There have been thousands of sports movies over the years. Some have been absolute shit and most are mediocre at best, but there are a few that remain deeply ingrained in our memories. Those films not only invoke our passion for sports, but they manage to cross over and teach us greater life lessons. They teach us the importance of hard work and learning from our mistakes. They teach us that the impossible can come true. That is what I consider a great sports movie. Well, either that or it has to be a lot of fun.
Below are my top 10 sports movies of all time. Some popular movies are missing, either because I don’t think they are as good as the others or because I haven’t seen them.
10. Major League Baseball – This falls into the comedy category. Willie Mays Hays, Jake Taylor, Pedro Cerano, Rick Vaughn and Jake Taylor somehow manage to band together to win the pennant despite its owner. It’s not the best comedy of all time, but it certainly is the best sports comedy of all time. Major League 2 is equally good. Suppose Major League 3 was never made.
9. Remember the Titans – The best part of this movie is that it shows how sports can transcend society. The unification of the black and white high school is successful only because of the links formed between the two schools on the soccer field.
8. Rudy – How can you not be inspired by watching this? No one believed in this guy and he not only got into ND, but the football team as well. Most people would have given up long before Rudy did, and it is a testament to his character for enduring and being able to live his dream.
7. Miracle – I’m a big fan of ‘Miracle on Ice’ so I was a bit skeptical about the movie. They usually find a way to ruin the story. But surprisingly, Disney stuck with the story almost perfectly. By involving all members of the original team in the making of the film, including the late Herb Brooks, they ensured that the film was accurate. I love that Al Michaels calls for action; It feels like you are watching the real game!
6. He got the game – This film chronicles high school senior Jesus Shuttlesworth, the best college basketball prospect in the country, as he deals with pressures from his father and girlfriend who try to influence his decision for their own benefit. Ray Allen is the perfect choice for Shuttlesworth because Allen WAS Shuttlesworth in real life a few years earlier. How many actors can make that claim?
5. Eight men out – The best part of the movie was that they did not try to simplify it for Hollywood, they set out to follow the story as it is told in the book. This meant it had the feel of a documentary, which is probably why this movie isn’t that popular, but true sports fans will appreciate that what they’re getting is close to the truth.
4. Field of dreams – This movie will appeal to sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Sports fans will love how they work on Shoeless Joe and other great classics. Sports fans will appreciate Ray’s fantastic journey to build the field of their dreams. “If you build it, he will come” is one of the great movie quotes of all time.
3. When we were kings – I’m too young to remember Ali as a fighter, but this movie really shows his greatness. Forman is a superior fighter, but Ali uses his wits to defeat Forman in “The Rumble in the Jungle,” one of the greatest fights ever.
2. Hoosiers – If you ever need to cheer up, watch this movie. Nothing seems impossible after watching coach Norman Dale lead his team to the Indiana state championship.
1. The natural – I own the DVD of The Natural and have watched it more times than I can remember. However, whenever I see it on TV, I immediately freeze and stare. It captivates me like few movies. Roy Hobbs has that second chance that we all want. He had the talent to be the greatest pitcher of all time, but a mysterious shooter took it from him. Years later, he reappears as an outfielder and leads his team to the top of the league with his famous bat “Wonder Boy”.