Sports movies are not made very often. Having said that, they’re still one of the most successful genres in the entertainment industry. Sports movies move people deeply; no matter what race, gender, or nationality, just playing a sport is passionate and moving.
On top of that, Billions of us love sports. Many of us have been inspired by sportsmen. And being able to see sporting action as a movie gives us a whole new experience. Sports movies show us the real value hard-work, dedication, team-work and sportsmanship.
That’s why almost everyone loves sports movies.
Here, we’ve made a list of the 18 best sports movies of all time that are sure to make you go ‘wow’.
- 18: “Bring it On” (2000)
- 17: “Any Giving Sunday” (1999)
- 16: “Chariots of Fire” (1981)
- 15: “A League of Their Own” (1981)
- 14: “Field of Dreams” (1989)
- 13: “Raging Bull” (1980)
- 12: “Draft Day” (2014)
- 11: “Moneyball” (2011)
- 10: “Rush” (2013)
- 9: “Invictus” (2009)
- 8: “I, Tonya” (2017)
- 7: “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)
- 6: “Coach Carter” (2005)
- 5: “42” (2013)
- 4: “Soul Surfer” (2011)
- 3: “Creed” (2015)
- 2: “Rocky” (1976)
- 1: “Remember the Titans” (2000)
18: “Bring it On” (2000)
The 2001 release of Cheers! is a film about high school girls who put their youth on the line for cheer leading. The director is Peyton Reed, who also directed the 2015 release of the film Ant-Man. Kirsten Dunst plays Toa, the new captain of the cheerleading club.
The school’s cheerleading club, which is one of the mainstays of the school, is suspected of plagiarism in their performance, and if things continue as they are, their participation in the competition is in danger. Toa and his friends want to clear their name somehow, but it is discovered that the former captain has been stealing another school’s performance.
In the United States, cheer girls, especially blonde beauties who serve as cheer captains, are popular at school and reign at the top of the school caste. Kirsten Dunst, who plays Toa, is really cute and uplifting.
17: “Any Giving Sunday” (1999)
The prodigy director Oliver Stone depicts the world of the American football professional league (NFL), and the fierce battle between the players is overwhelming in this film. The film has become a hot topic with Al Pacino as the team’s manager and a cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, and Jamie Foxx.
The Miami-based professional football team, the Miami Sharks, had been on a losing streak all season long and had fallen short. Head coach Tony (Al Pacino) and owner Christina (Cameron Diaz) are also at odds from time to time. Meanwhile, captain Jack (Dennis Quaid) is injured and unnamed player Willie (Jamie Foxx) takes his place.
The names of the teams and leagues that appear in the play are fictional, but the models seem to exist and depict the underworld of the NFL in a serious way. The feud between the head coach and the owner who doesn’t stand on the field side, and the feud between the quarterback who is deprived of his ace position by injury and the second-string player who plays in his place and becomes arrogant.
16: “Chariots of Fire” (1981)
Based on the true story of two British youths who competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics, the film won Best Picture at the 54th Academy Awards. In addition, the song “Titles”, which is played in the play, is a famous song that is still familiar to this day and also won the Academy Award for Best Songwriting.
In England in 1919, Harold Abrams (Ben Cross), a Jew, enrolled at Cambridge University and devoted himself to athletics in an effort to overturn Jewish discrimination. Meanwhile, a Scottish minister, Eric Liddell (Ian Charlson), tries to embody his faith through running, and is also passionate about athletics. The two would compete in competitions and would go on to compete in the Olympics in Paris.
Two young men of different beliefs, one Jewish and one Scottish, are determined to live their lives as Jews and the other as Scots, and to compete in the Olympics and be recognised as “British”. It’s a film that makes you think about what life is all about through running.
15: “A League of Their Own” (1981)
Based on the real-life National Women’s Professional Baseball League, founded in 1943 at a time of severe discrimination against women, this moving film tells the story of the players’ struggles. Gina Davis plays the main character Doty, flanked by Tom Hanks, who plays director Jimmy. The fact that Madonna, a singer, appeared as a player and provided the theme song also became a hot topic.
In the U.S. during World War II, it was a difficult time for professional baseball to operate because the big league players were out in droves. In the midst of all this, the creation and promotion of an all-female professional baseball league is being considered, and a scouting man appears to Doty, who has been playing catcher on the softball team.
The National Women’s Professional Baseball League survived for twelve years, 1943-54, and its players continued to struggle to find their league’s raison d’être and purpose in life, undaunted by feminism. It is said that the activities of this league became widely known because of this work.
14: “Field of Dreams” (1989)
The fantasy film, based on William Patrick Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe,” stars Kevin Costner as the main character, Ray Kinsella. The film is based on American baseball culture and depicts the dreams, hopes and family ties of the good old 60’s American “Pax Americana”.
Ray, a farmer in Iowa, was poor, but made ends meet in the cornfields. One day, however, Ray hears a mysterious voice in the cornfield saying, “If you build it, he will come. Sensing something in these words, Ray becomes obsessed and transforms the cornfield into a baseball field. Then, one night, Shoeless Joe shows up…
Joe Jackson, also known as “Shoeless Joe,” was a major league outfielder in the 1910s who was ousted from the baseball world by the Black Sox hoax of 1919. His appearance at Ray’s ballpark brings one now-defunct player after another to bring Ray a fantastic miracle. It was a huge hit in the U.S. and Japan, where baseball culture is thriving, and it has won numerous awards.
13: “Raging Bull” (1980)
Raising Bull is a boxing film based on the autobiography of real-life professional boxer Jake LaMotta. Directed by Martin Scorsese and played by Robert De Niro as the protagonist Ramotta, this is a classic in film history.
Undefeated since his debut, Jake suffered his first defeat in 1941. He tosses around his wife and his brother Joey, who is his manager, but he finds solace when he meets a girl named Vicky. But Jake’s boxer’s life would go through a series of intense ups and downs with bad decisions, bogus bouts and paranoia about Vicky.
Not only did De Niro work out his body thoroughly for the role, but he also gained 27 kilos of weight to express his obese figure after Lamotta retired! The film won numerous film awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor.
12: “Draft Day” (2014)
A dramatic day in the life of an NFL draft conference from the perspective of a general manager (GM) tasked with rebuilding a team. The film is directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) and stars Kevin Costner as the main character, GM Sunny.
Sunny is the GM of the NFL’s professional football team, the Cleveland Browns, and he wants to turn around his underachieving team by acquiring a big rookie in the draft. However, he disagreed with the manager, and the time for the draft meeting was ticking away.
One of the most high-profile days in American sports: the football draft conference. In Japan, it’s probably the equivalent of a professional baseball draft conference, and it’s a very exciting day. This draft meeting is depicted from the perspective of a GM, and it is a thrilling upsetting entertainment piece.
11: “Moneyball” (2011)
The real-life GM Billy Beane, who changed the American professional baseball world with his innovative theory called “Sabermetrics”. Moneyball” is based on a non-fiction book that follows his transformation of a weak small ball team into an ever-win team using this theory. Billy Beane was played by Brad Pitt.
As GM of the Oakland Athletics, Billy uses “sabermetrics” to improve the team’s winning percentage and create a new wave of excitement in the professional baseball world.
What’s great about this film is that it doesn’t portray Bean as a hero who rebuilds his team, but as a former baseball player who loves baseball. I was impressed to see the solitary struggle to change the old-fashioned baseball world, which was not fair in terms of money, without putting the players’ or owners’ shoulders to the test.
10: “Rush” (2013)
A motorsport film about the battle and friendship between two genius F1 drivers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Directed by Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code), Daniel Brühl as Lauda and Chris Hemsworth as Hunt.
In the 11th round of the 1976 F1 World Championship, the German Grand Prix, Lauda was forced to leave the field after a serious accident. In the meantime, they were closing in on their biggest rivals, Hunt from McLaren, and the two headed to the final round in Japan to decide the outcome.
The film is set in the 1976 season that Formula One fans have been talking about for years, and it’s an exciting subject. The film depicts the rivalry between Lauda, who is called the “computer,” and Hunt, who is in stark contrast to Lauda, creating a fast-paced drama. Brühl’s impassioned performance as Lauda, who comes back from a serious accident, is also a highlight.
9: “Invictus” (2009)
A human drama directed by Clint Eastwood. The story is based on the true story of how Nelson Mandela, who became the President of the Republic of South Africa, and the South African national rugby team worked together to win the World Cup in order to eliminate racial discrimination. Morgan Freeman as President Mandela and Matt Damon as Pinar, who captained the national team.
Mandela became the first black president of the Republic of South Africa in 1994. It was rugby that set its sights on rebuilding a country divided by a policy of racial segregation called “apartheid”. Realizing that the only way to unite the nation was through the power of sport, Mandela first met with Pinar in order to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup at home.
As a young man, President Mandela threw himself into the anti-apartheid movement, a man who spent 27 years behind bars for state treason. After his release, he chose “reconciliation and forgiveness” rather than “revenge” and worked for the abolition of apartheid. There is no other film that conveys the power of sports as powerfully as this one, and the World Cup scene at the end is filled with excitement.
8: “I, Tonya” (2017)
As an American figure skater, Tonya Harding has competed in two Winter Olympics. Her fame, however, was ironically altered by an incident. This film tells the true story of the Kerrigan attack in 1992 from Tonya’s side.
Growing up in a poor but strict family, Tonya worked hard as a figure skater and was recognized for her talent as the first female figure skater to succeed in the triple axel. But in 1992, her life began to take a downward turn when her ex-husband Jeff attacked and injured Tonya’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan.
Margot Robbie, who got her big break as Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squat,” plays Tonya, who has lived a scandalous life. In this film, he actually tried his hand at the skating scene and is also a producer.
7: “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)
Hilary Swank plays Maggie, a female professional boxer, and Clint Eastwood directed, produced and starred in Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood plays Coach Frankie, who portrays his mentor and brotherhood with Maggie. In addition to Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the film also won Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, as well as numerous film awards.
Maggie has left the country town and hit the door of a deserted boxing gym. Frankie, the owner and trainer, doesn’t take Maggie seriously at first, but is so impressed by her seriousness that he throws himself back into the dangerous world of professional boxing. They trust each other and are bound together by a solid bond, but then…
At first I thought it would be a success story like “Rocky”, but in the second half of the film, I was betrayed in an unexpected way. And when you realize that this film is about an accident that can’t be reversed, which is something that happens all too often in professional sports, and that the theme is something as heavy as “death with dignity”, you’re appalled. This film is a masterpiece and will continue to be a controversial work that causes both pros and cons.
6: “Coach Carter” (2005)
A sports film based on the true story of Ken Carter, the coach of an American high school basketball team. Thomas Carter (The Negotiator) directed the film and Samuel L. Jackson played Ken Carter.
Alumnus Ken Carter takes over as the new coach at Richmond High School in California’s basketball team. Richmond is not safe, and students are not going to college. Carter gets his students disciplined first, and then begins to teach them hard, both academically and in basketball.
Samuel L. Jackson gives a passionate performance as Coach Carter, a principled man who thinks about his students’ futures. The film is also the film debut of Channing Tatum, who was a dancer and appeared in the music video for the theme song “Hope”.
5: “42” (2013)
A biographical film about the half-life of Jackie Robinson, who became the first black major leaguer. Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) directed and wrote the film, with Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) playing Robinson.
In 1947, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), who was the GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson, a player in the Black League. But at that time, even in the professional baseball world, racism was still fierce. Robinson’s silence and dedication to his play has changed the way people look at him, not only from the fans and the press, but also from his teammates.
This is the first time that Harrison Ford has played a real person in a film. He plays Ricky well as he watches Robinson grow up with a warm eye. The number “42” in the title is Robinson’s back number, and it is now permanently numbered by baseball teams across the country, including independent leagues and amateurs, in honor of his accomplishments.
4: “Soul Surfer” (2011)
Adapted from the autobiography of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, the film tells the story of a 13-year-old shark attack at sea that left her without an arm, but never gave up on her dream of becoming a professional. Bethany was played by Anasophia Robb (The Bridge over Terabithia).
Bethany was born and raised in Hawaii and has loved surfing since she was a child. But in 2003, she lost her left arm when she was attacked by a shark while surfing. Still, he couldn’t give up surfing and decided to go pro again.
The Soul Surfer” is a masterpiece that can be said to be a cheerleading song for those who have obstacles and overcome them. The surfing scene was done by Bethany herself as a stunt. This film teaches us the importance of not giving up hope and living our lives.
3: “Creed” (2015)
This is the first spin-off of the hugely popular series Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone. Fans of the series will love the homage that Rocky pays to Adonis (Donnie) Creed, son of Rocky’s best friend Apollo Creed, as he builds him into a top-notch boxer.
Apollo’s son, Donny, had no problems with his life, but he dreamed of becoming a boxer, just like his father. He knocks on the door of a boxing gym, but is turned down because of his wealthy upbringing and lack of real-world experience. Next, he applied to become an apprentice to Rocky, but was also turned down.
Later, Donny started going to the gym under the name of Creed, but he became dissatisfied with the training and begged Rocky to train with him again.
Michael B. Jordan, who played the main character Donnie in the film, and Sylvester Stallone, who played Rocky, were nominated for numerous awards, and Stallone was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
2: “Rocky” (1976)
Sylvester Stallone, a fledgling actor at the time, wrote the script in just three days for this boxing film, inspired by a boxing match he was watching on TV. Stallone became instantly famous for his role as Rocky in the film, which became one of Hollywood’s most iconic sports films.
Rocky Balboa is a boxer who lives in Philadelphia. But his skills are third-rate and he can’t make a living by boxing alone. Then, before the world heavyweight title match was held, champion Apollo Creed’s opponent was injured and at Apollo’s suggestion, he was to face Rocky, who was an unknown boxer. With persuasion from those around him, Rocky decides to take the fight and begins the grueling training.
Rocky’s hot story won many fans and became a popular series with six sequels in the works. The Rockies’ story also continues with the series’ spin-off film, The Man Who Takes Over the Creed Champs, coming out in 2015 and its sequel, Creed the Nemesis of Fire, coming out in 2019.
1: “Remember the Titans” (2000)
The film is an adaptation of the true story of the Titans, a high school football team that took place in a conservative rural American town. This is the backdrop for the radical change in society as white and black high schools were integrated in the 1970s when people were calling for the elimination of racism.
It was 1971, when the Civil Rights Movement was calling for the elimination of racial discrimination. That wave also hit the rural Virginia town of Alexandria, where a white and black high school was merged to form the Titans, a mixed white and black football team. The head coach also changed from white to black, and the people in town couldn’t accept the change.
Denzel Washington played head coach Herman Boone. Key to the story is the interaction between Boone and white head coach Bill Joost, as well as the players coming together, forgetting about the color of each other’s skin. Even today, racism hasn’t gone away, but the film lives on today with the words, “I’ll never forget the Titans.
This was the list of some of the best sport movies you can watch right now. Also, we’ve made sure to add films based on fan reviews as well as critic’s appreciation.
However, there is a side to sports that is contrary to the clean sweat, such as the use of sports for politics and even doping to win the Olympics.
It’s time to remember these classic sports movies and learn something important from the athletes who stood up against all forms of discrimination. After all, it’s sports that binds us all together.