Best Sports Movies - Featured - StudioBinder

Which are the best sports movies of all time? It’s not an easy list to create because there are so many great sports films that include different styles, different approaches, and of course, different sports.

In this post, we’re going to give you the ultimate list of the best sports movies ever made from the filmmaker’s perspective. We include a brief description of what makes each sports film special along with a link for you to find where you can watch each great sports movie online.

Movies About Sports

What makes a great sports movie?

We all have some personal favorite sports movies out there, but we have to be objective and find what truly makes a great sports film. Some are sports comedy movies that make us laugh, while others hope to inspire and lift up those of us who may be down in the dumps. 

Other sports movies take a look at the dark side of professional sports while others are coming of age tales that use sports to evoke a sense of childhood wonder and nostalgia. Some even jump into the behind the scenes world of sports focusing on deal making and sports agents.

We always look for the best filmmaking first and foremost, but we also love to see a sport that is accurately depicted on screen, a story that shows us something we either need to see, or didn’t think about before, and lastly we need a great sports movie to get us amped to go out play some games.

Greatest Sports Movies

80. Mr. Baseball (1992)

Mr. Baseball Trailer

Mr. Baseball combines an aging athlete and cultural differences as the backbone for the comedy in this sports film. While it’s not a universally loved sports movie, it still focuses on a particularly interesting aspect of baseball as a global sport and American athletes going overseas.

IN CONCLUSION

Mr. Baseball

  • The rookie who pushes Tom Selleck's character off the Yankees roster was played by Frank Thomas, who went on to become one of the best MLB hitters in the 1990s. He won two MVP awards and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
  • Tomatometer: 13%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

79. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

The Basketball Diaries Trailer

This is one of those sports movies that focuses on the life surrounding an athlete more than the actual sport itself, but it is one of the first movies that allowed the world to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting chops. 

IN CONCLUSION

The Basketball Diaries

  • The songs "Catholic Boy" and "People Who Died", which play in the film, were written and sung by the real Jim Carroll and performed by The Jim Carroll Band.
  • Tomatometer: 46%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

78. Never Back Down (2008)

Never Back Down Trailer

This sports movies suffers from two specific things. The high school world is far too exaggerated and the underground fighting is a bit exaggerated, but besides that it's a pretty solid sports film. If you can see past the “trendy movie” quality, you will find a fun MMA film.

IN CONCLUSION

Never Back Down

  • Actor Cam Gigandet, who plays the villain "Ryan McCarthy" in the movie, has a black belt in Krav Maga in real life.
  • Tomatometer: 23%
  • Watch Now

Athlete Movies

77. Varsity Blues (1999)

Varsity Blues Trailer

This sports movie tries to walk the line between a serious examination of high school sports and the pressures it creates along side whipped cream bikinis and stripper english teachers. If you have a sense of humor and enjoy debauchery with your sports film, look no further.

IN CONCLUSION

Varsity Blues

  • Paul Walker broke his leg during filming.
  • Tomatometer: 41%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

76. Rookie of the Year (1993)

Rookie of the Year Trailer

Sometimes a good sports movie can be silly or downright impossible, and this particular sports film falls securely in this category. There is something to be said about the ending of the film, which illustrates how we learn about our parents as we go through life, and how those realizations make us stronger and better as human beings. 

IN CONCLUSION

Rookie of the Year

  • Frank Morgan was the Doorman in Wizard of Oz and also the doorman at the cubs stadium. He even quotes the same line of "That’s a horse of a different color!" As he says to Dorothy.
  • Tomatometer: 35%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

75. The Longest Yard (1974)

The Longest Yard Trailer

The Longest Yard is somehow a deeply profound and terribly shallow sports movie. The main character is self destructive and flawed to the core, and yet the viewer will often end up rooting for him until the very end. Is this sports film a commentary on the penal system or sports celebrity run amuck? Probably not, but it also seems to be something more than just some sort of shameless cash grab. 

IN CONCLUSION

The Longest Yard

  • Burt Reynolds was quoted as saying that late director Robert Aldrich deliberately framed and shot the film in 1.33:1 Academy aspect ratio (with the intent that it would be matted theatrically for 1.85:1) because prophetically Aldrich didn't want to see his vision later manipulated for TV screens by panning and scanning.
  • Tomatometer: 81%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies of All Time

74. Girlfight (2000)

Girlfight Trailer

Girlfight is a sports movie that focuses on an “at risk teen” who finds her purpose in training and fighting. The movie serves as a commentary on gender, commitment, and romance. It was director Karyn Kusama’s debut film and it won the Sundance film festival in 2000.

IN CONCLUSION

Girlfight

  • After financing fell through shortly before the movie was set to begin shooting filmmaker John Sayles, whom director Karyn Kusama had worked for as an assistant, stepped forward and provided the funding for the entire film.
  • Tomatometer: 87%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

73. All the Right Moves (1983)

All the Right Moves Trailer

All the Right Moves is a dramatized version of what many young football players in steel country experience, both today and in the 1980’s. It’s also a pretty accurate depiction of some of the high school football experiences players go through both on and off the field. 

IN CONCLUSION

All the Right Moves

  • The director wanted Lea Thompson and Tom Cruise to go undercover to remember what high school was like. They went to separate schools, and while Cruise was spotted after just one day because someone recognized him from Taps (1981), Thompson went four days, was asked out by many guys and got caught smoking.
  • Tomatometer: 52%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

72. The Blind Side (2009)

The Blindside Trailer

The Blind Side is a successful sports film because it spoke to a few key audiences and their life experiences. The fact that this happens to be based on a true story makes it even better, but the best part of the film is the story that occurs off the field and how important family can be.

IN CONCLUSION

The Blind Side

  • When Quinton Aaron auditioned for the film, he was working as a security guard between acting gigs. After his audition, he left a card with his contact information and offered to work as a security guard on the set in case he wasn't selected to play Michael Oher.
  • Tomatometer: 66%
  • Watch Now

Athlete Movies

71. Le Mans (1971)

Le Mans Trailer

This is one of those sports movies that fans of the sport love, and film fans accept as a worthy effort. Make no mistake, it’s really fun to watch and a staple in any Steve McQueen collection, but perhaps the film fails to appeal to a broad audience and resonate on a deeper level.

IN CONCLUSION

Le Mans

  • David Piper lost his leg because of a deep cut caused during a crash. Brake fluid and other debris got into the deep cut, which caused an infection and the need to amputate the leg. He received a special thanks "for his sacrifice" at the end credits.
  • Tomatometer: 67%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

70. Coach Carter (2005)

Coach Carter Trailer

This is a sports movie that takes the concept of Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds and shows how kids from the rough part of town can benefit from direction provided by sports and a role model. There are some powerful moments in the film and worth a watch.

IN CONCLUSION

Coach Carter

  • The actors had to learn about seventy plays. The plays had a lot of passes and picks, to highlight the theme of teamwork.
  • Tomatometer: 64%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

69. The Rookie (2002)

The Rookie Trailer

The Rookie is one of the more inspirational sports movies that takes a true story and shows the journey of a high school teacher who never pursued his dream to play pro baseball. The movie is very good and it has a great performance from Dennis Quaid.

IN CONCLUSION

The Rookie

  • The scene where Jimmy walks out to the mound for the first time at The Ballpark in Arlington was filmed during the seventh inning stretch of a real Rangers game. All of the pitching shots were done after the game.
  • Tomatometer: 84%
  • Watch Now

Famous Sports Movies

68. Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw Trailer

From a filmmaking perspective Southpaw is a fantastic film, because Antoine Fuqua is one of the truly great directors of the modern age. The script isn’t bad either, but I believe this sports film doesn’t resonate on a general level like Rocky, The Fighter, and Raging Bull because Billy Hope’s journey is just too depressing and perhaps too specific.

IN CONCLUSION

Southpaw

  • Antoine Fuqua had no money to pay James Horner to compose the film, due to the film's short budget. However, Horner did not care as he loved the idea of the film, and he decided to do it for free.
  • Tomatometer: 60%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

67. Rocky IV (1985)

Rocky IV Trailer

Rocky IV  has a few tiny flaws, but for the most part it’s a really solid movie. It has some jingoistic tendencies, sure, but it’s really fun to watch and probably seemed perfectly appropriate at the time. Luckily for the sporting world, Russia has abandoned their unscrupulous approach to training and athleti… oh, right. Forget I said anything.

IN CONCLUSION

Rocky IV

  • Became the highest-grossing film in the Rocky series to date, taking in just over 300 million dollars worldwide.
  • Tomatometer: 40%
  • Watch Now

Good Sports Movies

66. The Waterboy (1998)

The Waterboy Trailer

Rocky IV  has a few tiny flaws, but for the most part it’s a really solid movie. It has some jingoistic tendencies, sure, but it’s really fun to watch and probably seemed perfectly appropriate at the time. Luckily for the sporting world, Russia has abandoned their unscrupulous approach to training and athleti… oh, right. Forget I said anything.

IN CONCLUSION

Waterboy

  • This movie was the highest-grossing football/sports film of all time, before being beaten by The Blind Side (2009). Kathy Bates appeared in both as well.
  • Tomatometer: 35%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

65. Rocky III (1982)

Rocky III Trailer

Rocky III delivers on the premise by being another strong and straightforward Rocky film. We’re all aware that it’s nearly impossible to recreate the magic that came from the first film, but the franchise always tried to bring something new to the table as they went along.

IN CONCLUSION

Rocky III

  • Morgan Freeman auditioned for the role of Clubber Lang's trainer.
  • Tomatometer: 64%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

64. 61* (2001)

61* Trailer

This sports movie accomplishes a bunch of really great things all at once. It shows how baseball culture became celebrity culture, served as a love letter to the glory years of the New York Yankees, and is a really strong character piece. A really great sports movie for sure.

IN CONCLUSION

61*

  • Until he had been hired to play Mickey Mantle for this film, Thomas Jane had never played baseball in his life and knew nothing about the game.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

63. Kingpin (1996)

Kingpin Trailer

If you’ve never seen this sports film, you may be surprised to hear that there is a truly touching story buried beneath all the hilarious shots to the nuts. This sports movie is about lost glory, taking a chance, building unlikely friendships, and corruption of the soul.

IN CONCLUSION

Kingpin

  • Bill Murray really bowled three strikes in a row in the scene where his character, Ernie McCracken does the same. The crowd's reaction is genuine and is actually for Murray. Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, was a terrible bowler and according to the Farrelly brothers maybe got one or two strikes throughout the filming.
  • Tomatometer: 50%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

62. Secretariat (2010)

Secretariat Trailer

I’ll admit that Secretariat is a sports movie that falls into a specific lane, one that is committed to finding inspiration anywhere it can find, but this sports film has some great cinematography, a somewhat measured commentary on gender in sports, and one legendary horse.

IN CONCLUSION

Secretariat

  • In the Belmont Stakes, both Secretariat's winning margin (thirty-one lengths) and his winning time (2:24) still stand after thirty-seven years.
  • Tomatometer: 63%
  • Watch Now

Inspirational Sports Movies

61. We Are Marshall (2006)

We Are Marshall

This is a really strong sports movie that focuses on an entire team and the spirit of an entire school rather than a single athlete, which gives it a unique quality. The movie has some important lessons on bouncing back and rebuilding when it seems nothing will ever be the same again. 

IN CONCLUSION

We Are Marshall

  • The boardroom scene with the "We are Marshall" chant was filmed on two separate days. The boardroom scene was shot on one day, and the chant was shot on a second day.
  • Tomatometer: 48%
  • Watch Now

Great Sports Movies

60. 42 (2013)

42 Trailer

This is a really strong sports movie that focuses on an entire team and the spirit of an entire school rather than a single athlete, which gives it a unique quality. The movie has some important lessons on bouncing back and rebuilding when it seems nothing will ever be the same again. 

IN CONCLUSION

42

  • Branch mentions that Jackie wishes he wasn't leading the league in hit by pitch. Jackie Robinson finished 1947 as the batter most hit by pitchers, with 9.
  • Tomatometer: 80%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

59. The Replacements (2000)

The Replacements Trailer

As far as rag tag groups in sports movies, the scabs in The Replacements are fun to watch, and while the movie likes to get a few laughs they shrewdly balance out the comedy with Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves’ redemption stories. It’s a great sports movie to be sure.

IN CONCLUSION

The Replacements

  • During filming, Keanu Reeves was reportedly offered a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Tomatometer: 41%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

58. Breaking Away (1979)

Breaking Away Trailer

Breaking Away is a sports comedy movie that focuses on four guys who are just about to begin their young adult lives. The main character becomes obsessed with Italian culture and desires to be a championship cyclist. This sports film is a labor of love and a treasure.

IN CONCLUSION

Breaking Away

  • Shot during the spring of 1978 during spring break. Indiana University had a three week spring break due to a coal strike. Coal was used to heat the entire university.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

57. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Trailer

This is one of the best sports comedies out there, and it’s only undercut by the fact that dodgeball is a relatively niche sport, but the jokes all land and the film in general has found its way into the hearts of many.

IN CONCLUSION

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

  • Ben Stiller broke three cameras in succession filming one scene, and even hit his wife Christine Taylor in the face once.
  • Tomatometer: 70%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

56. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Happy Gilmore Trailer

Happy Gilmore is one of those sports comedy movies that you can’t forget even if you wanted to, but why would you want to do that? It has some great moments that would fit into any inspirational sports film, but with the added benefit of a fascist Ben Stiller.

IN CONCLUSION

Happy Gilmore

  • When Dennis Dugan told Bob Barker that a stunt double would be used in the fight scene, Barker insisted on doing his own stunts, saying, "Wait a minute, I know how to fight."
  • Tomatometer: 61%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

55. The Mighty Ducks (1992)

The Mighty Ducks Trailer

The Mighty Ducks is a classic kids hockey film that is actually much better than many will admit. It shows how an out of touch lawyer often needs to return to their childhood to realize just what they’ve been missing, and how we often shun and walk away from our past failures in an attempt to outrun them rather than embrace and move forward with the experience.

IN CONCLUSION

The Mighty Ducks

  • When the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were added as an expansion team to the National Hockey League they were named after the movie because the team was owned by Disney however prior to the 2005-06 NHL season the Ducks dropped "Mighty" from their name and are now known as the "Anaheim Ducks".
  • Tomatometer: 23%
  • Watch Now

Athlete Movies

54. Invictus (2009)

Invictus Trailer

This is the king of all rugby films even when put up against all of the other rugby films like… well… okay this is the only Rugby film most anyone knows about, which is why the film gets a boost from Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela. It is a tight, efficient sports movie from the iconic actor and director Clint Eastwood.

IN CONCLUSION

Invictus

  • The prison cell that the South African rugby team visited was the actual prison cell on Robben Island where Mandela stayed for eighteen years of his prison sentence.
  • Tomatometer: 76%
  • Watch Now

Famous Sports Movies

53. Draft Day (2014)

Draft Day Trailer

Draft Day is one of the more interesting sports films because it is almost entirely about the behind the scenes of the NFL draft and takes place in the span of a single day. This sort of built in ticking clock is something that many films don’t take advantage of enough, and I think it helps to make for a really interesting and worthy film.

IN CONCLUSION

Draft Day

  • The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2012 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
  • Tomatometer: 59%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

52. The Bad News Bears (1976)

The Bad News Bears Trailer

This is one of the sports movies you wish could be made today, but they already tried to remake this movie and, while it was a valiant effort, there is no way to recreate the freedom enjoyed by 1970’s filmmakers. Now, do I personally approve of everything said and done in the film? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean the scenes aren’t still funnier than most anything that is allowed in theaters today.

IN CONCLUSION

The Bad News Bears

  • Bill Lancaster's screenplay was based on his experiences with his father, Burt Lancaster. Buttermaker was based on Burt, who was known for his grumpiness and the character of Amanda was based on himself. Burt Lancaster would later be cast as an aged version of early 20th Century ballplayer, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham in Field of Dreams (1989).
  • Tomatometer: 97%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

51. For Love of the Game (1999)

For Love of the Game Trailer

This is another great sports movie about an aging athlete who has the game of his life right near the end of his career. It seemed like a perfect decision considering that Kevin Costner wouldn’t be doing any more young and spry sports movies. Sam Raimi directed the film.

IN CONCLUSION

For Love of the Game

  • This was Sam Raimi's first film to be shot in the widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio.
  • Tomatometer: 45%
  • Watch Now

Best Inspirational Sports Movies

50. Invincible (2006)

Invincible Trailer

The true story of a Philadelphia bartender who tries out for the Eagles and makes the team. This sports movie is inspirational, a bit dark, pretty funny, and has one of the more memorable moments where the main character carries around a hurtful note from his ex-wife. Classic Papale.

IN CONCLUSION

Invincible

  • Greg Kinnear researched his role by spending time with Dick Vermeil during his final year as the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Tomatometer: 72%
  • Watch Now

Good Sports Movies

49. Brian’s Song (1971)

Brian's Song Trailer

Brian’s Song is similar to Bang the Drum Slowly because it follows an athlete with medical complications and focuses on the friendship as much as it does the actual athletes.

IN CONCLUSION

Brian’s Song

  • Louis Gossett, Jr. was originally cast as Gale Sayers. A few days before shooting began, Gossett tore his Achilles' tendon while working out. Studio executives quickly hired Billy Dee Williams as a replacement, leaving Gossett depressed over missing his "shot". Producer David L. Wolper promised Gossett the first great role that came along. Wolper cast Gossett as "Fiddler" in Roots (1977), the Emmy-winning role that made him a star.
  • Tomatometer: 85%
  • Watch Now

Top Sports Movies

48. Seabiscuit (2003)

Seabiscuit Trailer

Seabiscuit truly is the best of the horse racing films and one of the best sports movies of all time. The film shows how those who are down are not out, and this concept is perfectly stated by Chris Cooper's character when he says, “You know, you don't throw a whole life away just 'cause he's banged up a little.”. This is the essence of this sports film.

IN CONCLUSION

Seabiscuit

  • The companions Seabiscuit is given to calm him down were actually used in real life. The stray dog was named Pocatell, and the female horse, Pumpkin, would accompany him to all his races throughout his racing career.
  • Tomatometer: 78%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies of All Time

47. The Damned United (2009)

The Damned United Trailer

This sports movie directed by Tom Hooper and written by Peter Morgan is the best of all football movies… well… not American football movies. This sports film is a biopic and sports comedy rolled into one film which makes it pretty unique when compared to other sport movies.

IN CONCLUSION

The Damned United

  • The scenes in the film set at the Derby County training ground were actually filmed in Leeds at a football pitch ironically overlooking the Leeds United stadium.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

46. The Color of Money (1986)

The Color of Money Trailer

The Color of Money is as much a thriller as it is a sports movie, and it’s one of the least appreciated Tom Cruise roles. The film is one of the most plot driven of Scorsese films, which is uncommon.  

IN CONCLUSION

The Color of Money

  • Martin Scorsese has said that this is the only film he has directed that came in under schedule and under budget.
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

45. The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid Trailer

The Karate Kid is a classic film about bullying, growing up with a single mother, and learning self discipline. The movie is as much about anger and growing up as it is about anything else, which is one of the reasons the movie is so much more than a sports movie.

IN CONCLUSION

The Karate Kid

  • The studio wanted to drop the "drunk Miyagi" scene, feeling it slowed the pace down. Director John G. Avildsen argued for it and felt it was the scene that got Pat Morita nominated for an Oscar.
  • Tomatometer: 88%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

44. Eight Men Out (1988)

Eight Men Out Trailer

Eight Men Out is one of those sports movies that focuses on the dark side of sports set against the backdrop of the years immediately following World War I. This sports movie does a good job of showing both sides of the problem where the players were underpaid, eventually swindled by the gamblers, and ultimately remorseful for their decisions.

IN CONCLUSION

Eight Men Out

  • John Sayles wanted to cast Gene Hackman and Martin Sheen in the movie, but he lost out because development took so long. David Strathairn was originally cast to play "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

43. Rocky II (1979)

Rocky II Trailer

Ah yes, Rocky II marks the official moment where Hollywood realized that you could not only make a big dent in the world of entertainment with an inexpensive sports movie, but that you could also re-cash in on that same concept by creating a franchise. Rocky II is a pretty solid sports movie, but it just can’t live up to the first film.

IN CONCLUSION

Rocky II

  • In one version of the screenplay, there is a flashback scene that shows Rocky first meeting Mickey and we learn Rocky's real first name: Robert.
  • Tomatometer: 71%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

42. Mystery, Alaska (1999)

Mystery, Alaska Trailer

Mystery, Alaska is a really gorgeous and fun film that also happens to have some of the best on screen hockey in a film. It is also a pretty great sports comedy with Russell Crowe playing the "straight man". 

IN CONCLUSION

Mystery, Alaska

  • Mike Myers's character Donnie Shulzhoffer seems to have the same mannerisms and sayings as Canadian hockey commentator, Don Cherry.
  • Tomatometer: 38%
  • Watch Now

Best Inspirational Sports Movies

41. Space Jam (1996)

Space Jam Trailer

You may already know that there is a reboot for this film in the works starring Lebron James, which seems appropriate, but the original Space Jam will always be a bit unique because it corresponded with Michael Jordan’s departure from basketball and his attempt to play pro baseball paired with a robust self awareness that adds comedy and humility.

IN CONCLUSION

Space Jam

  • The gym where the Looney Tunes practice is called "Leon Schlesinger Gym" after Leon Schlesinger, the man who produced the first Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
  • Tomatometer: 43%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

40. Tin Cup (1996)

Tin Cup Trailer

Tin Cup is a great sports movie for old players who had all the talent in the world but none of the work ethic. It tries to appeal to our passionate sides and touches on the psychological aspect of golf, love, and motivation. It also does a really great job of showcasing the differences in approach through the actual events in the story, which is a sign of good writing since this is something many films fail to do.

IN CONCLUSION

Tin Cup

  • Pierce Brosnan was considered to portray David Simms.
  • Tomatometer: 70%
  • Watch Now

Top Sports Movies

39. Love & Basketball (2000)

Love & Basketball Trailer

Love & Basketball does a great job of showing how gender is somewhat irrelevant when it comes to personal dreams with regard to sports, but also how the reality of the situation is more complicated. Add some romance to the equation and you get a really compelling story about personal values,  priorities, and following your own path.

IN CONCLUSION

Love & Basketball

  • Omar Epps & Sanaa Lathan starred together the year before in "The Wood".
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

38. BASEketball (1998)

BASEketball Trailer

I personally love the Zucker brothers and I love Trey Parker and Matt Stone so this seems like a match made in comedy heaven. While this is totally a screwball comedy, the film takes a unique look at the world of sports and how people have grown a bit cynical and underwhelmed by the whole shebang. It has elements of Jerry Maguire and The Natural all while retaining the sensibilities of Airplane and South Park.

IN CONCLUSION

BASEketball

  • The movie is based on a real-life game that director 'David Zucker' created with his friends, literally played in the driveway of his home. Many of the reappearing teammates are friends of Zucker and actual original players of the Zucker-driveway game, asked by the director to pay homage to origins of BASEketball by being in the movie.
  • Tomatometer: 42%
  • Watch Now

Best Inspirational Sports Movies

37. Cool Runnings (1993)

Cool Runnings Trailer

Cool Runnings is one of the classic Disney sports movies that somehow perfectly straddles the line between subtle social messaging and straightforward sports biopic. While this sort of film can now be manufactured at the drop of a hat, this first iteration understand that while identity can be a crutch it can also be a powerful motivator.

IN CONCLUSION

Cool Runnings

  • Contrary to the story in the movie, the Jamaican team was met with open arms by the international Bobsledding teams. One of the other teams even went so far as to lend the Jamaican team a back-up sled so they could qualify.
  • Tomatometer: 77%
  • Watch Now

Inspirational Sports Movies

36. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

White Men Can't Jump Trailer

White Men Can’t Jump is a sports movie that might be put into the same general category as The Hustler. It has a the back-room quality that doesn’t focus on a professional athlete but rather sports as an activity for the everyday player, and does a great job showing the life of the Venice beach crowd during the 1990’s. It’s just a fun sports comedy film.

IN CONCLUSION

White Men Can’t Jump

  • Director Ron Shelton successfully sued Twentieth Century Fox for ten million dollars in profit. He has never worked for the studio since.
  • Tomatometer: 76%
  • Watch Now

Good Sports Movies

35. Caddyshack (1980)

Caddyshack Trailer

Caddyshack is not only one of the greatest comedy movies ever made, it is also one of the greatest sports films of all time. Now, does it take the sport of golf seriously? Not really, but it has a bit of a class warfare element to it that makes it highly relatable for many Americans who grew up looping for the local hot shot lawyer or doctor, and is more quotable than most movies on this list. It also contributed to the overall success of golf as a sport more than many may want to admit. 

IN CONCLUSION

Caddyshack

  • Bill Murray improvised the "Cinderella story" sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to imagine himself announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of 'mums and did the scene.
  • Tomatometer: 74%
  • Watch Now

Top Sports Movies

34. I, Tonya (2017)

I, Tonya Trailer

I, Tonya could be higher on this list because it is a truly unique look at the world of figure skating, olympic dreams, and commitment to your sport. Very few sports movies focus on the dark side of sports, but this film does it wonderfully and sets the record straight for Harding.

IN CONCLUSION

I, Tonya

  • The whole movie was shot in 30 days.
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

33. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby Trailer

The boxer/trainer relationship has always been an important aspect of the better boxing movies out there, but this film seems to take that a step further. This sports movie won Academy Awards for good reason. 

IN CONCLUSION

Million Dollar Baby

  • At age seventy-four, Clint Eastwood became the oldest Best Director Oscar winner for this movie.
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

32. Cobb (1994)

Cobb Trailer

Cobb is very different from most sports movies. It mostly follows Ty Cobb in his later years while he lives out his life alone, unwanted, and suffering from substance abuse. Cobb was a popular player to fans but an unpopular human being to the people that knew him. It’s one of the most honest stories about a professional athlete and that’s why it’s a great sports film.

IN CONCLUSION

Cobb

  • Ron Shelton's advice to Tommy Lee Jones was to play Cobb like Sam Peckinpah.
  • Tomatometer: 65%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies of All Time

31. Creed (2015)

Creed Trailer

Creed is definitely one of the most successful reboots of a sports movie franchise, and while it has all the necessary bells and whistles to attract new viewers and old fans, it will always have to fight against the elements that made Rocky such a memorable film. If you’re a fan of the Rocky franchise and of great boxing movies this is definitely worth a watch which includes a stellar boxing long take. 

IN CONCLUSION

Creed

  • Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed, gave his strong endorsement to the movie and Michael B. Jordan's performance. Jordan felt extremely honored.
  • Tomatometer: 95%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

30. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

Bang the Drum Slowly Trailer

Bang the Drum Slowly is one of the few sports movies that follows an athlete who has a medical condition, and shows how a life in athletics can be beneficial to someone suffering from medical complications both because it builds character, but also builds a support system as well.

IN CONCLUSION

Bang the Drum Slowly

  • The lead role was originally to have been played by Al Pacino, while Robert De Niro was to have played the driver Paulie in The Godfather (1972). Francis Ford Coppola wanted Al Pacino to play Michael Corleone, so to get Pacino released from his contract for this film, he had to give up De Niro to replace him.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

29. Remember the Titans (2000)

Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is a movie about the power of sports as a unifying force. It teaches us that when we have to endure as a team you quickly forget differences like a person’s ethnicity because your core humanity is exposed and there is nothing left to hide behind. This sports movie's greatest weakness is the actual football, which isn't the most accurate nor the most exciting, and there is a scene where the coach tells the players "water makes you weak" which science has proved otherwise.  

IN CONCLUSION

Remember the Titans

  • The original script was full of profanity but Disney, in an effort to produce a good family film, asked Jerry Bruckheimer to remove all extreme profanity from the script.
  • Tomatometer: 73%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

28. Miracle (2004)

Miracle Trailer

Truly great moments seem like no brainers for great movies, but you have to deliver on the premise. This sports movie does just that by allowing a wonderful Kurt Russell to lead the way while using actors that understand the game of hockey to carry the action on the ice. The miracle on ice was a bunch of American kids beating the USSR at the one sport they dominated for years, and it is still one of the great moments in sports history.

IN CONCLUSION

Miracle

  • The young men chosen to portray the members of Team USA, were chosen primarily for their hockey skills, due to the intense nature of the filming; acting ability was secondary. In fact, for most of them, this was their first major film.
  • Tomatometer: 80%
  • Watch Now

Athlete Movies

27. Hoosiers (1986)

Hoosiers Trailer

Hoosiers is one of the classic sports movies that held the stop spot for years. It focuses on small town sports, on alcoholism, on the path to redemption for a coach, and getting back in the game. It is also one of the better sports movies when it comes to teamwork and technique, which is important to success but also a bit of a loaded observation.

IN CONCLUSION

Hoosiers

  • The movie was renamed "Best Shot" in Europe because most Europeans wouldn't know what a Hoosier was.
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Watch Now

Famous Sports Movies

26. Rush (2013)

Rush Trailer

Rush is not only a really strong story but also a really fantastic film from a visual perspective. It also has something that I always enjoy in films which is a rivalry that makes each of the participants better. This is one of those truths that often gets overlooked, which is the fact that we sometimes have a lot in common with people on the opposite team.

IN CONCLUSION

Rush

  • The real Niki Lauda claims the movie was entirely accurate. However, the film took creative liberties of the James Hunt and Lauda rivalry.
  • Tomatometer: 88%
  • Watch Now

Famous Sports Movies

25. Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball Trailer

You have sports movies that focus on the dark side of sports. You have sports movies that focus on the uplifting side of sports. You have sports movies that focus on the behind the scenes, and those that stay on the field. Moneyball finds a way to do all of these, but also to have a unique quality by focusing on the pragmatic side of sports.

IN CONCLUSION

Moneyball

  • Since there was no money to shoot in all the stadiums the Oakland Athletics visited, Dodger Stadium was dressed up as eight different ballparks.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

24. The Sandlot (1993)

The Sandlot Trailer

This was a personal favorite growing up. There are a lot of great ideas explored in this film like growing up middle class in America, building camaraderie through sports, and the value of bravery.

IN CONCLUSION

The Sandlot

  • The older and younger Benny are played by real-life brothers, Pablo Vitar and Mike Vitar.
  • Tomatometer: 61%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

23. Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella Man Trailer

Cinderella Man is one of the best sports movies because it takes some of the classic themes tied to boxing movies like economic strife and amplifies it by setting the story during the Great Depression.

IN CONCLUSION

Cinderella Man

  • Filming the boxing sequences was so brutal, Russell Crowe says the movie was "four to five times more difficult than Gladiator (2000)."
  • Tomatometer: 80%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

22. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire Trailer

Not only is Jerry Maguire a great sports movie, but it’s just a great film. Did it move the chains on commercialism in the sporting world? Probably not. Did it realign the souls of sports agents across the globe? Highly doubtful. But that is sort of the point of the film. The high road isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty, and it is definitely uncommon, but when you make changes to help purify your soul the things that truly matter rise up, and the things that don’t fade away.

IN CONCLUSION

Jerry Maguire

  • Two lines from the film, "Show me the money" and "You had me at hello", are in the AFI's top 100 movie quotes (at numbers 25 and 52, respectively).
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

21. The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter Trailer

The Fighter is based on a true story which gives it some extra weight, but it also has the classic David O. Russell approach to character above all else. This sports movie illustrates self destructive tendencies, the yearning for the glory days on an uncomfortable level, and the complicated relationship family can play. So many sports movies focus on the bonds of family, but sometimes family can be a crutch as well.

IN CONCLUSION

The Fighter

  • Micky Ward's real-life trainer Mickey O'Keefe was asked to appear as himself in the film, but turned the role down, since he had never acted before. Mark Wahlberg told him he would be able to, since he was a cop, and therefore he has to act and think fast on his feet. This was convincing enough, and he took the role.
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Watch Now

Inspirational Sports Movies

20. Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire Trailer

Whether you’ve seen this film or not, you’ve definitely seen about a million references to the best scene in the film. The theme song is one of the most iconic ever made, and the movie has all of the necessary ingredients to make a memorable and inspirational sports film.

IN CONCLUSION

Chariots of Fire

  • Eric Liddell is not only remembered as a track athlete, he was also capped for the Scottish national rugby team several times.
  • Tomatometer: 84%
  • Watch Now

Good Sports Movies

19. Slap Shot (1977)

Slap Shot Trailer

Slap Shot is one of the more violent and enjoyable sports films ever to be made. It is a personal favorite for many hockey fans, and I wouldn’t begrudge a Canadian who felt this was a better hockey movie than Miracle. The films stars Paul Newman and a sixer of Molson's. 

IN CONCLUSION

Slap Shot

  • Paul Newman had stated on many occasions that he had more fun making this film than on any other film he has starred in, and that it remained his favorite of his own films, until his death.
  • Tomatometer: 85%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

18. A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own Trailer

A League of Their Own is a great movie in general and it has many of the same things working on its behalf as other great baseball films like Major League and Bull Durham. It also happens to be based on a true story which makes it even more fun to watch. It has a really great message and was one of my favorite sports movies to watch in my earlier years.

IN CONCLUSION

A League of Their Own

  • The "strawberry" bruise Renée Coleman received on her thigh while sliding into a base remained for over a year.
  • Tomatometer: 85%
  • Watch Now

Top Sports Movies

17. Warrior (2011)

Warrior Trailer

This is one of those sports movies that caught me off guard with how good it ended up being. The movie is not only about family dynamics but also the difference between the prodigy and the workhorse. It is a really wonderful movie and it has a great ending that cut to the core and inspired me give my brother a phone call.

IN CONCLUSION

Warrior

  • Joel Edgerton tore his MCL in the cage during production, halting fight scenes for six weeks. Tom Hardy suffered a broken toe, broken ribs, and a broken finger.
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

16. Ali (2001)

Ali Trailer

Ali is a movie about one of the greatest athletes to ever live played by one of the greatest modern actors, directed by one of the greatest modern directors so it should be no surprise that it is one of the greatest sports movies of all time. Definitely a sports film worth a watch.

IN CONCLUSION

Ali

  • Michael Mann and Will Smith always wanted Jon Voight for the role of Howard Cosell.
  • Tomatometer: 67%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

15. Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher Trailer

Foxcatcher is based on a true story and it is one of the most unique sports films I’ve ever seen. The themes explored in this sports movie are so different from the norm that it is a pleasure to watch despite the subject matter. Mainly, it focuses on how an unreasonably rich person can buy their way into positions of authority and how a strong sense of entitlement and expectation can lead to extreme decisions.

IN CONCLUSION

Foxcatcher

  • Before filming a particularly dark scene, Bennett Miller made Steve Carell write on a piece of paper the thing that he hates the most about himself and then put it in his pocket. Miller told Carell, "Just have it right there, and know that it's in a place where, if I was a dick, I could just grab it." According to Miller, the result is the favorite thing that he has put on film.
  • Tomatometer: 88%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

14. The Program (1993)

The Program Trailer

The Program is one of the few sports films that is painfully honest about the circumstances surrounding the game. This sports movie also shows the strategy and inner workings of the game better than most. There are some really great lines and performances in this sports film.

IN CONCLUSION

The Program

  • The movie was filmed at the University of South Carolina and features their Williams-Brice Stadium, as well as locations around Columbia.
  • Tomatometer: 43%
  • Watch Now

Athlete Movies

13. The Wrestler (2008)

The Wrestler Trailer

This is a great sports movie because the filmmaking is superb, the acting is top notch, and the story doesn't try to be bigger than it needs to be. The film is about a guy who is down in the dumps, estranged from his only daughter, and even when he succeeds it seems underwhelming. The movie works well because the viewer comes to understand how someone could put their body through such hell with so little gain.

IN CONCLUSION

The Wrestler

  • Darren Aronofsky revealed that Mickey Rourke was the first choice to play Randy "The Ram" Robinson but the studio wanted Nicolas Cage. Aronofsky fought to have Rourke as "The Ram", and ultimately won out.
  • Tomatometer: 98%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies Ever

12. Friday Night Lights (2004)

Friday Night Lights Trailer

Friday Night Lights is a pretty authentic look at west Texas football and how the sport affects more than the players but also their families and the members of the community. That can be a lot for some teens who have the weight of their town on their shoulders all while still trying to figure out who they are as people. You don’t need to feel bad for them or pity them, but the movie focuses on the right topics in my opinion.

IN CONCLUSION

Friday Night Lights

  • The real James "Boobie" Miles can be seen standing next to Derek Luke (playing "Boobie" Miles) several times throughout the film. He is wearing a black Permian jacket and hat.
  • Tomatometer: 81%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

11. Days of Thunder (1990)

Days of Thunder Trailer

People love to dog on this movie but it was made by one of the greatest directors of all time with one of the greatest movie stars of all time and is truly immersed in the world of Stock car racing. The filmmaking is fantastic and the story touches on the mechanics of a race car, the fear of driving, and the politics of race car driving. The only thing “wrong” with the film might be some pacing issues (no pun intended) and a somewhat cringeworthy explanation of aerodynamics through sugar packets.

IN CONCLUSION

Days of Thunder

  • Quentin Tarantino said the film was his favorite big budget racing movie: "Yeah, yeah, you laugh, but seriously, I'm a big fan. To me Days of Thunder is the movie Grand Prix (1966) and Le Mans (1971) should have been. Sure, it had a big budget, big stars and a big director in Tony Scott, but it had the fun of those early AIP movies."
  • Tomatometer: 39%
  • Watch Now

Famous Sports Movies

10. He Got Game (1998)

He Got Game Trailer

He Got Game is an important sports movie on top of being a great character study. Sports are simply a set of rules for characters to use while they compete. Sports can be used by players to rise up, to fall down, and to lose themselves, but ultimately it is always the human that makes these decisions and not the sport. This sports movie touches on a complicated family dynamic and how the sport of basketball can serve as a conduit for relationships and opportunities.

IN CONCLUSION

He Got Game

  • Spike Lee's first film to open at number one at the box-office in the United States.
  • Tomatometer: 81%
  • Watch Now

Best Inspirational Sports Movies

9. The Hustler (1961)

The Hustler Trailer

The Hustler is one of those sports movies that somehow manages to seem like a huge character study while still allowing for a large number of characters to steal the show at their given times. It’s one of the earliest films on this list, and it has undoubtedly influenced many sports and parlor game films since coming out in the early 1960s.

IN CONCLUSION

The Hustler

  • Paul Newman had never held a pool cue before he landed the role of Fast Eddie Felson. He took out the dining room table from his home and installed a pool table so he could spend every waking hour practicing and polishing up his skills.
  • Tomatometer: 98%
  • Watch Now

Top 10 Sports Movies

8. Any Given Sunday (1999)

Any Given Sunday Trailer

You might notice that the critic and audience score for this film isn’t as high as some of the other sports movies on this list, but there is a lot they don’t take into account. This is, for better or worse, one of the more accurate depictions of the modern age of pro football. Maybe politics and selfish attitudes are intentionally ignored by many, but these are real-life factors and any true depiction would touch on them like this film.

IN CONCLUSION

Any Given Sunday

  • Although, according to Oliver Stone, the NFL actively attempted to prevent players from taking part in this project, then San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens can be seen playing and scoring two touchdowns for the Miami Sharks. While the name on the back of his shirt is 'Owens', he wears the number 82 and not 81 as he does in real life.
  • Tomatometer: 52%
  • Watch Now

Greatest Sports Movies

7. Field of Dreams (1989)

With plenty of nostalgia, some great lines, and a nod to DIY sensibilities, this sports movie is known for bringing grown men to tears. Apart from a love for the game of baseball, this sports film focuses on the father/son relationship and how our greatest regrets can be our biggest motivators.

IN CONCLUSION

Field of Dreams

  • Thousands of pallets of green grass were brought in to make the baseball field, but due to the haste in planting because of the shooting schedule, the grass was not able to grow appropriately and died. In order to keep the grass green, the production crew painted the grass.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Watch Now

Good Sports Movies

6. Rudy (1993)

Rudy Trailer

A great sports movie needs to inspire and it needs to show the value of hard work and commitment. Rudy does just that, and it uses one of the great sports programs to do so. There are few films where, by the end, you feel as accomplished for so little playing time, but that’s the beauty of this sports movie and how passion can lead to great things.

IN CONCLUSION

Rudy

  • In the movie, Rudy is portrayed as having largely gone into the steel industry after graduating high school. In reality, he served four years in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman on a communications ship, which is never mentioned.
  • Tomatometer: 78%
  • Watch Now

Field of Dreams Trailer

Inspirational Sports Movies

5. Major League (1989)

Major League Trailer

Sports movies are great when they’re funny, but it’s also important that they inspire the viewer. They have to show a love for the sport, and they should make you love the sport as well. Major League is the king of this because it is both sad and funny, happy and realistic. In my opinion, it’s a perfect sports movie, with tons of great quotes and a great score.

IN CONCLUSION

Major League

  • 'Charlie Sheen' was a high school pitcher who was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Kansas. In the movie he threw a 101mph fastball, but in reality Sheen could throw in the high 80s. This made it easier to simulate the fastball on film.
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Watch Now

Top Sports Movies

4. Rocky (1976)

Rocky Trailer

​​​​Rocky may forever be synonymous with the underdog story. Part of the reason is that the film’s history behind the camera was about as unlikely and difficult as the story on screen. This movie shows how sports can unite a city around one unlikely muscular meat-head.

IN CONCLUSION

Rocky

  • Sylvester Stallone insisted that the scene where he admits his fears and doubts to Adrian the night before the fight be filmed, even though production was running far behind and the producers wanted to skip it. Stallone had only one take for the scene, despite the fact that he considered it to be the most important scene in the film.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies of All Time

3. Bull Durham (1988)

Caption goes here...

While Field of Dreams may be the tearjerker every parent loves to show their kids, the true king of Costner sports movies is Bull Durham. This movie is a love letter to the game of baseball and the devoted players who keep it pure and special. It’s also a story about unrealized dreams, about romance, sacrifice, and about devoting yourself to your passion.

IN CONCLUSION

Bull Durham

  • When Ron Shelton pitched the film, he had a hard time convincing a studio to give him the opportunity to direct. Baseball movies were not considered a viable commercial prospect at the time and every studio passed except for Orion Pictures who gave him a $9 million budget (with many cast members accepting lower than usual salaries because of the material), an eight-week shooting schedule and creative freedom.
  • Tomatometer: 97%
  • Watch Now

Best Sports Movies

2. Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull Trailer

Raging Bull isn’t just a great sports movie, but also one of the films that transformed cinema forever. Martin Scorsese and his team took their advanced techniques and created a dark character study that shows the direct line between a life in sports and a life at home. It’s not that every athlete is Jake Lamotta, but they aren’t all the Disney inspirational characters either, and that’s why we love Raging Bull.

IN CONCLUSION

Raging Bull

  • In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.
  • Tomatometer: 96%
  • Watch Now

Sports Movies

1. The Natural (1984)

The Natural Trailer

There are so many great things about this sports movie that has either been borrowed, parodied, or referenced in other films and even in stadiums across the country. If you’ve never seen this film, it is absolutely essential to understanding American sports culture, and quite possibly has one of the greatest endings of any film ever made.

IN CONCLUSION

The Natural

  • Hobbs breaking the scoreboard clock with a home run was inspired by Bama Rowell of the Boston Braves doubling off the Ebbets Field scoreboard clock on May 30, 1946, showering Dixie Walker with glass. Though he'd been promised a free watch by Bulova for hitting the company's scoreboard sign, Rowell had to wait until 1987 to receive it.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Watch Now

Up Next

The Best Crime Films of All Time

Did you agree with the rankings on our sports movie list? What changes would you make? Let us know in the comments!

Now that you have a better idea of which are the best sports movies of all time, why not check out the best crime films of all time. 

Up Next: Best Crime Movies of All Time →
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