If you’re a sports-loving enthusiast that loves unforgettable sports films, then you know that choosing just seven for any list is a task akin to having your teeth pulled by an inexperienced first-year dental student.
No matter…while there has been a multitude of excellent sports movies over the decades that have become an integral part of American sports history, I have managed to whittle a huge list down to just seven of my favorite sports movies of all-time, with one film in particular standing out above all others.
Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily saying these are the best seven sports movies of all-time, just seven of my very favorites.
Analyzing The Top 7 Sports Movies: City of Brotherly Love Statue Seals Deal For One Film
7. Remember the Titans (2000)
Denzel Washington was masterful in his role as the head coach of a high school football team that had to deal with the immense racial issues that plagued a ‘Southern’ state like Virginia in the late 1960s and early 70s once integration began.
Washington’s role calls for him to replace a white head coach who quickly develops animosity for his successor while many of the teams’ white players have trouble dealing with their new, black teammates and the fact that there’s a new sheriff in town. If you haven’t seen this wonderful film, it’s a must-see classic.
6. Glory Road (2006)
Glory Road is the true story of how Texas Western became the first school in college basketball history to employ an all-black starting lineup and how the team overcame all racism, discrimination – and mighty Kentucky – to win the 1966 NCAA basketball championship.
Josh Lucas portrays now legendary head coach Don Haskins while legendary actor Jon Voight plays the even more legendary Adolph Rupp. I enjoyed Glory Road a bit more than Hoosiers because of the integral and realistic aspects of the film that centered around race and racism. To see the immense struggles that men of color faced in the 1960s – and to see how they triumphed and overcame racism, bigotry, oppression – and their on-court opponents – was absolutely amazing.
5. A League of Their Own (1992)
I know A League of Their Own will never be considered a cinematic masterpiece, but it was a wildly entertaining film that featured a great cast starting with Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell and was directed by Penny Marshall.
The film is about a Major League Baseball owner that wants to keep baseball relevant as World War II threatens to shut down the MLB in 1943. Hanks plays a manager while Davis and Petty play two sisters that love one another immensely but have something of a sibling rivalry that culminates in the two going against one another in the World Series.
For me, the film takes on even greater significance since I had the great pleasure of interviewing many of the actual women that played in the league back in 1996 at a huge Philadelphia Convention Center sports memorabilia event.
4. Seabiscuit (2003)
I know some people don’t think of thoroughbred horse racing as a sport – and I’ll admit that I didn’t at one time either. However, I can attest with firsthand knowledge that Seabiscuit is one of the most moving sports films of all-time.
This film centers around the triumphs and tragedies of Seabiscuit a small thoroughbred that became one of the most unlikely champions in thoroughbred racing history and the U.S. Horse of the Year in 1938. If you haven’t seen this film, get a box of tissues ready, it’s a tear-jerker.
3. 42 (2013)
42 is the cinematic story about how the now legendary Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s notorious color barrier in 1947 while battling open racism from opponents, fans and even his own teammates. Blossoming actor Chadwick Boseman plays Jackson while legendary actor Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey, the Dodgers manager that faced his own form of backlash for giving Robinson the opportunity to become the first black player in Major League Baseball history.
2. Bad News Bears (1976)
Beloved actor Walter Matthau plays ex-minor league baseball player Morris Buttermaker who agrees to coach a little league team with little to no talent. Buttermaker eventually gets his team to go from a bunch of bumbling adolescents to a team that goes on to win its league championship.
The Bad News Bears is a timeless cinematic classic that has been embedded in the minds and hearts of sports fans for decades and remains to this day, one of the most comical and lovable sports films ever.
1. Rocky (1976)
You know a film is beyond great when it spurs five successive films – and a statue of the central character like Rocky did. Sylvester Stallone plays an amateur, but street savvy boxer from South Philly that rises up out of anonymity to become the world champion while finding love and friendship along the way, all while overcoming tragedy and the trappings that come with his newfound fame.