The Best Sports Films (not about boxing)

W​ith Creed III hitting movie screens and the spring weather finally about to bring people outside again, everyone begins thinking about sports. What will we play? What will we watch? It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year. The world of sports brings with it some great stories that inspire everyone’s daily life. It’s no surprise that films try to capture that and push the narrative format to give everyone a story they can cheer for.

Best Sports Films

R​udy (1993)

E​asily one of the most motivating sports stories ever told. Rudy has spent his entire life being told he was too small to play football. He dreams of attending Notre Dame college and playing for the team. When his friend dies in an accident, he decides he has to chase his dream, or he may never get a chance. Through pure grit and determination, he is able to get into the school, but getting on the team is going to be even harder. Never give up on your dreams.

Best Sports Films

H​oop Dreams (1994)

T​he best thing about this film is that all the drama is real. In this documentary, we follow two teens as they dream of playing basketball professionally. The film starts as they enter high school and follow them through all their ups and downs into college. Throughout it all, they hold on to their hopes to push themselves forward to fulfill their destiny. The reality of the film makes it one of the best sports films of all time.

Best Sports Films

F​riday Night Lights (2004)

Based on the book by Buzz Bissinger. In small Texas towns, only one night of the week matters. Friday night. The team of Permian Panthers has a winning tradition. When their best player gets injured in the first game of the season, the coach has to find a way to bring the team together and push forward through the rest of the season. This small town doesn’t have much hope left, and to keep its spirits up, the coach has to find a way to get this team into a winning season.

Best Sports Films

M​ajor League (1989)

The Cleveland Indians (as they were known then) have been a losing team for so long that the city barely even remembers them. When the team owner dies, his wife takes over and plans to make the team the worst in the league. She gathers a motley crew of players that no one has even heard of. When the group finally realizes her plan, they set out to win as much as possible, even if they are released at the end of the season. A great cast with Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Corbin Bernsen.

Best Sports Films

C​addyshack (1980)

O​k. Is this a great dramatic sports film? No. But it is probably the most fun golf has ever been on the screen. Judge Elihu Smails is up to something at the Bushwood Country Club. When Ty Webb shows up and starts to weave chaos into the golf scene, it throws all the elitists at the club into a frenzy. Several stories play throughout the film and come together for an explosive finale. The film helped Chevy Chase become an even bigger star. Seeing him and Rodney Dangerfield on screen together is great comedy gold.

Best Sports Films

T​he Bad News Bears (1976)

The original team of misfits that have to learn to work together to win. A former minor leaguer is hired to coach a rag-tag team of baseball kids. His life is turned upside down, and he needs the money, so he agrees. He quickly learns that none of the kids have any natural talent. He finds a star pitcher in Amanda when he tries to bring the team together. Then he finds out the local punk might be the best player in town. With these new additions, he tries to mold this team into winners. A lot of fun and helped set the standard of “group of misfits that need a good coach” movies.

Best Sports Films

The Wrestler (2008)

Many would argue that professional wrestling isn’t a real sport, but I say that to be good at it, you must have an enormously high athletic ability, so I’m including it. Randy “The Ram” Robinson is finding out that as he’s gotten older, the life he used to live as a professional wrestler is finally catching up to him. He’s been relegated to indie wrestling events and is starting to be forgotten. He has pushed away his daughter and everyone around him during his career. As he eyes retirement, he is trying to reconnect to those important to him but begins to wonder if he will be able to do anything outside of wrestling.

Best Sports Films

A​ League Of Their Own (1992)

A​ fun look at the true story of how during World War II, women filled in the roles occupied mainly by men in the workforce. Baseball put together women’s teams to keep the sport moving forward while the war raged on. This follows the team of the Rockford Peaches. The team is thrown together, and a former Cubs player is placed as their coach. He doesn’t seem interested in coaching a women’s team, but soon the team finds its groove.

Best Sports Films

Hoosiers (1986)

Based on a true story. A coach with a sketchy past is put in charge of a local basketball team. Helping him out is the town drunk who loves the sport of basketball. The team has to overcome their own problems before they can finally have a chance at becoming a contender for the state championship. The coach hopes that winning a championship will help these kids and show that he is not his past.

Best Sports Films

F​ield Of Dreams (1989)

A​n Iowa farmer begins to hear a voice whisper to him, “if you build it, he will come.” This compels him to turn his cornfield into a unique baseball field. He finds that when he finally builds it that ghosts of baseball’s past emerge to play once again. This leads the farmer to discover the true meaning behind the messages and how his field can help him now. Without a doubt movie fans would vote this as the best sports film of all time.

Are you looking forward to Creed III? W​hat are some of your favorite sports films? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.