SPORTS FILMS


Examples - 4


Sports Films
History | Examples - 1 | Examples - 2 | Examples - 3 | Examples - 4 | Examples - 5 | Examples - 6

30 Best Sports Movies on DVD

Included in a list compiled by Entertainment Weekly (November 25, 2005) was the year the movie was first released, length of film, rating, film studio, and commentary on topics including: Here's Why, Did You Know?, Extras (on DVD), and Final Score.

1. Raging Bull (1980)
"Any serious list of greatest sports movies begins with Raging Bull...Martin Scorsese's black-and-white epic about Jake LaMotta, a middleweight thug brought low by his own paranoia, insecurity, and rage....On the Waterfront plus Rocky minus the schmaltz."

2. Caddyshack (1980)
"...snobs-versus-slobs golf comedy (is) easily the most quotable sports movie ever...gets better with repeated viewings, thanks to the ongoing discovery of numerous background and secondary gags...a relentless assault of inspired insanity."

3. Hoosiers (1986)
"...the greatest basketball movie ever made...based on the true story of a tiny Indiana high school team that won the state championship...supremely acted...and beautifully shot, and features a Jerry Goldsmith score."

4. Rocky (1976)
"With one shot to prove he's not just another bum from the hood, Sylvester Stallone faces the champ and does the unthinkable, by Hollywood standards: He loses. But he wins our hearts by going the distance."

5. Bull Durham (1988)
"The standard-issue plot - brash fireballer "Nuke" LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) locks horns with veteran catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and both strike sparks with sexy groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) - goes way inside baseball."

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
"We're all gonna cry at the heart-wrenching ending, after we've cheered the hard-knuckled determination of Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), left-hooking her way to self-respect as she climbs the ranks of women's boxing."

7. Breaking Away (1979)
"Dave Stoller's (Dennis Christopher) a teen local in a university town, pretending to be Italian like his ten-speed idols - The rivalry between Stoller and his "cutter" buddies (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley) and Indiana U's snotty frat boys for the Little 500 trophy drives the plot."

8. The Bad News Bears (1976)
"Walter Matthau's cruddy alky of a manager and his ragtag band of 'Jews, spics, niggers, pansies, and a booger-eatin' moron' knock the snot out of sacred cows like Little League, political correctness, and, of course, the Yankees."

9. Friday Night Lights (2004)
"Lights captures the immense pressures placed on the real-life athletes of Odessa, Tex., where 'Mojo' football is a way of life. Billy Bob Thornton fully inhabits the role of the conflicted coach, but his players provide the real heroics."

10. Slap Shot (1977)
"...the Paul Newman comedy manages to be outrageously funny while slyly satirizing the love of brutality and win-at-all costs attitude of professional sports. Slap Shot's inspiration was the 1974 Johnstown Jets, whose players included all three Hansons from the movie."

11.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
"...it faithfully retells the gut-wrenching story of baseball great Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) and how his love affairs with the game and wife Eleanor (Teresa Wright) were tragically cut short by ALS...'I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth' is among the most heartbreaking lines in movie - and real-life sports - history."

12. Kingpin (1996)
"...the Farrelly brothers' farce about an unworldly lad (Randy Quaid) who teams up with a down-on-his-luck con man (Woody Harrelson) to beat (Bill) Murray for a million-dollar prize is...the best homage to bowling ever."

13. The Set-Up (1949)
"Robert Wise's down-beat take on boxing...Robert Ryan plays such a loser of a 35-year-old pugilist, his crooked manager doesn't bother telling him he's supposed to throw the fight...The picture takes place in riveting real-time, including the 18-minute fight."

14. North Dallas Forty (1979)
"...this adaptation of Dallas Cowboy Peter Gent's roman a clef...it's a period piece, with its disco parties and abundance of white linebackers, but its cynicism, that profit trumps fun and skill, hasn't aged."

15. Eight Men Out (1988)
"'Shoeless' Joe Jackson and seven Chicago White Sox teammates gained infamy for conspiring with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series. John Sayles assembled a stellar, eclectic cast..."

16. Brian's Song (1971)
"...the bond between Chicago Bears backfield buddies Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams)...the all-time champ at making grown men cry when the painfully shy Gale finds his voice and Brian succumbs to cancer."

17. Field of Dreams (1989)
"...this nostalgic love letter to our national pastime captures perfectly the game's intangibles - the thwack of a fist to the glove, the shock of a fastball high and tight...there's that line: 'Hey, dad? Wanna have a catch?' Talk about your fantasy baseball."

18. White Men Can't Jump (1992)
"Director Ron Shelton's biggest box office hit plainly articulates the irony that lurks in his other sweaty works: 'Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win.'"

19. Fat City (1972)
"John Huston's skid-row saga about a washed-up alcoholic boxer (a never-better Stacy Keach) and a promising young amateur (a 22-year-old Jeff Bridges) is all about the pugs who never make it out of the spit-bucket world of musty gyms...it's about the flip side of the American Dream."

20. Heaven Can Wait (1978)
"...the wry supernatural romance about a mistakenly deceased Los Angeles Ram determined to play in the Super Bowl. The gridiron climax looks and feels real - from the Rams' opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to the postgame interview by NBC's Dick Enberg."

21. The Rookie (2002)
"...the apple-in-the-throat yarn about Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid), a real-life high school baseball coach and ex-pitcher whose arm gave out just as he was about to turn pro...Morris makes it to the Show and resolves his daddy issues with coldhearted pop Brian Cox."

22. Cinderella Man (2005)
"Ron Howard's stirring recounting of Depression-era boxer James J. Braddock's (Russell Crowe) shot at the heavy-weight brass ring manages to encompass all three - second chances, best chances, last chances."

23. The Freshman (1925)
"...the first great sports comedy. As Harold 'Speedy' Lamb, Tate U's resident 'college boob', (Harold) Lloyd is hilarious and heartwarming in his quest for acceptance on campus and on the football field. His gags in the 'Big Game' ... have been aped for 80 years."

24. Rocky III (1982)
"it perfected the formula...Rocky III's true gift to sports cinema is the anatomically fetishized, borderline homoerotic training sequence. That, and 'Eye of the Tiger'...Twenty notches below the first Rocky on our list, but the most fun installment in the whole series."

25. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Movie Kings (1976)
"Though the movie is fiction, Bingo is a thinly veiled gloss on Satchel Paige, Leon Carter (James Earl Jones) is clearly based on slugger Josh Gibson, and Esquire Joe Calloway (Stan Shaw) is a stand-in for barrier-breaker Jackie Robinson."

26. Love & Basketball (2000)
"...this Spike Lee-produced pic succeeds in part because it's about basketball players - who just happen to be female. They sweat, they lift weights, they talk trash. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) is a headstrong tomboy who intends to be the first girl in the NBA. Neighbor Quincy (Omar Epps) is the son of a pro player with the skills to go all the way...their relationship grows over time from awkward smooches to a sensual game of one-on-one."

27. Better Off Dead (1985)
"...features a Japanese drag-racing Howard Cosell impersonator, a big wet smooch at Dodger Stadium's home plate, and a climactic ski race...this underrated teen gem also shares the most basic of sports film themes - it's all about the underdog."

28. Tin Cup (1996)
"The second Ron Shelton-Kevin Costner collaboration, this story of a washed-up West Texas golf pro's improbably journey to the final round of the U.S. Open reveals the driving philosophy at the heart of golf: Humans are fallible, perfection is unattainable..., but there is immortality to be bound in a single sweetly hit ball."

29. The Longest Yard (1974)
"...(a) Burt Reynolds' prison football pic...Reynolds shines as disgraced QB Paul Crewe, who reluctantly cobbles together fellow convicts to take on the guards' semipro team. Director Robert Aldrich was among the first to capture the sport's speed and violence up close..."

30. Bend It Like Beckham (2002, UK)
"In Gurinder Chadha's cross-cultural comedy, the heroine is a London-bred Punjabi teen (Parminder Nagra) with a passion for 'football' and a bedroom shrine to U.K. superstar midfielder David Beckham."

30 Best Sports Movies of All Time

This list was compiled by Rolling Stone in August, 2010.

1. Hoop Dreams (1994)
"...a three-hour odyssey about high school kids William Gates and Arthur Agee as they try to make their way to the NBA. A landmark American documentary, this compassionate labor of love..."

2. Rocky (1976)
"...a surprisingly lived-in, sensitive drama about a broken-down boxer who gets one last, very unlikely chance to prove himself against the World Heavyweight Champion..."

3. The Bad News Bears (1976)
"...so timeless — even if the sight of Walter Matthau playing a beer-guzzling single guy overseeing latchkey children screams 'Yes, this most definitely is the 1970s.' Writer Bill Lancaster and director Michael Ritchie capture the pressure grown-ups put on pre-teens who have more on their minds than sports."

4. Raging Bull (1980)
"...a brutal, unromantic portrait of the sport and the film's real-life protagonist — the charmless but utterly compelling Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro)...Less a biopic than a psychological study of what it takes to get in the ring (and what happens when you take that killer instinct home with you)."

5. Caddyshack (1980)
"...eminently quotable and supremely rewatchable, Caddyshack has earned a sizable cult following since arriving in theaters in the summer of 1980, and it's easy to see why..."

6. Bull Durham (1988)
"A tribute to those whose love for the game needs no limelight, Bull Durham is at once a breezy romance, a knowing look at the less-glamorous aspects of America's pastime, and a story about how the compromises of aging aren't just unavoidable — they're far preferable to clinging to the past."

7. Slap Shot (1977)
"...this spirited, profane tribute to sports' lost causes and those who see them through to the end. Paul Newman stars as a player/coach who resorts to questionable, often violent, tactics to boost the profits of the Charlestown Chiefs, the local heroes of a failing steel-mill town."

8. When We Were Kings (1996)
"...Oscar-winning documentary is pretty much the definitive last word on the legendary bout, complete with talking-head testimonies from Norman Mailer and George Plimpton, training clips and footage of the moment the Greatest takes back the belt (from George Forman in the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight)."

9. Senna (2010)
"Brazil's Ayrton Senna became a national hero and the photogenic face of the Formula One circuit in the Eighties and Nineties before an accident at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994 ended his life..."

10. Friday Night Lights (2004)
"... balancing documentary-inspired handheld camerawork against the soaring emotions of the players' lives both off and on the field, then grounding the entire affair via a rock-solid performance from Billy Bob Thornton as a deeply invested coach."

11. White Men Can't Jump (1992)
"...Real-life pals Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes make for a sharp comedic dynamic duo as dead-end Venice Beach streetballers reluctantly teaming up to win local competitions...

12. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
"Like most sports biopics of the time, this retelling about Gehrig's life, career and ultimate demise from ALS (a disease that's synonymous with his name) is shamelessly sentimental, incredibly inspiring and focuses just as much on mythologizing the man as it does the game."

13. Hoosiers (1986)
"... this dizzyingly feel-good sports movie in which a troubled coach (Gene Hackman) motivates a group of underdog 1950s Indiana high schoolers to play the best basketball of their lives by — wait for it — sticking to the fundamentals."

14. Murderball (2005)
"...what makes Murderball – so named for the brutal sport of wheelchair rugby it focuses on ­– such a great film is that it skips all the gooey, inspirational bulls--t, instead chronicling the burgeoning, bloody rivalry between the U.S. and Canadian teams."

15. Fat City (1972)
"...John Huston's fatalistic film about the relationship between the down-and-out alcoholic boxer Billy (Stacy Keach) and Ernie, the young-up-and-comer (Jeff Bridges) who inspires the older fighter to try for a comeback. It’s a boxing movie more concerned with between-bouts trials and traps than what goes on in the ring."

16. The Endless Summer (1966)
"The greatest surfing picture of all time, this unassuming piece of counterculture anthropology is so likable that it had kids around the world buying boards and heading to the California coast in search of the perfect barrel."

17. North Dallas Forty (1979)
"Set among the players and management of a team semi-loosely modeled after the Dallas Cowboys, Ted Kotcheff's down-and-dirty sports drama does double duty as a broad satire as it delves into the corrupt underbelly of professional football – the drugs, the sex, the backstabbing, and the bureaucratic incompetence..."

18. The Wrestler (2008)
"...Mickey Rourke’s Randy "The Ram" Robinson: an ex-superstar who gets beat to hell whenever he entertains. Director Darren Aronofsky's film lingers over the sport's lurid details (performers using blades to make their shows more visceral), and contrasts the Ram's colorful costumes with the bleak existence of his life offstage..."

19. The Natural (1984)
"...in this loose adaptation of Bernard Malamud's novel. Robert Redford plays the once-promising phenom Roy Hobbs, who, in his mid 30s, finally gets his shot at the big leagues after disappearing from the scene for mysterious reasons..."

20. The Big Lebowski (1998)
"Joel and Ethan Coen's Raymond Chandler-inspired shaggy dog story is, among its other qualities, a great bowling movie...The Big Lebowski captures how much of the experience of chucking a heavy ball down a lane depends on a number of factors: alley ambience, team camaraderie, between-frames taunts, and fetishistic equipment maintenance."

21. Victory (1981)
"Based on the Hungarian film Two Half Times in Hell, director John Huston's potboiler stars Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, and Brazilian superstar Pele as WWII POWs who're going to use a match against the Germans as an opportunity to escape..."

22. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
"Co-produced by Motown honcho Berry Gordy and directed by a pre-Saturday Night Fever John Badham, this period baseball comedy recalls the age of barnstorming, when pro athletes supplemented their income by traveling the country to play against rubes..."

23. Bend It Like Beckham (2002, UK)
"...Gurinder Chadha's follow-your-dreams fable wouldn't work half as well if weren't for future ER star Parminder Nagra's winning performance and a real knack for nailing how sports can boost the self-esteem and self-identity of young women."

24. Any Given Sunday (1999)
"... this look at a turbulent season in the life of a struggling Miami football franchise...That collective sense of anxiety and hopelessness is just one of the reasons why Pacino's climactic "Life's just a game of inches" speech to his troops has earned its place as one of the all-time greatest sports movie speeches."

25. Blue Chips (1994)
"Basketball-fanatic director William Friedkin populated screenwriter Ron Shelton's story of college hoops corruption with the likes of Larry Bird, Bob Knight, Dick Vitale, Bob Cousy, and Shaquille O’Neal — some as themselves, and others as characters from a fictional west coast university..."

26. Rudy (1993)
"...you've got a story about a hard-working, huge-hearted hero overcomes all obstacles (dyslexia, diminutive size, coach Dan Devine) to get his shot in the final home game of the 1975 season..."

27. Chariots of Fire (1981, UK)
"It's remembered today primarily for its pulsing Vangelis synthesizer score and that shot of Olympians running along a beach in slow-motion — but director Hugh Hudson's Oscar-winning sports drama is anything but an easy callback punchline..."

28. Miracle (2004)
"...one of the finest attributes of Gavin O'Connor's tribute to gruff coach Herb Brooks is that it never stops reminding us that the man who led the underdog U.S. hockey team to an unlikely gold medal was no touchy-feely, heart-tugging dude."

29. Tin Cup (1996)
"Kevin Costner reunited with his Bull Durham writer-director Ron Shelton for this golf-themed rom-com, playing Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, a burned out ex-pro who tries to win the heart of a woman (Rene Russo) by out-shooting her boyfriend (Don Johnson) at the U.S. Open..."

30. No No: A Dockumentary (2014)
"Dock Ellis is most famous for claiming that he once pitched a no-hitter while tripping on LSD, but as Jeff Radice's "dockumentary" makes clear, the Pirates hurler had a fairly distinguished career, intersecting with one of baseball's wildest decades..."




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