Sports movies: The top 50 sports films of all time

Get into the game with our definitive list of the best sports movies: inspirational dramas, rude comedies and classic documentaries celebrating the real thing.

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  • Sports movies: Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

  • Sports movies: Big Fan (2009)

  • Sports movies: Murderball (2005)

  • Sports movies: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

  • Sports movies: Eight Men Out (1988)

  • Sports movies: Big Wednesday (1978)

  • Sports movies: Field of Dreams (1989)

  • Sports movies: A League of Their Own (1992)

  • Sports movies: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

  • Sports movies: The Fighter (2010)

Sports movies: Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

50
Sports movies: Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Fresh-faced Keira Knightley became a star when this crowd-pleasing cross-cultural drama booted its way into American multiplexes. Even if the definitive soccer movie is yet to be made, this one—about the importance of inclusiveness on the field and off—scores nicely.—Joshua Rothkopf

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49
Sports movies: Big Fan (2009)

Big Fan (2009)

Folks in the stands are thanked plenty enough come postseason, but how often do they get their own movie? After scripting The Wrestler, writer-director Robert D. Siegel turned his attention to the subject—darkly and with great empathy—via this tale of a Giants fan (Patton Oswalt) tackled by his own obsession.—Joshua Rothkopf

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48
Sports movies: Murderball (2005)

Murderball (2005)

Quadriplegic athletes don’t want your sympathy—and to watch them play their variation of wheelchair rugby, flesh and metal merging into living cruise missiles, they don’t want casual entertainment either. This exuberantly rude documentary captures the essence of sports euphoria in a surprising, universal way.—Joshua Rothkopf

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47
Sports movies: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

The bane of young nerds everywhere, this violent playground game offers the perfect vehicle to parody sports-movie clichés: the team of lovable misfits, the rich snob rivals, the tournament with a decisive sudden-death moment. Grafted onto a kids’ game, the high stakes seem hilariously absurd, even as you sincerely root for Vince Vaughn & Co. to be the last ones out.—David Fear

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46
Sports movies: Eight Men Out (1988)

Eight Men Out (1988)

Because it’s a John Sayles movie, you can expect the director’s heady brand of politicized entertainment. Still, the real-life scenario—about the infamous Chicago “Black Sox,” who threw the 1919 World Series—makes the stridency go down in riveting fashion, as does a dynamite cast led by John Cusack.—Joshua Rothkopf

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45
Sports movies: Big Wednesday (1978)

Big Wednesday (1978)

Three close-knit California dudes break the waves and comb their way through some turbulent political tides in John Milius’s awesomely macho surf drama. The cast is pure ’70s virility (Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, Gary Busey) and the spindrift set pieces are as epic as a Star Wars space battle.—Keith Uhlich

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44
Sports movies: Field of Dreams (1989)

Field of Dreams (1989)

Kevin Costner had already strutted his stuff once in Bull Durham, but Phil Alden Robinson’s sentimental tale of a man building a playing field in his backyard proved that the star was Hall of Fame material. Here, baseball isn’t just a game; it’s a chance for fathers, sons and even dead legends to have one last crack at redemption.—David Fear

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43
Sports movies: A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own (1992)

Penny Marshall’s funny and moving dramedy about a WWII-era women’s ball team has an A-list roster (Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna), some stellar pinch hitters (hey, Rosie O’Donnell) and memorable one-liners (“There’s no crying in baseball”) that’ll have you choking on your chewing tobacco.—Keith Uhlich

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42
Sports movies: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this tough, tear-jerking story about a gruff, aging trainer and the unseasoned female boxer (Hilary Swank) he takes under his wing. The film strikes a near-perfect balance between brawn (in the arduously raw fighting sequences) and sentimentality (in Eastwood and Swank’s tender surrogate father-daughter relationship).—Keith Uhlich

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41
Sports movies: The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter (2010)

Using vintage Betamax cameras and hiring veteran cable-sports crews to replicate the look of HBO’s mid-’90s boxing matches, David O. Russell adds a level of period-perfect verisimilitude to this biopic on welterweight champ Micky Ward. The stoic Boston brawler is played, punch for punch, by Mark Wahlberg, who personally nurtured the project for years.—David Fear

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Users say

57 comments
Zachary Shelton
Zachary Shelton

There are many movies that you left off this list: -Glory Road -Coach Carter -Remember the Titans -Cool Runnings

Paul
Paul

i think the list is pretty good, some stuff i hadn't seen before. agree cool runnings should be there or thereabouts and am i the only one who loves midnight sting??

tigerGUY
tigerGUY

Are you f'ing kidding me?

seriously?
seriously?

friday night lights should easily be top 5 all time

della
della

where is remember the titans? cant leave denzel out of this list and the story is very touching.

Joe Mamma
Joe Mamma

Seriously? Where's Rudy? As I was scrolling I was truly expecting Rudy to be #1. Unreal.

Lee rust
Lee rust

the fact that "Mystery Alaska" isnt in this makes me not respect any of this!! also ihate baseball but "The Sandlot" come on both of these movies should be gimmies!!!

kyle
kyle

the legend of bagger vance....

st anger
st anger

No remember the titans? For shame.

Shane
Shane

umm remeber the titans???

Anthony Bullaro
Anthony Bullaro

I do not know how the author of this list graded these movies but as soon as I saw "A League of Their Own" was ahead of "Field of Dreams" I could not keep reading.

You Reahomo
You Reahomo

oh and Sandlot, Remember the Titans, Rudy, The Mighty Ducks, Warrior, and HAPPY GILMORE! f*ck you

You Reahomo
You Reahomo

You missed Mystery Alaska and Space Jam. This list is pathetic

Joe
Joe

Leaving out Rudy and Remember the Titans while including Bend it like Beckham and Dodgeball is asinine. Not to say that Dodgeball is a bad movie, but Rudy and Remember the Titans are classic feel good sports movies that define the genre.

Omer
Omer

Warrior should be in this list and easily on the higher end!

Mark06
Mark06

where is Rudy(1993)?!

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David Reynolds
David Reynolds

How on Earth is Remember the Titans not on this list?!

ian
ian

Rudy?

tom
tom

no For Love of the Game?????

Solomon Keithley
Solomon Keithley

Bend it like beckham is on here....... but no rudy? this is a joke

Melanie
Melanie

I love the fact that Rocky is the first one

nathan
nathan

I enjoyed the article, but in my opinion you are missing a terrific movie from the list: Remember the Titans. Although it's a disney movie, there is no way that it is not in the top 50 sports movies. Well acted and a touching thesis, the only thing left to be desired is an ending that isn't such a hollywood cliche.

chris
chris

Where is Rudy?

adam
adam

Rudy??? Ever heard of it? I was surprised to see that it was not in your top ten, but not even on the list...Seriously? Yet, Dodgeball, Bend it like Beckham, and Any Given Sunday are? This list is a joke.

Matthew Kessel Lyon
Matthew Kessel Lyon

I'm sorry, but I don't respect and "top sports movies" list that doesn't include Remember the Titans.

Charles
Charles

No Rememer The Titans, the Pistol? come on...

Horse
Horse

did I miss Rudy?

wf!
wf!

This list, should bring shame to your family. Cinderella Man in my opinion, is the greatest boxing movie of all time. To not have it in your list is inexcusable! SHAME!

Thomas
Thomas

Great list except missing one of the best Boaz Yakin's Rememeber the Titans

jb
jb

no rudy is a joke

Sam
Sam

This list means nothing. Unless I missed it, Remember the Titans isn't even on there....

RISSE75
RISSE75

ever see Major League? if you had, it would be in this list. So go watch it and fix the list.

Jack Winters
Jack Winters

No Remember The Titans, Warrior or Waterboy but you made space for Bend It Like Beckham?

Darren
Darren

Awesome article but shocked that Remember the Titans(top 5, if not number 1) one of the greatest sporting movies ever made, and Coach Carter didnt crack the list! 'Ya'all wanna victory?"

joe
joe

Senna was so excellent. Great list.

Alex
Alex

Why is Remember the Titans not on here???

fred
fred

What about "Remember the Titans" or "We are Marshall" The two best in my opinion.

Giorgio Meneses
Giorgio Meneses

Remember The Titans? Glory Road? Coach Carter? Space Jam?

Dylan Dierig
Dylan Dierig

Hoosiers and miracle dont even crack the top ten????? thats messed up

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