Sports movies have the ability to retell amazing stories. Through film, memorable sporting acts and occasions can be immortalised for generations. A good sports movie can inspire, shock, make us feel sad and also elated. The below are what we think are ten of the best sports movies ever made.
It makes complete sense to start our review of the ten best sports movies with a film that won an Oscar back in 1977. Rocky won two Oscars, picking up the gongs for best picture and best director. Rocky tells the story of Philadelphian boxer Rocky Balboa. A run of the mill fighter, Rocky gets a chance of a lifetime when he is selected to fight world champion Apollo Creed.
The film would track Ricky’s relationships with friends and family as well as his unusual training techniques. Displaying the heart of the champion, Rocky would end up winning his title fight and with it the love of a city. The film would see a further four iterations made, capturing a huge legion of fans all across the world.
2. Million Dollar Baby
Million Dollar Baby was another boxing movie which would win numerous Oscars. Released in 2004, the film would go onto win the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. An inspiring story based on family, love and respect, the film charts the story of Maggie Fitzgerald, a female fighter who despite finding boxing late, battled to earn the trust of her legendary trainer and managed to find a way all the way to the top.
An accident would leave Fitzgerald fighting for her life and a series of unfortunate events would bring her and her trainer even closer. Million Dollar Baby is one of the highest grossing sports movies of all time and a must watch for every sports fan.
3. The Blind Side
Making a film on American Football isn’t the easiest thing to do but The Blind Side is certainly one of the best. Base on a true story of offensive linesman Michael Oher. The film won Sandra Bullock a Best Actress Oscar based on her outstanding portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy.
The film blends the world of football and family and documents the troubled upbringing of Oher’s past.
A freakish athlete, Oher is offered a scholarship to play high school football at a well to do Christian high school, but all is not well at home. Tuohy learns that Michael never knew his father and that his mother was a drug addict. Tuohy slowly starts to include Oher in their families activities, eventually opting to adopt him. The film continues to chart Oher’s rise through college and into the NFL and is one of the most inspiring movies on this list.
4. Remember the Titans
Another football movie that absolutely deserves to be on this list is Remember the Titans. A film set in Virginia during the 1970s, the plot revolves around TC Williams High School which was one of the first high schools in the state to combine both black and white students. The school also hired Herman Boone as its first ever black coach.
Set amongst a racist society, the film documents both the communities and teams difficulties to integrate together. The film charts Boone’s journey as he tries to create a winning team and spirit that see’s both black and white players co-exist. Based on an inspiring true story, Remember the Titans is a must watch movie for any football fan
According to SportsToday, one of the best sports movies from the last couple of decades is Moneyball. Released in 2011, the film received six Oscar nominations which included a best actor nomination for Brad Pitt and best supporting actor nomination for Jonah Hill.
The film is based off a true story and centres around Billy Beane, a failed MLB player who after his career had become the GM with the Oakland Athletics. The film charts Beane’s struggles as he tries to compete with baseball’s superpowers such as the New York Yankees.
Looking to gain a competitive edge, Beane turned the A’s scouting department on its head, disregarding how a player looked or his technique, instead focusing on specific metrics.
Ranking metrics above everything else would lead Beane to hire a range of baseballing oddballs. Beane’s approach to his scouting and recruitment failed to fire at first, but then started to bare fruit as the A’s would go onto surpass a MLB record of posting twenty consecutive victories.
A raw and at times punchy film, Moneyball is arguably the best baseball movie ever produced.
6. Field of Dreams
Sticking with the baseball theme, Field of Dreams is one of the most cherished sports films ever made. Released in 1989, the film is headlined by Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta. A moving film, the movie focuses on family and the relationship between Costner’s character and his father.
The owner of a farm, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) starts to reflect about his baseball mad father and his own fears of what he has failed to accomplish in his life. Kinsella then starts to hear voices in his head and is inspired to build a baseball field amongst his farmland.
By doing this, Kinsella is then visited by several baseball greats of yesteryear, who all carry different messages which Kinsella must work out. Encouraged to keep the faith and his dedication to keeping his baseball diamond open, Kinsella is at risk of bankruptcy. Told that if ‘he builds it they will come’ the end of the movie see’s figures of baseball’s greatest players and Kinsellas father emerge out of the shadows to play a legendary game.
7. King Richard
King Richard may always be overshadowed by the actions of Will Smith at this years Oscars but the film which focuses on Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus Williams won Smith a best actor prize.
Smith’s performance is incredible and the film charts Williams’s journey as he coaches his daughters out of the projects and onto the path of tennis superstardom. Set in Compton California, Williams who wasn’t a player himself is determined that both Venus and Serena will become professional tennis players. The film charts the families struggle and both Serena’s and Venus’s issues with being accepted by white elites.
A true underdog story, King Richard is one of the most inspiring films you would wish to see.
Some may argue that the Mighty Ducks is the greatest ever hockey field of all time! But we think Miracle shades it. The film focuses on the inspiring true story of the ‘Miracle on Ice’, when America’s Mens team historically beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics.
The film follows US Head Coach Herb Brooks who is portrayed by Kurt Russell. Russell applies for the role of US Head Coach and, passionately displays his vision as to how his US team could beat the Soviets. Brooks changes the way the team is structured and how it trains. Brooks is intent on the team becoming one harmonious unit and adopts several different techniques to do this.
Once united, the film then follows the teams journey through the Olympics which ends with the Americans beating the Soviets subsequently going onto win the Gold medal.
9. Happy Gilmore
Whilst most of the films we have covered in this list have a serious undertone to them, Happy Gilmore is anything but. The film has developed a cult following and even to this day is still one of the most popular sports films ever made.
The film charts Happy Gilmore, an ice hockey nut who is unfortunately not very good! After trying to make a semi-pro team Sandler is told he is not good enough. Despite being a terrible skater, Gilmore has an amazing slap shot.
The film centres around the relationship between Gilmore and his Grandmother. Unable to keep up mortgage payments, Grandma is moved to a nursing home. During the move Gilmore discovers some old clubs and realises that with his slap shot technique he can launch the ball miles.
Gilmore goes on an unlikely journey from the driving ranges all the way to the pro tour. Unable to conform to the traditional behaviour of the Tour, Gilmore’s antics bring legions of new fans to the sport. It all ends at the Tour Championship where Gilmore and his rival Shooter McGavin battle it out for the famous Gold Jacket.
10. Raging Bull
We end this review with a film that has defined one of the greats with Robert De Niro’s portrayal of legendary boxer Jake LaMotta.
The film which was directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese charts the LaMotta’s career in and outside of the ring. La Motta was a middleweight champion back in the 1950s and had some amazing bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson.
LaMotta had serious mob connections and the film explores LaMotta’s brushes with the law and his mob ties. Outside of the ring, LaMotta was known for his jealousy and his historic short fuse.
A rollercoaster of a movie, there is no grittier film than Raging Bull.