What I’ve quickly learned while making this blog is how difficult it is to come up with the top 10 sports movies of all time. There are so many fantastic films, and everyone has such a different taste in movies, so not everyone will be happy once they see this list. I didn’t add any documentaries, but the movies on this list can be based on a true story. Let’s get into the rankings
10.) Talladega Nights
Please don’t click off the blog. You might not think of Talladega Nights as a true sports movie and you’re actually right. It’s borderline, at best for being considered a sports movie, but it’s one of my all-time favorite comedy films, so I couldn’t make this list without including this. I mean NASCAR is technically a sport.
Getting into the actual movie, it is laugh out loud funny. Some Will Ferrell movies have some points where they really drag, but this one stays pretty funny throughout. Not only that, but this movie is also just so quotable. Every scene feels so memorable and I can probably recite the entire movie. So is it a sports movie, maybe, but I couldn’t leave it out.
9.) The Sandlot
You can’t have a top 10 sports movie list without The Sandlot. Not only is it a good movie, but it has also aged well since the ’90s. A lot of people have The Sandlot a lot higher in their movie rankings, but that’s strictly based off nostalgia. If you actually go back and rewatch The Sandlot, its maybe not as good as you remember.
There are still some amazing scenes in this movie, with some parts that will be funny until the end of time, but I feel the other movies on this list are just a tad bit better. I’ll give it one thing though, this is still the greatest roast battle of all time (sorry Eight Mile).
8.) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Dodgeball holds a special place in my heart. My Uncle was watching my older sister, two cousins, and myself. In order to avoid actual babysitting, he put a movie on for the four of us. The oldest person in the group was thirteen and I was maybe seven. Thirteen is around the age where it’s okay to see a movie like this. Seven is not. I still loved the movie despite half the jokes going straight over my head.
Since then, I’ve rewatched Dodgeball and it holds up then the first time. Patches O’Houlihan coaches a group of misfits into an elite group of “warriors”. Well… that’s a bit of a stretch, but they do get pretty good at Dodgeball. Even now, the real ESPN has created one day a year where they become “ESPN 8 the Ocho” and broadcast uncommon sports all day. Lastly, who could forget about the 5 D’s of Dodgeball.
7.) The Benchwarmers
For most people my age, The Benchwarmers is a pretty universally loved film. However, while doing research for this movie, I found out that this movie only had an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and even the fan reviews don’t do it any justice.
I’ve watched this movie a few times since I was a little kid and I still think it’s pretty funny. It’s a real underdog story and pretty hilarious throughout. Maybe my friends and I have a bad sense of humor, but we all seem to love The Benchwarmers. If you go into it expecting a film masterpiece you’ll be disappointed. However, if you expect it to be a stupid-slapstick comedy, then you’ll love it like me.
How can you not love Carlos?
Hoosiers is nothing like the movies above it. It has a much more serious tone, yet it still manages to motivate you. This is the original underdog sports movie. Nobody thought Hickory High School had a shot at winning a State Championship, but they proved everyone wrong.
The entire movie is great, but one scene really makes it the 6th best sports movie of all time. After qualifying for the state title game, Hickory High went to practice at Hinkle Fieldhouse to get a feel for the stadium, prior to the title game. Hinkle is the most famous gymnasium in Indiana and every kid that plays high school basketball dreams of playing there. Head coach Norman Dale takes them out on the court and he has them measure how high the hoop is and how far away the free-throw line is. His team was visibly nervous yet his few words were able to calm them down. I believe this is the best motivational speech in all of sports and makes this movie a classic.
5.) The Blindside
This movie will always make me cry. And the first time I watched it, I cried about ten times. Michael Oher (who this movie was based on) said this isn’t an accurate portrayal of his life, but the changes they added worked to perfection.
The best scene in the movie (the part I always cry at) comes when “Big Mike” is walking around by himself. Mrs. Tuohy tells her husband to pull their car over and asks Michael if he has a place to stay. He obviously doesn’t, so she takes him home with them. Did I cry while writing this? Maybe. Have I now said the word cry 5 times in the last two paragraphs? Yes, I have.
4.) Major League
If you’re an Indians fan, or even just a fan of baseball, you love this movie. It is a comedy, but you actually care about the team and players. There are real emotional payoffs, yet at its core, it’s a slap-stick comedy. A team of misfits come together to save a baseball franchise from moving down South. It’s a true Cleveland underdog story.
I think everyone can agree on the best part of this movie. When head coach Lou Brown comes to the mound to take out starter Eddie Harris, he calls in the hard-throwing righty, Ricky Vaughn, better known as “Wild Thing”. The crowd starts cheering, and Lou Brown tells Ricky to “give ’em the heater”, I get chills every time.
This is a pretty controversial pick, but it’s just a personal favorite of mine. Moneyball is an amazing movie. I have always been a big stats guy, but after I watched this movie, I began to look at sports differently. I didn’t just look at the surface level stats, I began to care about the analytics of each team.
One scene really sticks with me from this movie. When Billy Beane first meets Peter Brand (not a real person) he explains to him that its good that they got Johnny Damon off of their payroll. Not only is this a good statistical breakdown, but it is also the first time in Jonah Hill’s acting career that he was playing someone who wasn’t just the but of a joke. He killed it as Brand and made this scene a classic.
2.) Remember the Titans
Where do you even start with this one? Making a light, heartfelt movie about the integration of high schools is no easy task and they did it perfectly. Since it was a movie about football, there were obviously lots of characters due to so many position on the team. Each player seemed to get equal character development and you were able to feel connected with the entire team.
Picking just one scene from this movie is impossible, as the entire movie is a classic. Despite that, I still feel one scene stands out for me. When Gerry and Julius figured out how to stop the option, they embraced each other with a push, yelling out, “strong side”. The entire team finally began to connect with each other. Once the two team captains could put away their prejudices, it became easy for the entire team to come together as one. Also, any scene with Sunshine can get an honorable mention.
Rocky holds a special place in my heart. Not only is this my favorite sports movie, but it’s also one of my favorite movies in general. The acting is not the best, the camera work is below average, and you can hardly understand Sylvester Stallone throughout the movie. With all that said, that’s what makes this movie so great. Every part of it feels like a gritty underdog story. Rocky should not even have a chance at beating Apollo Creed, and in the end, he does lose to a split decision, but he throws everything he had at the champ.
The training scene with the Rocky theme music is the most memorable moment, but nothing beats the actual fight. I’ve watched this scene about three-million times and it’s amazing each and every time. Whether it’s Rocky telling Mick to cut his eye, or making sure he doesn’t throw in the towel, the entire fight is an utter adrenaline rush. Finally, when the bell rings to end the fight, and he’s screaming out for Adrian, it’s just a classic moment in movie history. If for some insane reason you haven’t seen Rocky, please go watch it, or at least the final fight.
I know nobody in the comments is going to agree with me on most of this list, but it’s simply a personal opinion. Let me know if I left out your favorite movie, or if my order is messed up. Also, I didn’t forget Rudy, the movie just stinks.
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