Sports movies fall into two categories: the nostalgic ones from childhood and the ones from adulthood. Even though the childhood movies hold a special place with us, the best movies are the ones you watch when you get older. There have been a lot of good sports movies but everyone has their preferences. Here is a look at the ten best sports movies I have seen in my adult life:
10. Finding Forrester
This is one of the most underrated sports movies. It is hardly mentioned among the best, even though it deserves to be there. The movie focuses on the life on an inner city African-American boy with a talent in basketball and an undiscovered passion to write. Jamal Wallace (played by Rob Brown) transfers to an elite prep school in Manhattan because of both his basketball prowess and for testing highly on a standardized test. While in school Jamal befriends an author, William Forrester (played by Sean Connery) who lives a secluded life, but Forrester soon becomes a mentor to Jamal. It’s a nice story and it is well done. The basketball scenes are action packed and well shot. After you watch it, you will see why it deserves to be labeled as one of the best sports movies.
9. Jerry Maguire
“Show me the money!” has to rank as one the best movie quotes right? It is very quotable and it sums up the personas of all the super-arrogant athletes of the world, like Terrell Ownens. It features a solid cast, with a young Tom Cruise, before he became crazy, Cuba Gooding Jr and Rennee Zellweger. Tom Cruise plays the stereotypical sports agent, whom one day has an epiphany about his career and the morals involved with it. He gets fired and all his clients leave him except, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr). It’s an entertaining movie for everyone, there’s a love story tied with the sports world but it isn’t too sappy, just the right balance of both.
8. The Wrestler
This is simply a great movie with a great performance by the lead actor and supporting actor. Mickey Rourke’s performance as a washed-up wrestling star, holding on to the glory days, was amazing. I don’t think anyone else could have played the role of Randy “The Ram” Robinson better than Rourke did. The main reason for this is because Rourke was playing himself. Obviously he isn’t a wrestler, but before this movie his acting career was something of the past, like The Ram’s wrestling career. Besides Rourke, Marisa Tomei did a wonderful job in her role as a stripper who befriends Randy and becomes the only bright spot in his life. Sure this movie doesn’t have the happy ending like most sports movies do, but its grim and realistic portrayal of the life of a wrestling star makes it special.
7. Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman all put in great performances in the story of a woman determined to make a career as a boxer. Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a poor waitress who is struggling to make it in life, so she decides to give boxing a try. She enters the gym of a famous trainer, Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) who is having problems with his own life. Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Morgan Freeman) is a former boxer who watches over the gym. When he sees Maggie training, he sees potential in here and convinces Dunn to train her. Little did they both know that this would change both their lives..
6. Friday Night Lights
Although it’s not as good as the book written by H.G. Bissinger, the movie is still very well done. The movie captures the emotion of a city and fans of a sports team. The people of Odessa, Texas live for Friday nights, when they get to watch the Perminian Panthers, the town’s high school football powerhouse. After the team loses its star player, running back Boobie Miles, to a career-ending injury, all hope is lost for the Panthers and the city of Odessa. But coach Gary Gaines (played by Billy Bob Thornton) won’t let this injury prevent the Panthers from success, as he leads the to State finals. If you are looking for an inspirational, well done movie then this is certainly as good a choice as any other movie.
Mike Tyson is one the most polarizing athletes and persons of the past 20 years. This film is a documentary about his life, his boxing career and how all of it was damaged. The documentary is very well done, as it is a mix of classic Mike Tyson moments such as interviews and fights and interviews with Iron Mike. After watching this movie I look at Mike Tyson in a different light. He doesn’t hold back at all in his interviews and gives you an insight as to why he did the things he has done. Even though it is short (only around 90 minutes) every moment is impactful and it never gets boring. This is a must see, especially for any Mike Tyson fans.
This is probably the most emotional movie on the list. The story is sure to make even the toughest, least emotional people choke up. I’m sure you have all heard what the story is about, given the success this movie has had. But it deserves repeating that this is an amazing story. What makes this movie even better is the fact that the main character, Michael Oher had a very successful rookie year with the Baltimore Ravens, this past season. After seeing this movie I want to root for Oher every week for the rest of his career. Besides the fact that the story is great, Sandra Bullock put on an amazing display that is certainly Oscar worthy. She stole the movie even though Oher’s story steals your heart.
Easily the best golf movie of all time, Caddyshack is a true classic because no matter how many times you watch it, it never gets old. It features one of the most quotable lines ever, “it’s in the hole!” It features a murders row of comedians with Billy Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase when they were all in their primes. Not only is this one of the best sport movies of all time, its also one of the best comedies.
Hands down the best sports documentary made to this day. This documentary follows two inner city Chicago high school basketball stars, Arthur Agee and William Gates on their quest for NBA stardom. The movie takes place over the span of five years, from the start of high school to the start of college. This movie puts into perspective the hardships people face in their chase to become a professional athlete. It has everything you would want in a movie but with a more intimate connection because it’s a documentary. This is definitely a must see for any sports fans.
This is the ultimate underdog sports movie out there and an all time classic. It’s the classic story of an underdog team finding success that leads to an improbable run at the championship. The movie, which is based on a true story about the Milan, Indiana Indians and their run at a state title in 1954, is the most inspirational sports movies I have ever seen. It shows what sports are all about: being part of team that competes for a common goal. The reason it’s number one on my list is because it captures the essence of playing sports better than any other movie.