I am a sucker for great movies and clearly a sports fanatic. So movies about sports have to really suck in order for me to give a thumbs down. I will generally give these type movies a chance to impress me. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some bad sports movies and I have sat through a few. Any bad ones I usually just sit and wait for them to get better.
Without focusing on the bad, let’s get to the quality sports movies. They far outweigh the bad movies as a whole. Here are what I consider to be the ten best sports movies of all time.
10. Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault – I imagine this is the least watched sports film on my list. But just because it is not as well known, doesn’t mean it does not belong. This story is a common one about playground legends not quite making it to the big leagues. Manigault was one of the best of these legends. Maybe the best.
- Kingpin – I had to include this comedy starring Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray. Bowling isn’t really a sport, but the movie is too good to leave off the list. And yes, it is better than Caddyshack.
- Breaking Away – Along the same lines as #1 on this sports movie list, this one shows how anyone can be great if the mind is set to do so. I am no cycling fan. I am a fan of inspiration and this one has it in stacks.
- The Legend of Bagger Vance – I love me some Steven Pressfield, who wrote the book of the same title. The story is as much about living life as it is playing golf.
- Remember The Titans – Football is my favorite sport and this is one movie that does it justice in a big way. There are multiple story lines that keep you involved in the film, from the racial issues to the bonding of linebackers Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier.
- The Hurricane – Any movie with Denzel Washington has to be great. This underrated sports film tells the true story of a falsely accused fighter who spent much of his adult life in prison. It will make you admire the man and hate the system that put him in jail to begin with.
- Secretariat – This film had a tough job, selling a story that didn’t feature an underdog. This creature was the greatest race horse that ever lived and the producers made me care about the story even though I knew how dominant the performances were. The thunder of the hooves in the last leg of the Triple Crown was goose bump creating for me.
- Cinderella Man – If you are ever in need of a pick me up type movie, then this is it. Russell Crowe plays the part of James J. Braddock, who went from down and out boxer to world champion. The scene of the man begging for money to have his power turned on again is tear jerking. If this guy could get up from rock bottom, perhaps anyone can.
- Hoosiers – I am well aware of how many lists that feature this Gene Hackman movie at the #1 spot. It is worthy indeed. I watch it whenever I catch it on TV. It is the common tale of the underdog overcoming the odds. All it takes is a great leader and a group of athletes willing to buy in.
- Million Dollar Baby – This film featured an all star cast, but the story is what makes it number one for me. Maggie Fitzgerald rose up from her meager upbringing to achieve more than anyone, including her white trash family, could believe. No one could ever take away the cheers that she heard. She took full control of her destiny and her life.