We love sports. We love movies. And it’s no surprise that we just love good sports movies.
In this article I’m counting down the 5 best sports movies of all time.
Sports can inspire emotions that nothing else in life can really compare to. A great sports movie must capture all the thrills and spills of sports – the tension, the adrenaline rush, the joy of winning, the pain of defeat and the pure, unadulterated thrill of just competing. That’s the kind of movies that I’m looking for here. To make this list, it’s not enough to just be a great movie with sports as the enveloping theme. No, to make this list, you’ve got to be a great sports movie.
Note that this list is based purely on personal opinion. Feel free to comment your critique, opinions, suggestions in the comments section below! You can also choose to submit your own list articles here.
Rudy is not a story about realizing one’s inborn talent. Rather it’s about hard work, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and above all, never giving up on your dream. If anyone’s ever told you that you can’t do something, this movie might just push to try that much harder.
Rudy’s dream was to play college football for Notre Dame. However, he has always been told that he was too small to play college football. Through sheer grit, determination, and a never-say-die attitude, he overcomes the odds stacked firmly against him.
The movie has several extremely uplifting moments, including Rudy’s hard-earned admission into Notre Dame. But Rudy taking the field for the Notre Dame football team has to be one of the most inspirational moments in cinematic history.
4. The Natural
In complete contrast to Rudy, Jack Hobbs was born with near supernatural talent for baseball. From a very early age he seemed destined to become a superstar pitcher. But a tragedy early on in his young life, where he gets shot, stopped his potential career in its tracks. 15 years later he joins the New York Knights as a 34 year old rookie batter.
The Natural is, in many ways, a celebration of natural talent with a pure love for the game. But it is also a magical movie with almost a mythical feel to it. Hobbs’ Wonderboy bat, carved from the wood of a tree struck by lightning, combined with the nature of his big hits, adds to that feel.
Much of the movie nudges you to believe in the impossible. The Natural plays out kind of like an ultimate sporting fantasy. And boy, does it feel good!
3. Remember The Titans
Sports can cut through many barriers. And in Remember The Titans, we see college football cutting through one of the most stubborn barriers in human history, the racial barrier.
Denzel Washington plays Herman Boone, who is hired as the T.C. Williams High football coach over a white coach in Alexandria, Virginia in the early 1970’s during a time when the school has just been integrated to allow blacks into the school. The film brilliantly depicts how Boone got his squad to see past the racial barrier and play for one another as a team, despite any differences they might have with each other outside of the game.
Remember The Titans is also an excellent American football movie, and the producers and the cast of the players have done an outstanding job in recreating the sport. Compared to many other sports movies, the actual matches have been slightly predictable – I mean a 13-0 scoreline isn’t exactly full of drama. But we still have enough reasons to remember the movie for many years to come.
2 . Miracle
Do you believe in miracles? Yes!
Herb Brooks had a dream of coaching the U.S. Olympic team ever since he was cut from the 1960 gold medal winning U.S. Olympic team. When he gets the coaching job in 1979, he puts together a team of college kids and begins to get them into shape. Using his unconventional methods and strict, uncompromising coaching style, he transforms this group of individuals into a real cohesive team, and a family. Brooks’ ultimate goal was to become good enough to overcome the seemingly invincible Soviet Union team, who had won the previous 4 gold medals. In the semi-finals, when they get a chance to do just that, they prove that miracles do indeed happen.
Miracle is as pure a sporting movie as you’re ever likely to see. We go on a wonderful journey along with the players and the coach. We feel the intensity of the training sessions, we learn the coach’s lessons along with the players, we sense the ragtag bunch of individuals grow into a team and a family, and we notice the skepticism regarding Brooks gradually turn to approval. The hockey itself is depicted brilliantly, the thrill of the game is captured well, the suspense, the coach’s team talks, everything seem engrossing and realistic. So remember – who do you play for?
It’s only fitting that the greatest sports movie on the list should be about one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time, cheered on by one of the most inspiring figures in human history. Invictus chronicles the true story of the South African rugby team, the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph, the country’s first World Cup since the re-entry. A country, divided by race, was unified by sport!
The movie begins during Nelson Mandela’s first years as President of the culturally separated country South Africa in the early 90’s. In a way to unify his people, Mandela used the country’s love for Rugby to connect the whites and the blacks. As their recent record has been less than impressive, no one expected anything notable from the Springboks. Mandela taps the team’s captain, Francois Pienaar to rally his troops and surge into battle for the greater good of his country.
The film perfectly depicts Pienaar and the team’s struggles right from the beginning through to their miraculous victory over the near invincible New Zealand team in the final, cheered on by Madiba watching from the stands, wearing Pienaar’s No. 10 jersey. It was exhilarating, inspiring and beautifully made. Morgan Freeman was born to play Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon was very likeable as the captain Pienaar. And in case, you have any doubts, it was also quite accurate historically.