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Our diehard team has ranked the 30 best sports movies of all time


Best sports movies of all time, best sporting films ever

There have been some truly incredible sporting films made over the years, but what’s in the top 10 best sports movies of all time?

From the thunderous roar of the crowd to the heart-stopping moments of victory and defeat, sports have a unique way of captivating audiences worldwide. However, not only do the live events leave us sports fans on the edge of our seats; but the magic of sports often finds its way onto the silver screen, creating some of the most exhilarating and inspiring movies ever made.

These sporting films go beyond depicting athletic prowess; they delve into the human spirit, offering stories of triumph, perseverance, and the indomitable will to overcome the odds. From sports history to baseball movies, they encapsulate the essence of sportsmanship and the universal values that unite us all.

In this article, we embark on a cinematic journey through sports entertainment, showcasing ten sports movie productions that have stood the test of time. So, get ready to embrace the drama, passion and emotional rollercoaster that defines these classic sports film chronicles.

They engaged in spirited debates and discussions, passionately advocating for their favourite films. Eventually, through careful deliberation, they identified movies they collectively felt excelled in portraying sports action and offered compelling narratives, outstanding performances, and meaningful themes.

The final selection represents a diverse array of sports and storytelling styles, showcasing the undeniable power of sports films to inspire, captivate audiences worldwide, and prove to you that sport is more than just a game.

Best sports movies of all time, best sporting films ever
What are the best sports movies of all time?

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Best sports movies ever, ranked 30-1

Here is our selection of the 30 best sports movies ever made.

Honourable mentions: The Sandlot, Tommy’s Honour, The Set Up, Goal II: Living the Dream, Space Jam, Body and Soul, Coach Carter, Jerry Maguire, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Bad News Bears, The Longest Yard and The Caddy fell just short of our top 30 best sports movies ever.

30. Green Street Hooligans, 2005

Now this, this is an absolute classic. Charlie Hunnam and Elijah Wood star in Green Street Hooligans, a tale about West Ham United hooligans. At points, it almost feels like a documentary, such is the realism with which the story is portrayed.

29. The Fighter, 2010

A modern classic of the boxing film genre, The Fighter stars two Hollywood A-listers, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, in roles they’re born to play. Based on a true story, the film touches on overcoming addiction and complex family fractures in the pursuit of greatness.

28. Escape to Victory, 1981

Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pele, Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles. Need we say more? Some of the biggest stars of the 20th century join forces in Escape to Victory, which centres around an Allied prisoner-of-war team as it prepares for a match against the German National Team.

27. The Phantom of The Open, 2021

A contemporary entrant on the list. The Phantom of the Opera is based on the simply ludicrous story of Maurice Flitcroft, who entered the 1976 Open Championship without ever swinging a golf club.

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26. Eight Men Out, 1988

Part mob movie, part baseball film, Eight Men Out tells the story of the Chicago White Sox fixing their 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. A year before he starred in Major League, Charlie Sheen reprised the role of Oscar ‘Happy’ Felsch.

25. Any Given Sunday, 1999

We could wax lyrical about Any Given Sunday. Or, we could show you Al Pacino’s locker room speech that perfectly encapsulates what makes this powerful film one of the best gridiron movies ever.

24. Pat and Mike, 1952

Pat is a talented golfer, but her fiance, Collier, wants her to give it up and marry him. She insists she won’t and enlists the help of Mike, a sports promoted. Together, the pair face off against, amongst others, mobsters. Pat and Mike tells their story.

23. Brian’s Song, 1971

A biographical film, Brian’s Song centres on the relationship between Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, who struggles initially but is transformed when Piccolo finds out he’s dying.

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22. Hoosiers, 1986

You can’t have a rankings list of basketball movies without Hoosiers, which follows a small-town Indiana high school team as they enter the state championship. It’s inspired by the Milan High School side that won the 1954 Indiana state championship.

21. Bend It Like Beckham, 2002

Another classic of the genre. Bend it Like Beckham follows Jess Bhamram, the daughter of Indian Punjabi Sikhs who is football-mad. However, without genuine support for her interests from her family, all seems lost for Jess in the world of football.

20. Remember The Titans, 2000

Denzel Washington and Ryan Gosling team up for the biographical film, Remember the Titans, which focuses on the true story of Herman Boone as he battles tense racial segregation and other social issues to unite his high school football team towards glory.

The film is two hours of poignant, motivational scenes that tell a story of brotherhood and uniting in the face of adversity. As far as gridiron films go, Remember the Titans feels almost in a class of its own.

Remember the Titans trailer | Best sports movies

19. Million Dollar Baby, 2004

Arguably Clint Eastwood’s finest directorial hour, Million Dollar Baby follows an underdog amateur boxer on their path to achieving her dream of becoming a professional. It sounds simple, but the film is so much more than that.

It swept the Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor at the 77th Academy Awards.

Million Dollar Baby trailer | Best sports movies

18. The Natural, 1984

Robert’s Redford and Duvall star in The Natural, a film about a middle-aged man who, seemingly from obscurity, becomes one of the greatest baseball players of all time, thanks largely to a near-supernatural ability.

17. Friday Night Lights, 2004

While it does share the same name as the hit TV show, Friday Night Lights the film is similar in the sense it follows a small Texan town’s high school football team. It stars Billy Bob Thornton and Lucas Black, among others.

Friday Night Lights trailer | Best sports movies

16. A League of Their Own, 1992

Based loosely on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, A League of Their Own explains how two sisters joined the first professional baseball and inspired its success. It’s quite a stellar cast, starring Tom Hanks before he was the biggest movie star in the world, Madonna, then one of the biggest stars on the planet.

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15. Goal!, 2005

Anyone who’s ever sat through a rained-out high school lunchtime has seen Goal! Santiago Munez, the film’s protagonist, is a Mexican immigrant living in LA whose life is transformed when he’s offered the chance to trial with Premier League side, Newcastle United.

Interestingly, the film was made with the cooperation of FIFA, allowing the use of players’ likenesses, while Adidas also contributed around $50 million to the film’s budget and marketing. At the time, this was the biggest deal between a corporate brand and a film production.

14. The Greatest Game Ever Played, 2005

In The Greatest Game Ever Played, Shia LaBeouf portrays Francis Oumet, the first amateur to win the US Open. In a sport that, at the time (1913), was only for the wealthy. Oumet, from a working-class background, battles with the sport’s existing class boundaries, as well as his opponents.

13. Happy Gilmore, 1996

Let’s be honest. If you don’t know Happy Gilmore, what are you even doing here? It may just be Adam Sandler’s greatest film. If you don’t know what it’s about, you’re living under a rock. I’m not even going to waste words explaining it. Watch it!

12. Love & Basketball, 2000

What happens when the romance and sports genres overlap? You get Love & Basketball, a story that chronicles the lives of its two protagonists, Monica and Quincy. Much like an actual game, the film’s plot is split into four quarters.

11. Rudy, 1993

Before he was Samwise Gamgee, Sean Austin was Rudy, a story about a young man who, following a significant personal tragedy, decides it is never too late to pursue his dream of playing football for the University of Notre Dame.

10. Moneyball, 2011

Now, practically everyone on Earth knows the Oakland A’s. In 2010, you’d have needed to be a baseball fan to know them. By 2011, when Brad Pitt starred in Moneyball, they were arguably the most famous baseball team in the world.

Pitt is exceptional as Billy Beane, a once-prodigious baseballer trying to turn the A’s fortunes around on a shoestring budget using ‘Moneyball’ tactics of prioritising analytics and stats over the eye test, something which is now common practice in most sports.

9. He Got Game, 1998

Spike Lee and basketball films are a marriage as old as time. The pair go together like ice cream and sprinkles. Add Denzel Washington and Ray Allen, yes, that Ray Allen, to Lee’s directorial and screenwriting and you get He Got Game, a classic of the sports movie genre.

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8. The Damned United, 2009

Most football fans know Brian Clough as the man who lifted Nottingham Forest to European football’s summit, twice. It’s his 44-day reign as manager of Leeds United which is spotlighted in The Damned United.

Clough and Leeds’ relationship was fractured, to say the least. This was largely due to his intense rivalry with the club’s former manager, Don Revie. The two men shared philosophical differences. While this didn’t deliver success for Clough at Leeds, it did make for a fantastic film.

7. Tin Cup, 1996

Kevin Costner’s performance in any sports film is like Michael Jordan in an NBA Finals: immaculate. Tin Cup has it all; Redemption, romance, rivalry. What more could you ask for? It sits near the top of our list for a reason.

6. Field of Dreams, 1989

There are few better sights in sports movies than Kevin Costner anywhere near a baseball field. Whether he’s on the pitching mound or in the bleachers, there’s something about Costner’s marriage with baseball films that’s perfect. Field of Dreams encapsulates this.

If you don’t know about this film, one of the best baseball movies ever, what have you been doing?

Field of Dreams trailer | Best sports movies

5. Bull Durham, 1988

It’s that man Kevin Costner again. The late 1980s was a golden age for baseball films, as evidenced by the top-ranked film on our list, Bull Durham. This film is so good Sports Illustrated ranked it number one on its list of the greatest sports films ever made.

For us, it’s the best baseball movie ever made. What’re you waiting for? Watch it!

4. Caddyshack, 1980

In 1980, Bill Murray was at the beginning of his cinematic prime. Chevy Chase was in the midst of his. Together, they combine for the greatest golf movie of all time: Caddyshack. You just know the comedic vibe the film has.

3. White Men Can’t Jump, 1992

A sports comedy-drama directed by Ron Shelton, White Men Can’t Jump film stars Wesley Snipes as Sidney Deane and Woody Harrelson as Billy Hoyle, two street basketball hustlers in Los Angeles.

Sidney is a talented player who cons opponents with his smooth talk, while Billy is an unlikely hustler despite being skilled. Together, they form an uneasy partnership to compete in street basketball tournaments and make money.

The movie blends humour, drama, and impressive basketball scenes, addressing themes of race, friendship, and the complexities of street life. Snipes and Harrelson’s chemistry and witty dialogue make this sports comedy a memorable classic.

White Men Can’t Jump trailer | Best sports movies

2. Rocky, 1976

l mean, where you expecting anything other than Rocky sitting near the top of this list? Come on. It’s arguably the greatest film franchise ever. If you don’t know about this film, stop what you’re doing and put it on.

Rocky trailer | Best sports movies

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1. Raging Bull, 1980

It’s Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese, but it’s not Goodfella. Raging Bull, one of the best films produced by Scorcese, is a biopic highlighting the scoring of Jake LaMotta, a former middleweight boxing champion.

A champion boxer, LaMotta’s personal life was littered with rage and jealousy, which the film touches on. Truly, Raging Bull is a masterpiece.

Raging Bull trailer | Best sports movies

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