A Guide to the Best Sports Movies
Have you ever wondered which are the best sports movies of all time? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, you have come to the right place!
It is fair to say that sports can be a complex subject for filmmakers to get to grips with, particularly when it comes to painting an accurate representation of the dramatic element.
Many sports movies go completely over the top in this respect, making the achievements of the central characters seem unrealistic.
Other films in this genre are so mind-numbingly cliched that you wonder why anyone ever thought it was a good idea to release the movie publicly.
Thankfully, there are plenty of films that have done justice to the sports they portray. Without further ado, here is our guide to the best sports movies in the business.
Top 10 Sports Movies
1. Slap Shot
2. Raging Bull
3. Remember the Titans
4. Field of Dreams
7. Coach Carter
8. The Longest Yard
9. The Damned United
Best Sports Movies – Top 10 Profiles
Check out our thoughts on the top 10 sports movies of all time.
The 1977 classic movie Slap Shot offers a superb insight into the trials and tribulations of small-town ice hockey clubs in North America.
Paul Newman is brilliant as the player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, but the stars of the show are the infamous Hanson Brothers – a wacky trio of ice hockey goons.
Martin Scorsese famously hates sports but still managed to do a fantastic job with Raging Bull – a stunning biopic about boxer Jake LaMotta.
Robert De Niro won his only Best Actor award at the Oscars for his performance as LaMotta to highlight Scorsese’s mastery behind the camera.
Remember the Titans
Films such as We Are Marshall, Any Given Sunday, Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side demonstrate that American Football translates well onto the big screen.
However, Remember the Titans is the pick of the bunch, with Denzel Washington playing a stellar part as the coach who tackled racial disharmony in a high school football team in Virginia.
Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams expertly uses baseball as the vehicle to showcase why it is essential to have faith that your dreams can come true if you believe in them enough.
Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan play the lead roles, but it’s the performances of James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster that take this film to another level.
Starring Gene Hackman as coach Norman Dale, Hoosiers charts the story of a small-town Indiana team who made it to the state basketball finals in the 1950s.
Ably supported by Dennis Hopper, who received an Oscar nomination for his role as the town drunk, Hackman shines in a film that perfectly highlights his acting ability.
The United States’ victory in the ice hockey tournament at the 1980 Winter Olympics was one of the most unlikely sporting success stories of the 20th century.
Kurt Russell delivers the performance of a lifetime as a head coach Herb Brooks, who famously led the inexperienced US team to the gold medal.
Samuel L Jackson nails the ‘angry sports coach’ role to perfection as Ken Carter in a film that has more layers to it than you see at first glance.
Carter made headlines in 1999 for suspending his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic results. The turnaround he inspires is genuinely life-affirming.
The Longest Yard
This 1974 classic set the standard for American Football movies for many years, with Burt Reynolds sparkling in the lead role as Paul Crewe – a disgraced former NFL player.
Crewe is tasked with leading a team of convicts in a match against their guards. The moral dilemmas that follow will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout.
The Damned United
Brain Clough’s ill-fated 44-day spell in charge of Leeds United in 1974 is perfectly charted by Tom Hopper’s excellent film The Damned United.
Michael Sheen is brilliant in the lead role as he sensitively demonstrates that there were many more facets to Clough’s usual belligerent persona.
Much like James Earl Jones and Denzel Washington, any film starring Morgan Freeman can generally be relied on to hit all the right notes.
That is certainly the case with Invictus, a stunning movie that tells the story of how South Africa united as a nation at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
You’ve read our list of the best sports movies, now check out our recommendations for the best soccer movies and documentaries of all time.
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