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: Any Given Sunday (1999)

  • Sports movies: Offside (2006)

  • Sports movies: Breaking Away (1979)

  • Sports movies: Chariots of Fire (1981)

  • Sports movies: Fat City (1972)

  • Sports movies: Miracle (2004)

  • Sports movies: North Dallas Forty (1979)

  • Sports movies: The Bad News Bears (1976)

  • Sports movies: Hoosiers (1986)

  • Sports movies: The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Sports movies: Any Given Sunday (1999)

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Sports movies: Any Given Sunday (1999)

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Leave it to Oliver Stone to make you enjoy feeling like a tossed-around pigskin. His absorbing look at a fictional pro-football team and the veteran coach trying to lead them to victory (Al Pacino at full bellow) packs a testosterone-filled blitz into two-and-a-half thrillingly steroidal hours.—Keith Uhlich

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19
Sports movies: Offside (2006)

Offside (2006)

What if you can’t cheer on your favorite team because of your gender? That’s the reality in Iran, providing the basis for Jafar Panahi’s buoyant, brazenly political drama about a group of female soccer fans sneaking into a World Cup match.—Keith Uhlich

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18
Sports movies: Breaking Away (1979)

Breaking Away (1979)

Dennis Christopher refuses to be just another Indiana nobody…so why not pretend to be a champion Italian cyclist? Peter Yates’s feel-good sports drama says a lot about the allure of competitive biking, but this is really a movie about relying on your teammates—the friends who’ll always get you across the finish line.—David Fear

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17
Sports movies: Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Even if all you remember is that shot of Olympians running on the beach to Vangelis’s pounding synth score, it’s fine. Sometimes a great sports movie only needs sweat and exhilaration. Return to the story, though, and you’ll be beguiled by a real-life tale of British resolve, imperial hauteur and religious tolerance.—Joshua Rothkopf

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16
Sports movies: Fat City (1972)

Fat City (1972)

In John Huston’s engrossing drama, Stacy Keach plays a past-his-prime boxer who acts as both mentor and rival to cocky up-and-comer Jeff Bridges. The ensemble is stellar—especially Susan Tyrrell as a belligerent barfly—and ace cinematographer Conrad L. Hall brings out the seedy poetry of the back-alley California setting.—Keith Uhlich

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15
Sports movies: Miracle (2004)

Miracle (2004)

This uplifting drama about the U.S. hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Olympics is a fabulous paean to coaching. Kurt Russell fully transforms himself body and soul into impassioned trainer Herb Brooks, never shying away from his character’s family-neglecting obsessiveness, even while delivering spirited speeches that would have amateurs entering the rink.—Keith Uhlich

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14
Sports movies: North Dallas Forty (1979)

North Dallas Forty (1979)

The mightiest of football movies enters the world of pro athletics through the beer-and-drug-laced locker room, the debauched lifestyle and endless partying. Intended as a satirical comedy, the darker truth of the circus surrounding the game lingers, as does a terrific Nick Nolte performance as a hero past his prime.—Joshua Rothkopf

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13
Sports movies: The Bad News Bears (1976)

The Bad News Bears (1976)

Not a small number of film lovers—those who see themselves in these foulmouthed little-leaguers—would call this one of the key movies of the ’70s. They wouldn’t be wrong: Subversively, it’s a comedy that revels in the dirty nature of American competition, criticizing it as well as celebrating it to the operatic strains of Carmen.—Joshua Rothkopf

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12
Sports movies: Hoosiers (1986)

Hoosiers (1986)

Small-town athletes make good in this enthralling underdog drama about a gruff coach with a checkered past (a terrific Gene Hackman) who leads his high-school basketball team to the state championships. Dennis Hopper is especially memorable as an alcoholic father given a redemptive second chance to get on the winning side.—Keith Uhlich

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11
Sports movies: The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Fans were still mourning the death of legendary pinstriper Lou Gehrig when Sam Wood’s film about the first baseman hit screens, barely a year after his passing. This tip of the cap was the perfect salve to their grief. Gary Cooper’s “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech captures the dignity, grace and resolve of one of the game’s true MVPs.—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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