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
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
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
"...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
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."