Top 10 Sports Movies of All-Time

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Life, People, Random, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

Heather and I are big movie people. We really enjoy crawling up on our comfortable couch, cuddling with our awesome dogs, and watching a movie. One of our most favorite genres of movies are the inspirational sports movies. We cannot get enough of them.

There have been so many great sports movies. I felt like it was about time for another top 10 list ranking these cinematic classics. So, without further adieu. here is the top 10 sports movies of all-time (according to Brian Cromer)…

JUST MISSED THE CUT: The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Karate Kid, The Natural, White Men Can’t Jump, Happy Gilmore, Invincible, Tin Cup, Bull Durham, Talladega Nights,  Glory Road, Caddy Shack, Major League

TEN: Coach Carter. An amazing based-on-a-true-story of a coach turning around a bunch of selfish, undisciplined group of individuals into a unselfish, disciplined team. Samuel L. Jackson does a fantastic job as Coach Ken Carter. Favorite quote: “l came to coach basketball players, and you became students. l came to teach boys, and you became men.”

NINE: Jerry Maguire. This movie shows a different side of professional sports – from the perspective of the agents. Jerry Maguire (played by Tom Cruise) has a moral epiphany late one night that completely turns his world upside down. This movie is hilarious, dramatic, and very entertaining. It is peppered with famous quotes, such as “Show me the money!”, “Help me help you!”, “You complete me.”, “You had me at hello.”, “Do you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?”

EIGHT: Field of Dreams. It is difficult for me to say that this is the only baseball movie that made the top 10. I am a huge baseball fan. But this movie is just great. I will admit, the premise is a little on the crazy side. Corn farmer Ray Kinsella starts hearing voices that leads him to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn field, travel in an old van across the United States picking up a washed up author who eventually disappears into the corn field with a bunch of dead professional baseball players, and eventually gets to play catch with his dead father. My favorite part of this movie is the undeniably pure passion for the game of baseball. So good. And who can forget this quote: “If you build it, he will come.”

SEVEN: Miracle. This true story from the 1980 Olympics is one of the greatest sports underdog stories of all-time. The 1980 USA hockey team beating the Soviet Union hockey team to advance and eventually win the gold medal is one of the biggest upsets in sports history. With being right in the middle of the Cold War, this victory had much more significance than just sports. The highlight of the clock running out and announcer Al Michaels screaming, “Do you believe in miracles?” is still frequently played today.

SIX: Million Dollar Baby. This movie won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2005. One of the saddest movies I have ever seen. This movie will make you cry and immediately go hug everyone you love when the credits start rolling. Clint Eastwood plays Frankie Dunn, who is a hard, grizzled boxing trainer who reluctantly starts training a female boxer (played by Hilary Swank – who won a Oscar for Best Actress). This movie has a crazy twist that I never saw coming.

FIVE: Rudy. If you look up “inspirational sports movie” in the dictionary, there will be a description of this movie. This classic tells a story of a passionate young man who’s dream was to play college football at the University of Notre Dame and would not take no for an answer. Rudy shows what having heart is all about in sports. After watching this movie, I always want to go run a marathon or try to make it to the NBA or do something huge. Listen. Can you hear the roar of the crowd? What are they chanting? Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

FOUR: Cinderella Man. There is something about boxing movies that are so incredible. This movie tells the awe-inspiring true story of James J. Braddock (played by Russell Crow). While struggling financially to support his family during the Great Depression, this supposedly washed up boxer gets a second chance to rejuvenate his career. Without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite line from this movie is when Braddock gets asked at a press conference before a title fight, “What are you fighting for?” and he responds, “Milk.”

THREE: Hoosiers. This movie is full of qualities that makes a good sports movie. It is an underdog story – the coach with the bad reputation, the farm boy, small town players playing the big boys from the big city. It has a sound track that will be in your head for days. This movie will undeniably make you cry every time you watch it. ESPN’s list of greatest sports movies accurately says, “While Rocky shows what one individual can do in the face of overwhelming odds, Hoosiers is the ultimate parable for the underdog ‘team.'” Also, Jimmy Chitwood is a baller who has one of the prettiest jumpshots in the history of basketball. Finally, this movie may have been the inventor of the inspirational slow clap that builds up speed and intensity to a faster, more energetic clap.

TWO: Remember the Titans. Another true story. This movie is so high on my list because my college roommate and I watched the VHS of this movie every night for an entire semester. We got to know it so well that we could literally almost quote the entire movie. It definitely holds a high sentimental value in my heart. Coach Boone and Coach Yost could be my coach any day of the week. This movie has one of the best inspirational coach speeches when Coach Yost yells, “Defense, on me. All right, now, I don’t want them to gain another yard! You blitz… all… night! If they cross the line of scrimmage, I’m gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans!”

ONE: Rocky. Was their any doubt what was going to be number one on my list? Do not forget, Rocky Balboa was also my number one fictional character of all-time as well. The true underdog, rag-to-riches story where a no name boxer comes out of nowhere to be the heavy weight champion of the world. The Italian Stallion is known for training hard, being able to take multiple punches to the face without going down, and never quitting. He is a sensitive, caring guy who is also a romantic. He loves his friends and family deeply and wears his heart on his sleeve. Hey, any movie that has a fictitious character that has a real statue in a major US city has to be one of the top sports movies of all-time. Won 1976 Oscar for Best Picture. Favorite Rocky quote, “Was ya ever punched in the face 500 times a night? It stings after a while, ya know.”


There you go. That’s my list. What did I miss? What’s your top 10 sports movies of all-time list?

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  3. whatsnextgod says:

    I have to say, I am disappointed the following movies didn’t make the cut:

    The Sandlot
    Cool Runnings
    Bad News Bears
    A League of Their Own
    Searching For Bobby Fisher
    Rookie of the Year
    Any Given Sunday

    • briancromer says:

      Cool Runnings definitely is good enough to be mentioned in the honorable mention category. But there has to be a top 10 list. That means that some great ones are going to be left off. Nature of the beast.

      Wasn’t a huge Any Given Sunday fan. A little too much for me.

      What’s your list?

  4. First of all, any sports movie list that does not include Bull Durham and Caddy Shack is illegitimate. Period. Honorable mention does not count.

    Beyond that you missed Raging Bull, Chariots of Fire, Eight Men Out, The Bad News Bears and Slapshot. And that’s not even counting documentaries like Hoop Dreams or When We Were Kings.

    • briancromer says:

      Definitely valid points, JAT. But you need to remember I was born in 1981 and my parents never allowed me watch shady movies like Bull Durham and Caddy Shack as a child. Most of my movies are a little newer. I tried watching Raging Bull one time and couldn’t make it through it. Hoop Dreams is great. It is really tough to narrow down to ten.

      Would love to hear your top 10…

  5. James Rankin says:

    Great list BC, but I have to say that Hurricane should have made the top 10 for sure, probably replacing Jerry Maguire. Also based on a true story, Denzel Washington is Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence. Favorite line is “Hate put me in prison. Loves gonna bust me out.”

  6. mark says:

    Great list of movies mate. My chose for the best sports movie would be Rocky

  7. Wes says:

    My top ten:
    10. He Got Game
    9. Rookie of the Year
    8. D3 (Mighty Ducks 3)
    7. Blades of Glory
    6. BASEketball
    5. For Love of the Game (esp the love story)
    4. Angels in the Outfield
    3. Cutting Edge
    2. Semi Pro
    1. Rocky V

  8. Wes says:

    For real this time….

    9. Major League
    8. Caddyshack
    7. Rocky (didn’t grow up loving it like you)
    6. Hoosiers
    5. Seabiscuit
    4. Remember the Titans
    3. Field of Dreams
    2. Cinderella Man
    1. The Natural

    The Natural wasn’t the best made movie, didn’t have the greatest plot or whatever, but I grew up watching it over and over (probably a lot like you and Rocky). Just was a part of my childhood. Still wear nine in softball/baseball because I idolized Roy Hobbs. You gave Seabiscuit no love. Great sports movie. Top ten is tough to narrow down. I’d give honorable mentions to Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup and Miracle.

  9. Emelie says:

    I’m going to say this in swedish, Tusen tack! I loved all of them.

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