There are many movies that you left off this list: -Glory Road -Coach Carter -Remember the Titans -Cool Runnings
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.
Mon Sep 17 2012
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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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??
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!!!
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.
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.
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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.
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.
I'm sorry, but I don't respect and "top sports movies" list that doesn't include Remember the Titans.
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!
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?"