With all of this time on our hands and no sports on TV, it’s difficult to be a fan right now. There are only so many YouTube videos we can watch and sometimes you need a break from NBA 2K20, FIFA 20 or MLB The Show. The next best thing is to watch a great sports movie.
Today’s list is a guide to 25 great sports movies. We haven’t tried to make it a guide of the critically-acclaimed, greatest-ever films. No, this is all about pure crowd-pleasers. There’s something for everyone here from football to basketball, from inspiring dramas to slapstick comedies. If you miss sports, sit down and put on one of these films.
25. Ford v Ferrari
One of the newer films on this list, Ford v Ferrari is extremely entertaining. You don’t have to be a gearhead to enjoy it either, because its themes are universally appealing. Ford decides it will send a racing team to Le Mans, but they face embarrassment at the hands of a brilliant Ferrari team.
Matt Damon and especially Christian Bale are both excellent. Bale stars as the volatile Ken Miles, a racecar driver who dreams of making it in the big time. Like all great sports movies, Ford v Ferrari is inspiring, funny, and at times even heartwrenching. Definitely worth a watch.
Totally childish yet all the better for it, Caddyshack is a classic comedy. If you’re missing golf, here you go. Forgo the tedium of the sport and watch this movie instead. The likes of Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield star in this crude, hilarious, and downright bizarre ode to the gentleman’s game.
It’s slapstick and gloriously idiotic. As long as you can embrace that, Caddyshack will lift your spirits and force you to shed your maturity. A cult classic, ESPN called it perhaps the funniest sports film ever made. In these dark times, this is the perfect tonic.
Thanks to Kurt Russell, this movie feels inspirational and nostalgic instead of cliché-ridden. Based on the legendary events of ‘The Miracle on Ice,’ it’s a phenomenal true story. A ssupposedly weak US hockey team took on the mighty giants of the Soviet Union. Nobody expected the US to win.
Coach Herb Brooks turned that team made up of college players into a cohesive unit. They overcame adversity to band together to pull off one of the biggest upsets in sports history. If you need some motivation, then this is the movie for you. Hockey has never looked better.
Another inspirational true story, this one shows the rise of former NFL star Michael Oher. It follows his impoverished upbringing in Memphis, Tennessee before his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Then he evolved into a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
Sandra Bullock is on fire in this movie and even went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. It’s amazing to see how one individual’s life can be changed by the actions of a couple of people with kindness in their hearts. One of the best NFL movies of recent times.
A biopic telling the remarkable rise and fall of America’s darling Tonya Harding, this is a great film. Margot Robbie is fantastic as the titular character. It does paint her as a victim in her rivalry with fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. So as long as you’re willing to accept that narrative, you’ll enjoy it.
The film has cameo appearances from the real people it depicts. Alison Janney steals scenes as Tonya’s abusive mother. As a sports film, it’s one of the best introductions to figure skating that you’ll ever see. These athletes have to give up everything if they want to be the best.
The basketball team at Richmond High School is failing on and off the court. But then they get a new coach with revolutionary methods. In short, he forces them to live to a higher standard and to put as much effort into their academics as they do to basketball.
Based on a true story, Samuel L. Jackson plays Ken Carter. The story is familiar but well-executed. Jackson’s central performance drives the movie forward even if you can guess what’s coming. However, there’s something reassuring about that in these uncertain times.
Despite their best efforts, the UFC was unable to hold events in the current climate. However, don’t be upset because Warrior is the next best thing. It stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two estranged brothers whose entrance into an MMA tournament makes them come to terms with their lives and each other.
The story is simple but perfectly executed. Meanwhile, Nick Nolte is majestic as the father of the two brothers, even getting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Finally, the action is as realistic as any cage fight that you’ll watch on TV. Gripping and emotional.
While the TV series is more famous these days, the movie is also great in its own right. It follows the football-mad town of Odessa, Texas and their high school team, the Permian Panthers. In short, Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) must motivate the team in their quest for the State championship.
Based on a true story, the movie was an adaptation of a book that Odessa residents hated. Despite this, they still loved the film. In sum, it’s a tale of middle America and so much more than just a football movie. With great acting and relatable plotlines, it’s worth the watch.
Actually the second film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel, this one focused on baseball instead of soccer. A baseball romcom, it stars Jimmy Fallon as diehard Red Sox fan Ben and Drew Barrymore as his love interest Lindsey. The story is totally ludicrous but it’s still mindless fun.
Fallon and Barrymore have enough chemistry to make it work. Furthermore, if you want to show your girlfriend or wife why sports matter to you so much, then this is the movie to watch. If they don’t appreciate your fanatical support for your team after this, then there’s no hope for your relationship.
Regularly called one of the best American football movies ever made, it’s also one of Denzel Washington’s most distinctive performances. He stars as the high school coach tasked with bringing black and white students together. Set in Alexandra, Virginia, in 1971, it was set during a time of racial disharmony.
The students at the school have to change their perceptions of right and wrong. It’s an inspirational crowdpleaser, led by some exceptional actors who manage to turn cliché into a powerful social commentary and most importantly, a great football movie.
The second figure skating movie on this list, “Blades of Glory” is a little bit different. But that’s what makes it so funny. Jimmy McElroy and Chaz Michael Michaels are two figure skating rivals. After a public brawl, World Figure Skating bans them for life. However, there’s a loophole.
If they can put aside their differences, then they can compete in pair-skating, becoming the first-ever same-sex couple to compete. In short, this film is absurd and ridiculous, but that’s what makes it so great. You can’t help but laugh at the antics from Will Ferrell and Jon Heder.
Gilmore is a failing hocking player who has no skills except for a powerful slapshot. Then the IRS comes after his grandmother. Happy has to try and make enough money so that she can reclaim her house. But suddenly, in an unlikely twist, he finds a talent for golf.
One of Adam Sandler’s best roles, he’s great as the emotional, angsty Gilmore. This genuinely a lot of fun, with some side-splitting scenes. Meanwhile, Bob Barker beating up Happy is one of the greatest fights in cinema history. As long as you can handle the shtick, you’ll love this movie.
It’s not the most mainstream sport on the planet, but this movie brought Dodgeball into the mainstream. A group of misfits enters a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain. Chaos and hijinks ensue.
Starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller as rival gym owners, the cast has sublime chemistry. With the likes of “Steve the Pirate” and Patches O’Houlihan, there are so many classic characters. It also taught us one of the most important lessons in movie history: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”
A brilliant, Oscar-winning documentary, Free Solo is not for the fainthearted. Alex Honnold is a free solo climber who dreams of conquering the face of El Capitan. Without using any equipment except for chalk, he will attempt to climb over 3000 feet, knowing that a fingertip out of place could cost him his life.
But this isn’t just about the climb, it’s also about the impact of Honnold’s lifestyle on those he loves. Every time he steps outside, he risks death. In sum, this is as much about the psychological impact on all involved as it is about the actual quest to reach the top.
You could argue that the best Rocky movie doesn’t actually focus on Rocky. Creed tells the story of Adonis, the grandson of Rocky’s old rival and friend Apollo Creed. Donnie travels to Philadelphia, hoping to train with the legendary ‘Italian Stallion.’ Then he gets a chance to fight for the title.
The acting in this movie is some of the best since the first movie. Stallone even got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Rocky has his own battle to overcome in the movie. Meanwhile, the movie is inspiring, energetic and very cool.
Even if you have no interest in sports, this movie is still brilliant. The Oakland Athletics are about to lose all their star players. However, General Manager Billy Beane only has a limited budget to bring in replacements. Then, in a chance encounter, he meets a Yale economics graduate named Peter Brand.
Together, they build a team of undervalued talent by taking a sophisticated sabermetric approach to scouting and analyzing players. But Beane has to convince the Oakland executives that this unorthodox method is the way to success. In sum, an intelligent and compelling movie.
This is an underrated gem many people forget about when talking about sports comedies. Will Ferrell stars as NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, who was literally born in the back of a car. After his team fires him, he embarks on a quest for redemption to reach the top again.
With an all-star cast including John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen, Ferrell definitely isn’t alone in supplying the laughs. But the main thing that this movie deserves plaudits for is making NASCAR interesting. Also, it’s actually shorter than watching a real race, so it has that advantage too.
It’s difficult to feel motivated these days. In short, laziness hits in and before you know it you’ve wasted a day scrolling on your phone. But a bit of Nelson Mandela in your life might be what you need to be reinvigorated. Invictus tells the true story of South Africa’s famous 1995 Rugby World Cup Win.
The Springboks were outsiders heading into the World Cup they were hosting. Tensions were rife in South Africa following the end of the apartheid regime. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon are brilliant as Mandela and Springboks captain Francois Pienaar. A powerful film.
Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece needs no introduction. The story of Jake LaMotta, it’s one of the best portraits of a boxer you will ever watch. Robert De Niro’s performance is spectacular. To sum up, it’s visceral and fanatic. First of all, he trained to a level where he could have been a professional.
But he even put on 60 pounds to accurately portray De Niro in his later years. There’s never a bad time to watch one of the most important films ever made. This is as much about the psychology of a boxer as it is about boxing. It’s absolutely majestic.
One of the best family picks on this list, Space Jam is a classic basketball movie. Michael Jordan stars as himself alongside the Looney Tunes in a battle to save Earth. After Jordan’s first retirement, Bugs Bunny and crew call him back into action. Wacky hijinks ensue.
It wasn’t a critical success, but what do they know anyway? It was definitely a commercial success and finally, after more than 20 years, LeBron James will star in the 2021 sequel. It’s also the highest-grossing basketball movie of all-time and perfect for a lazy afternoon.
This could have been a very mediocre movie. However, Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t do mediocre and he turned this into something brilliant. He’s Billy Hope, a boxing champion with a beautiful wife and daughter. But suddenly he loses everything. So he must seek redemption, closure, and reconciliation.
Gyllenhaal spent five months training boxing to prepare for the movie. The fight scenes are brutal but realistic, so if you’re missing the action on DAZN, this might fill the gap for you. We warn you though, the ending will definitely bring a tear to even the most hardened eyes.
Probably the best boxing movie of recent of the 21st century, “The Fighter” is, naturally, based on a true story. Loosely based on Mickey Ward’s rivalry with Shea Neary. However, it’s more than just a boxing match because it focuses just as much as on Ward’s relationship with his older brother Dicky.
Christian Bale won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor after a sublime performance as crack cocaine addict Dicky. It also won the Best Picture and Best Director awards. One of those rare sports movies loved by both critics and audiences alike, it’s definitely worth a rewatch.
At 170 minutes long, Hoop Dreams will definitely eat up a few aimless hours of your day. One of the greatest sports documentaries of all-time, it focuses on two young basketball players. Both are African-American students in Chicago and dream of one day making it in the big time.
This isn’t just a sports story, it’s also a study of what it means to be American. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing, the intention was for a 30-minute film. However, it evolved into a five-year project with 250 hours of footage. Don’t waste time, just check it out.
The first of two Kevin Costner baseball movies, this is truly special. First of all, Sports Illustrated ranked it the #1 Greatest Sports Movie of all time, so if you don’t trust us, trust them. Costner is Crash Davis, a minor league baseball pitcher. His job is to guide a young hotshot called Nuke Laloosh.
However, tensions are rife because of LaLoosh’s inability to appreciate his talent. Throw in Susan Sarandon and you’ve got yourself a love triangle. This is such a great sports movie because it shows the mentality you need to succeed. It also reveals the importance to understand you can be a success at your own level.
The classic baseball movie stars Costner as Ray Kinsella. After seeing a vision of the legendary ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, Kinsella decides to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. In short, the film is sentimental but in a mix of fairy tale and family togetherness.
Smartly written, beautifully filmed, and perfectly acted, Field of Dreams is a joy to watch. When you’re in self-isolation, unable to escape the house, this is the perfect escape. Costner is brilliant as Kinsella, driving the film forwards its conclusion. With James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster in support, this is a cinematic gem.