Top 20 Sports Movies of All-Time
Excerpts from reviews of each film were
included in ESPN's Page 2 (2002) listing.
1. Bull Durham (1988)
The dialogue is sharp and funny, the baseball sequences are accurate and
the prevailing sexual tension triumphs throughout.
2. Rocky (1976)
Rocky Balboa remains the lovable lughead of an underdog who will register
with the everyman inside all of us.
3. Raging Bull (1980)
A definitive movie about any sport has yet to be made, but this one comes
closest. There's nothing formulaic or feel-good.
4. Hoosiers (1986)
While "Rocky" shows what one individual can do in the face of
overwhelming odds, "Hoosiers" is the ultimate parable for the
5. Slap Shot (1977)
Paul Newman demonstrates how goofball sports movies ought to be done (this
should be required viewing for Adam Sandler).
6. The Natural (1984)
Authentic in the nostalgia that's in every adult heart -- the career,
game, love, girl that got away; then turns up again, backlit.
7. Field of Dreams (1989)
Just an odd and wonderful premise with baseball acting as a metaphor for
so much more about life, and love, and passions.
8. Caddyshack (1980)
Perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made, and 22 years later, it still
ranks as definitely the most "quotable" sports film.
9. The Hustler (1961)
Unbelievable acting, especially by Newman. The scene at the beginning,
when he plays Gleason for the first time, is one of the best.
10. The Longest Yard (1974)
One of the best things about sports is the sometimes obvious, sometimes
subtle bird they flip at the establishment.
11. North Dallas Forty (1979)
From the opening scene, when Nick Nolte struggles to get out of bed, we
get an up-close look at the brutal world of pro football.
12. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Somehow they managed to turn a movie about an agent into a statement against
the greed and selfishness that has overrun professional sports.
13. Hoop Dreams (1994)
The viewer develops more of an emotional attachment to the lead characters
than in any other movie -- because you know they're real.
14. Breaking Away (1979)
The scene where Dave rides to keep up with the truck is one of the two
most inspiring training scenes in movie history.
15. White Men Can't Jump (1992)
"The sun even shines on a dog's ass some days." The constant
yammering of trash talk shines throughout this playground hoops saga.
16. The Bad News Bears (1976)
The kids are ruthless, funny, honest and vulnerable. Which is to say,
they're just like real kids.
17. Chariots of Fire (1981)
Behold an intelligent dissection of what makes a championship athlete
tick when it really isn't about the money.
18. Brian's Song (1970)
A tearjerker that captures the ideal interracial relationship, even in
a competitive situation, so rarely achieved.
19. Eight Men Out (1988)
One of the great period-piece movies ... it brought 1919 alive. Like most
of John Sayles' movies, it features tremendous ensemble acting.
20. When We Were Kings (1996)
It has a wonderful beat and rhythm that sweeps you up into the film. And
when Ali is the central figure, you can't possibly look away.
21. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
22. A League of Their Own (1992)
23. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
24. Tin Cup (1996)
25. The Hurricane (1999)
25 Greatest Sports Movies
Genre categorizations were provided for each film in Total Film
(Summer 2004 issue) listing.
1. Rocky (1976)
2. Escape to Victory (1981) (aka Victory)
3. Hoop Dreams (1994)
4. Raging Bull (1980)
5. Field of Dreams (1989)
6. The Karate Kid (1984)
7. Big Wednesday (1978)
8. When We Were Kings (1996)
9. The Hustler (1961)
Pool Hall Drama
10. Kingpin (1996)
11. Rollerball (1975)
Extreme Sports Drama about Rollerball (a hybrid
of hockey, soccer, rollerblading, and polo)
12. Bull Durham (1988)
Minor-League BaseballDrama/Romantic Comedy
13. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Sports Management Drama
14. Beyond the Mat (1999)
Professional Wrestling Documentary
15. Caddyshack (1980)
16. Chariots of Fire (1981)
Olympic Games Track/Field Drama
17. Slap Shot (1977)
Minor-League Ice Hockey Drama/Action
18. This Sporting Life (1963)
Professional Rugby Drama
19. The Longest Yard (1974)
Football Prison Drama/Comedy
20. The Natural (1984)
21. Tin Cup (1996)
Professional Golf Romantic Comedy
22. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
"Angry Young Man" 'Kitchen-Sink"
23. I.D. (1995)
Minor-League British Football (Soccer) Drama
24. Rocky IV (1985)
25. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
Extreme Sports Skateboarding Documentary