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

31 comments
dimitris ionas
dimitris ionas

sorry but a list without major league is disgraceful. Cant argue with rocky being number 1, but i think the 2nd one was better.

Drew
Drew

The lack of "Warrior" degrades this list tremendously.

awesome one
awesome one

I can agree that rocky is the greatest sport film of all time.

Corey
Corey

uh, no Remember the Titans, Cinderella Man, Basketball Diaries..this list sucks

capitaine514
capitaine514

you forgot Nick Nolte-Blue chips ;) keep it up!

Devin Howard
Devin Howard

May be top 100 would be better, because there are a lot of other films out there. "He Got Game" "Above the Rim" "varsity Blues" and oh lol Rob Lowe "Young Blood"

jcwebb
jcwebb

Not in any specific order....Bull Durham, Raging Bull, Rocky, Hoosiers,Major League, The Natural, always make every top10. Hoop Dreams and Caddyshack top 10? Good flicks...not top 10, esp. when Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, and so many othe great films ranked lower!

Chris Williams
Chris Williams

The wrestler made the list and not The Program? Where is Rocky 4? Remember the Titans? He Got Game? Blue Chips?

Rhys
Rhys

Raging Bull should have been number 1 in my opinion it was so masterfully done. And I agree Cinderella Man should have been included.

Daniel
Daniel

What about Secretariat or Cinderella Man? And Any Given Sunday shouldn't even be on the list. It was terrible.

Kent U
Kent U

How could you or anybody else not even mention not to have Secretariat. Come on that is one of the greatest sports stories of all time. Karate Kid and not Secretariat.

Kirk
Kirk

I no I'm not from the "greatest city on earth", yawn! but this list is wildly inconsistent, and geocentric to New Yawk. While I applaud the research done to compile a list that includes many forgotten and great sports doc's, therein lies the problem. Is Lincoln up against Searching for Sugarman for best pic this year? No, and it shouldn't be, different art form. So I take issue with the criteria used for ranking them, personal taste, I suppose. Guess I'm just bitchin cuz I'd have Hoosiers over the Italian Stallion, and I'm from Michigan! But I went through the whole damn list, so...thanks!

Darrin
Darrin

And you have field of dreams at 44. And how did the Karate Kid make this list. Caddy Shack is a good movie but not much of a sports movie.

Darrin
Darrin

Wow you forgot Warrior, The Longest Yard, Sandlot, Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, and a number of others.

Sport
Sport

Remember the titans, we are marshall, coach carter, road to glory.... are you serious?!

KEVIN & GORDY
KEVIN & GORDY

DID ANYBODY ELSE NOTICED IN # 27 THAT THE PERSON IN THE PICTURE IS GOING TO THROW THE BALL RIGHT-HANDED. AND WE ALL KNOW THAT IN THE MOVIE ROY HOBBS STRIKES OUT THE WHAMMER ON 3 PITCHES, LEFTHANDED!

Funkysylvanelf
Funkysylvanelf

How about Remember the titans?? Return to your homeworks son!

James
James

Really? No Mighty ducks?

tch71
tch71

what about The Color of Money and The Hustler?

Gwen
Gwen

VICTORY, Michael Caine Sylvester Stallone, and Pele!!!

Geoxie
Geoxie

Bump for Brian's Song - And, ehem! ROLLERBALL? Duh.

John G.
John G.

Are you kidding me?! No Rudy and Any Given Sunday at #20? That's silly.

alfred weiss
alfred weiss

Too bad the trendy shunnung of musicals kept DAMN YANKEES off the list.

sara
sara

good list ! My favorite is Bull Durham !

Sally
Sally

Thank you,Thomas,I couldn't agree more...

Jordan
Jordan

This list is weak. Rocky at number one is cliche. Being that this is TimeOutNY not TimeOutBoston (or Philly), there are plenty of Yankees movies you left out, and "Pride" should be a helluva lot higher than 11th. It had Babe Ruth in it for God's sake! Also where is Basketball Diaries? I like sports movies that invoke childhood memories of the City.

Thomas
Thomas

What about Rudy?