What are some of the best, and worst, sports movies ever made? There are many movies in many sports that have reached the silver screen and below, by sport, are my favorites. Don't forget to check out the entire list because after my favorite sports movies I have named what I think are the worst ones ever made! And I follow that with who I think are the best Sports Movie Actors.
A League of their Own - 1992
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna
Bull Durham - 1988
Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon
Eight Men Out - 1988
John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney
Field of Dreams - 1989
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Ray Liotta
The Natural - 1984
Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey
Hoop Dreams - 1994
William Gates, Arthur Agee
Hoosiers - 1986
Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
Million Dollar Baby - 2004
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Don't let the fact that this story is about a woman boxer dissuade you; this movie hits on all levels.
Raging Bull - 1980
Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci.
Based on the real life story of middleweight champion Jake La Motta, De Niro's depiction of the life of the boxer is one of his best performances.
Rocky - 1976
Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith
The Hurricane - 1999
Denzel Washington, Dan Hedaya
When We Were Kings - 1996
Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King
Brian's Song - 1971
James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden.
Based on the true story of the relationship between Chicago Bears players Brian Picalo (Caan) and Gale Sayers (Williams) in a racially charged era. It is the story of two men overcoming their prejudices to become friends as they have to deal with not only outside influences, but career threatening injuries and life threatening diseases. This story is so compelling that it transcends its gridiron backdrop and enthralls viewers of all walks of life. It is must viewing for all. Perhaps the most amazing fact about this movie is that it wasn't produced for the silver screen; it was a made for TV movie.
Jerry Maguire - 1996
Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.
The Final Season - 1986
A Burt Reynolds narrated documentary produced by Mike Tollin.
Perhaps one of the first sports movies shot in the reality genre this movie follows the path of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL during the final season of the league. The movie depicts the real life struggles of a team trying to cope with the realities of playing in a floundering league while their owner is battling a cancer that threatens his life.
The Longest Yard - 1974
Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Ray Nitschke, Joe Kapp
Don't bother with Adam Sandler's re-make, it uses basically the same script and doesn't come close to matching the original.
Caddyshack - 1980
Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield
Happy Gilmour - 1996
Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen
Tin Cup - 1996
Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin
Slapshot - 1977
Paul Newman, Jennifer Warren, David Hanson
Miracle - 2004
Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Kenneth Welsh
There are actually two movies with similar titles, the first, Miracle on Ice, is a made for TV movie shot in 1981 with Karl Malden. Don't be fooled, make sure you view Miracle with Kurt Russell as it gives a very good look inside the program the program that led to the USA's 1st hockey Gold in 20 years.
Paperback Hero - 1973
Kier Dullea, Elizabeth Ashley, Dayle Haddon
A little known Canadian movie about a small town hockey star that lives life thinking the world revolves around him. The nude shower scene, very risqué for it's time, is still one of the most poignant, real, raw, and honest scenes ever put to screen. Critics who felt that the movie didn't accurately depict the reality of life have never experienced life as portrayed in this movie. In fact even today there are many people who still act just like the character of Rick Dylan, a quick look into the issues that continue to occur with athletes at some US Colleges proves that.
Cars - 2006
Animated feature with the voices of Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, George Carlin, Cheech Marin, Richard Petty, Darrel Waltrip, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Can an animated feature about the life of a car actually be considered one of the best racing movies ever? Unlike most racing movies the script is outstanding and only uses racing as a start and end point, instead deciding to depict the wonderful aspects of life, and how it interacts with the characters, between races. Only time will tell us if this turns into another Pixar classic but so far the reviews are positive.
Grand Prix - 1966
James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Jessica Walter
Heart Like a Wheel - 1983
Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges
Bedelia and Bridges give great performances in this little known small budget autobiographical movie of drag racer Shirley Muldowney. The story line and racing footage are magnificent.
Le Mans - 1971
With the exception of Steve McQueen's famous line "Racing is life, everything before or after is just waiting", what script there is in this movie about the 1971 24 hours of Le Mans race is easily forgotten, and should be. In fact there is no dialogue at all for the first 38 minutes of the film. The brilliance of this movie is the racing footage, still the best ever shot. It truly captures all the action that is racing and does honestly depict racing from the perspective of the driver.
Winning - 1969
Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Robert Wagner
1969 was a big year for Paul Newman. In addition to shooting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Robert Redford, Winning introduced him to a sport that turned into a lifelong passion for him, racing .
Breaking Away - 1979
Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley.
Long before Lance Armstrong, or even Greg LeMond, made cycling somewhat fashionable in society this little movie came along and captivated all who watched it. Although no cycling craze ensued following its release, this low budget movie had an outstanding script to go along with a great cast, most relatively unknowns at the time, who together created a timeless masterpiece about family and life. Unfortunately this may still be one of the best movies that nobody has seen.
Chariots of Fire - 1981
Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell.
The Hustler - 1961
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott.
The Color of Money - 1986
Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Turturro
Worst Sports Movies
Caddyshack II - 1988
Robert Stack, Dyan Cannon
Not even a double bogie close to being as good as the original.
Driven - 2001
In my opinion this is not only the worst racing movie ever made, but perhaps, and again this is just my opinion, the worst sports movie ever made. Who knows, it could even make some people's lists as the worst movie ever made period.
Slap Shot II, Breaking the Ice - 2002
Stephen Baldwin, Jessica Steen, Gary Busey
They should have broken the mold, or in this case the stick, after the 1st movie. Bad acting and bad skating do not make for a good sequel.
The Legend of Bagger Vance - 2000
Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron
Robert Redford makes our list as one of the best actors in sports movies but he should have never tried to direct this turkey. This movie screams fore mercy the second Matt Damon swings a golf club. Pretty scenery, Charlize Theron, and an enjoyable Will Smith can't make up for a script that never comes close to par. Throw in a Matt Damon golf swing that is so bad that even filming at night can't mask its flaws, and you've got a movie that's as painful to watch as Greg Norman's 1996 Master's collapse.
The Main Event - 1979
Ryan O'Neil, Barbara Streisand
Ryan O'Neil as a boxer and Barbara Streisand as his trainer? Enough said.
Youngblood - 1986
Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Cynthea Gibb
A fairly famous cast can't make up for a slushy script, poor skating, and a minor league performance by Rob Lowe.
Best Actors in a Sporting Role
Kevin Costner - Born Kevin Michael Costner on January 18th, 1955.
He just looks the part. If there's such a thing as the girl next door then Kevin Costner would be the jock guy next door that everybody roots for. For whatever reason Costner somehow seems to bring credibility to any role he plays in a sports movie, which can't be said for some of his non-sports movie roles.
Sports Movie Credits include; For Love of the Game (1999), Tin Cup (1996), Bull Durham (1988), Field of Dreams (1989), American Flyers (1985)
Paul Newman - Born Paul Leonard Newman on January 26th, 1925
Although he hasn't made a lot of sports movies during his career each of the ones he has been involved with have become classics, and much of the credit for that must go to Newman for his performances. Additionally he is a true sportsman as, thanks to his introduction to the sport during the shooting of Winning, he became involved with motorsports as both a driver and an owner. In fact he raced quite successfully, winning an SCCA title, and didn't retire from behind the wheel until he was 76. He currently is a co-owner of Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, which fields cars in the Champ Car World Series.
Sports Movie Credits include; The Color of Money (1986), Winning (1969), The Hustler (1961)
Robert Redford - Born Charles Roberts Redford Jr. on August 18th, 1936.
In Redford's long, varied and distinguished career he has only acted in 4 sports themed movies, but 2 of those our considered to be among the best ever made, just like Roy Hobbs. Although it didn't make our list, his 1st sports movie, Downhill Racer, makes most peoples top 20 lists, while another, The Natural, makes everyone's top 10.
Sports Movie Credits include; The Natural (1984), Electric Cowboy (1979), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), Downhill Racer (1969). He also directed "The Legend of Bagger Vance" in 2000.
Tom Cruise - Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, on July 3rd, 1962.
Cruise has played a variety of sports roles over his career. Although he first broke into the spotlight with his 1983 breakout role alongside Rebecca de Mornay in Ricky Business, it was another picture, All The Right Moves with Craig T. Nelson, released that same year that saw him make his sports debut. He has played alongside Paul Newman, another of our great sports actors, in the sequel to The Hustler, The Color of Money, and is also known for his portrayal of NASCAR driver Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder, a role that introduced him to two new passions, racing and Nicole Kidman. His most famous sports role however was in the smash hit Jerry McGuire, where he wowed audiences with his portrayal of a sports agent gone sin free.
Sports Movie Credits include; Without Limits (1998), Jerry McGuire (1996), Days of Thunder (1990), The Color of Money (1986), All The Right Moves (1983)