Tuesday, June 12News That Matters

Good sports movies come in all shapes and sizes


Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 10:10 am Updated: Jun. 12, 2018 10:21 am

What makes a good sports movie?

Realism. An underdog. A hero. Inspiration. Good guys and bad guys. True stories. Fictional tales.

In other words, no perfect formula exists. That’s why putting together a definitive list of the best sports movies of all time is nearly impossible. Instead, the following list breaks down more than 100 sports movies into mini lists — ones to avoid, ones that will make you laugh and so on.

Even as you scroll through the list below, surely there will be a movie that will make you say “Hey, you forgot that one!” or “I can’t believe you don’t like that movie.”

By the time you get to the end, you’ll realize many sports movies are decent and watchable, a few are not so good, some are forgettable and a few are truly unforgettable.

Not Ranked Because Haven’t Seen Yet: The Endless Summer, Raging Bull, Chariots of Fire, The Hustler, Pride Of The Yankees, Above the Rim, Bend It Like Beckham, Senna, Invictus, Breaking Away, The Fighter, The Hurricane, When the Game Stands Tall

Don’t Care What You Say, It’s Not a Sports Movie: The Big Lebowski

Should Have Stopped at One: Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V, Caddyshack II, every Air Bud movie, The Bad News Bears Go To Japan, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, Major League II, Major League: Back in the Minors

Don’t Bother: The Fan, The Babe, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Replacements, Juwanna Mann, Necessary Roughness, The Benchwarmers, Little Big League, Ed, BASEketball, Wildcats, The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon, Leatherheads

It’s So Bad You Must Watch Once: The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Gus, One on One, Fast Break, Teen Wolf

Overrated: Rudy, Any Given Sunday, Brian’s Song, Blue Chips, Varsity Blues, Victory, Bang the Drum Slowly, Heaven Can Wait

“Wish It Was Better” or “It Had Potential,” but it’s just OK: For Love of the Game, Million Dollar Baby, Ali, White Men Can’t Jump, The Sandlot, Grudge Match, The Mighty Ducks, The Program, Seabiscuit, Draft Day, Cobb, Cool Runnings, The Bad News Bears (the Billy Bob Thornton version), 61*

Read the Book First: Friday Night Lights, Everybody’s All-American, Paper Lion, North Dallas Forty, Semi-Tough

Worth a Laugh or Two (but forget a plot; also known as the Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell Division): Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Major League, Brewster’s Millions, The Longest Yard (Adam Sandler version), Semi-Pro, Space Jam, Talladega Nights, Kingpin, Blades of Glory, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Kicking and Screaming, Rookie of the Year, Ladybugs

Worthwhile History Lessons: We Are Marshall, Remember the Titans, Miracle, Cinderella Man, Invincible, Coach Carter, Eight Men Out, 42, Glory Road, Concussion

Oldies but Goodies: The Longest Yard (Burt Reynolds version from 1974), The Bad News Bears (1976 — the Walter Matthau version), The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976), Slap Shot (1977)

Underrated: Love and Basketball, Creed, Rocky Balboa, The Wrestler, Foxcatcher, All the Right Moves, Trouble With the Curve, Radio, O

Really, Really Good but Not Quite Top 10: The Blind Side, Tin Cup, A League of Their Own, He Got Game, The Rookie, Jerry Maguire

Top 10 Sports Movies You MUST Watch

10. The Karate Kid. “Sweep the leg!”

9. Moneyball. Brad Pitt is fantastic as Billy Beane.

8. Caddyshack. “A former assistant grounds-keeper about to become the Masters champion.”

7. Field of Dreams. “If you build it, he will come.”

6. The Natural. “Pick me out a winner, Bobby.”

5. When We Were Kings. Second-best sports documentary relives the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

4. Hoop Dreams. Best sports documentary tells story about two Chicago prep basketball stars.

3. Rocky. “Adrian!”

2. Bull Durham. Crash Davis’ speech to Annie Savoy about what he believes in is cinematic gold.

1. Hoosiers. “I’ll make it.”

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