The 10 Best Sports Movies EverJake Cooper | 26 Apr 2018
If you’re a sports fan, these top 10 movies are simply unmissable. If you haven’t seen them all, you’ve missed out.
10. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Oliver Stone directing, Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz starring - so there’s quality involved before we even start. Then Stone takes us on a journey of determination and desperation worthy of a Shakespearian tragedy, as he reveals the underbelly of gridiron football glamour. Pacino’s “Life’s just a game of inches” monologue? Goosebumps.
9. Caddyshack (1980)
To make a great sports movie, you don’t have to focus on the guts and grit. You can do it just as well with outrageous comedy, and Caddyshack must be the only sports flick that can boast Chevy Chase, Bill Murray AND Rodney Dangerfield in the cast. So it doesn’t take itself or its sport at all seriously - and since the sport in question is golf, that’s probably a good thing.
8. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Let’s stick to the comedies - and yes, most people think of this one more as a screwball stoner movie than a sports film. But let’s not forget how integral ten-pin bowling is to the plot - which is a surprise to those who never thought Joel and Ethan Coen would wind up on this list.
7. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Director John Shelton had the world nostalgic for the street-basketball days of their youth; even among viewers who never played. Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes are young up-and-comers showing off their star quality, and the smack talk is just as much fun as the basketball.
6. Bull Durham (1988)
Sticking with America’s favourite sports - this was an earlier hit for Shelton, who really did great stuff with sports off the top tier; sports as most of his fans had actually experienced them. His tale of minor-league baseball got star power from Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, whose romance with up-and-coming co-star Tim Robbins added spice to the publicity.
5. Raging Bull (1980)
There are a lot of great movies about boxing, but Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake La Motta is truly epic. In the days before stars were surrounded by an army of personal trainers and dieticians to change shape completely between movies, De Niro shocked the world by bulking up on massive loads of pasta and other carbs, so he could portray the fat, out-of-condition, punch-drunk heavyweight in decline.
4. Cool Runnings (1993)
Another light-hearted contender. The story of the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team had some fictional liberties taken with it, but the end result was a film that got lots of laughs, while telling the world about a great moment in sports-underdog history. Betting on these guys may have been a long shot, but it one that would have paid off!
3. Jerry Macguire (1996)
Many sports fans will hate this one being included - it’s really a rom-com about Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and her unbearably cute kid. Not much in the way of gritty sports action. But it makes the list because it also stars Cuba Gooding Jr, and his interactions with Cruise, his agent, are a brilliant parody of the real wheeling and dealing that goes on in pro sports.
2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Another big-name boxing hit; this time starring Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood. Unusually, it tells the story of a female boxer and her curmudgeonly trainer, and also sparked debate on boxing’s more controversial aspects.
1. Rocky (1976)
Best boxing film of all time, unquestionably. Not only did Sylvester Stallone and his co-stars put their bodies on the line for some of the most authentic fight action the screen has ever seen, but all that work making the boxing real and the fighters’ world come alive before our eyes, was just backdrop to a really engaging love story about two people who were never going to be ‘glamorous’. Even though the heart of the original film was never captured properly in the sequels, the one thing Stallone always kept true was the intensity of real pro boxing.