anything for you, but you can’t miss this one if you are a true sports movie fan!
3. Tin Cup
Aside from being a great sports movie, Tin Cup is also a great love story. In this movie, the main actor is Kevin Costner, who is reunited with Bull Durham (which we’ll mention soon) writer Ron Shelton. Kevin is in a role of golf professional, whose name is Roy. His main desire is to qualify for the US Open, but he has a very strong motivation, and that’s love for his successful rival’s girlfriend. This is a great, old school and classic sports movie which I recommend you if you have a little more than 2 hours to spend on it. Thank me later!
4. Heaven Can Wait
Heaven Can wait for melds several genres into a fantastic sports movie, very different from the rest movies on our list. This sports movie puts Warren Beatty, the main actor, and director of the movie, in the role of Los Angeles Rams quarterback who is somehow taken away from his body by his angel guardian, who’s been a little overanxious. He then returns to life, but in a body of a recently killed millionaire and now he is trapped. The plot is anything but cliche, and acting is Oscar-winning; definitely worth your time.
5. Raging Bull
Martin Scorcese is known to be one of unique movie directors, and with Raging Bull, he proved his directing skills in 1980. This movie follows a self-destructive boxer (Robert De Niro), who is known to be violent wants to succeed in boxing. However, his temper and aggressive behaviour tend to ruin his life outside the ring, which leads to some interesting and memorable moments.
6. Bull Durham
When it released back in 1988, Bull Durham immediately became a hit movie! First time I watched it, it blew my mind, with its great sports performance, combined with some great humour and drama. Bull Durham follows “Crash” Davis (Kevin Costner) whose ambitions in baseball are nothing but persevering. He then comes into contact with a young pitcher “Nuke” Laloosh who needs some taming, and Annie, with whom he gets into an affair. As I said, this movie will offer you a little less than 2 hours of pure fun.
7. The Bad News Bears
The Bad News Bears is a pure old school movie, released in 1976, but wow! This movie is timeless and I tend to return to it every once in a while, because of its atmosphere and a great story. The movie follows pre-teen kids who are being coached by Mike Trout, in baseball. The kids will later convey the bond, as they really care about the results and losing is not an option for them. I found the ending very satisfying, thus The Bad News Bears is very well worth my time.
8. Eight Men Out
The eighties were a great time for sports movies as Eight Men Out made its debut. This movie is based on true events concerning the infamous baseball ‘Black Sox’ scandals occurring in 1919. If you didn’t know, this event was when Chicago White Sox, an underpaid team, accepted various bribes in order to lose the 1919 World Series cup. This movie is also one of the earliest movies of Charlie Sheen, who is well-known for his roles in various movies.
Hoosiers was very close to winning an Oscar back in 1986, with its great setting and compelling story. If this movie taught me something, it’s that there is always a hope! Hoosiers follows Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), who is a coach with a troubled past, with lots of problems and drinking, who trains a small, high school basketball team for the championship. It’s very interesting to see a bond between the coach and his team, as they ultimately succeed in their effort after lots of work.
10. Breaking Away
Released in 1979, Breaking Away is a fine little diamond in a world of sports films and is the best cycling movie in my opinion. Breaking Away follows four small-town buddies who form a racing team called “Cutters”. It’s a fine mixture of both intense and thrilling cycling moments, and a great humour, as this movie can either pump up your blood or melt your heart or make you laugh. This is one of the best old-school sports movies; definitely worth watching.
11. Slap Shot
Sometimes, even when you try so hard to be successful, it doesn’t always pay off… at least not in the end. Slap Shot, follows a failing ice hockey team, who is ready to do everything in order to win, even if it’s constant fighting and violence. Sure, they gain some advantage, but in the end, there is always something that reminds them that they just aren’t born to win. Get ready to engage in the thrilling story, great acting and some funny moments in Slap Shot.
12. The Natural
The Natural teaches as that it’s never too late to become what you want. Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, is in his mid-30s is back to playing baseball after disappearing from the scene for quite some time, and he kicks some ass! He becomes the best baseball player, with a huge, almost divine talent for baseball. Although it can motivate you to do things, it’s hardly about realism, but at least I enjoyed every second of the movie, wanting more and more every time.
While not being the best golf movie ever, which is arguable, Caddyshack remained in my memory as one of the best combos of comedy and sport. I’ll remember Rodney Dangerfield from this movie, as it’s one of the best roles in his life, with his excellent acting and funny one-liners. You’ll love Caddyshack even if you don’t like or hate golf! It’s one of the best comedies based on golf, that might not give you what you want from a golf-based sports show, but will make you laugh damn too much.
14. The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees is one of the best things that happened in the 1940s. Yes, the movie is that old, but it’s one hell of a movie. It follows first baseman and power hitter Henry “Lou” Gehrig who is the best player ever to wear Yankees uniform on his journey through life, career, love and his ultimate death from ALS. It’s a great and thrilling movie, which you’ll enjoy every minute. Just don’t get too emotional at the ending, or you’ll shed some tears.
15. He Got Game
I find He Got Game a very underrated, as it’s still a great sports movie, revolving around a fantastic basketball player Jake Shuttlesworth, on his basketball journey. However, his dad is trying to convince him to attend college, as he is in prison, and needs to get a shorter sentence. It’s a thrilling and compelling story, with one a great sense of drama and storytelling, but its ending didn’t leave me quite satisfied for some reason. Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll want to see Denzel Washington in his peak in He Got Game.
Miracle is one of the newer entries on our list, released in 2004 and based on a real story. This movie’s main star is Kurt Russell, who plays the role of Herb Brooks, who is a player that later turned to a coach who led U.S Olympic hockey team to win over the powerful Russian squad back in 1980. It’s well written and succeeds where many sports history movies fail, and it’s in delivering a great story and keeping the one who watches it engaged. That was the great year for Kurt Russell as he won an award for the best actor.
Brazillian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna became one of the best racers in the eighties and nineties, before death came for him, in a fatal accident that occurred at the San Marino Grand Prix, ending his life. As with every documentary movie, this one follows our main protagonist and shows more on his life aside from being Formula One racer, including a fierce rivalry between him and former teammate Alain Prost. I didn’t know that much about Senna, but it turned out that he was really a loving, charismatic and a very talented person. This sports cinema definitely worth a watch, even for those who aren’t Formula One fans.
18. Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams is a documentary movie about basketball, and I’m free to say that it’s one of the best baseball movies I’ve watched, and I’m not even a basketball fan! It’s a classic story, starring Arthur Agee and William Gates, following the two protagonists through their trials and tribulations of everyday life. Their goal is to become professional basketball players, but the real suffering comes from being college basketball players. Steve James might not be the best movie director ever, but he did a damn fine job with Hoop Dreams.
Victory is one of my favourite sports movies of all time! I remember that I saw Pele in the movie, but wasn’t quite sure if it’s really him. It was my unique chance to see Pele, the legend of football, starring alongside Sylvester Stallone in WW2 setting, as they try to use the match against Germans as an opportunity to escape. I was amazed to see that Pele really showed his skills and some serious footwork here with that oh-my-god bicycle kick that blew me away the first time I watched it. If you are a fan of football, Victory is a must watch!
20. The Wrestler
For the end, we left The Wrestler, which is the newest entry on the list. Mickey Rourke is a failed wrestler who must retire for his own good, as he is suffering from his post-retirement syndrome. He then sees that he has nothing aside from wrestling, living bleak life and working for a minimum wage after retirement. It shows that wrestler has a very hard life, and non-forgiving training regimen, that often leads to abuse their bodies and leaves them like shells of their past. Another great sports motion picture to watch.
Which is the Best Sports Movie?
Do you agree with our top movie list? Or have some other movies featuring sports in your mind? Feel free to share your thoughts and lists with us. We will review the submitted sports cinemas and list them here if we found it is better than any of the items listed above. Also be sure to share the trailers so that we can have a quick look at the movie instead of searching the whole internet. So, happy movie time. Watch sports movies listed above with your family and friends.