Ranking 10 Best Sports Dramas

This article was last updated by on

Ranking 10 Best Sports Dramas!! Whether you are a sports fan or not, there are some great sports dramas that you can enjoy on your movie night. Today, we are ranking ten of the best sports dramas you can add to your binge list in 2023.

Every year we see several releases of sports dramas. And then there are a few classic ones that are all-time favorites of sports fans and movie lovers. So what makes a great sports drama?

A good sports drama revolves around camaraderie, overcoming the odds, or a good underdog story. There are many dramas related to notable athletes, and then there are fictional dramas.

Sylvester Stallone in rocky
Sylvester Stallone From Rocky (Source: Man of Many)

We have compiled a list of some of the most notable sports dramas. They are critically acclaimed, and a few of these dramas have also won the prestigious Academy Award.

Can you guess which sports drama is our number one pick? You may have your favorite one as well. So please stick with us to see whether ours and your pick match.

Quick Overview

Let us look at the preview of our list at the table first!

Movie Name Released Date
10. Field of Dreams 1989
9. Hoosiers 1986
8. The Karate Kid 1984
7. Warrior 2011
6. The Wrestler 2008
5. The Blind Side 2009
4. The Hustler 1961
3. Remember the Titans 2000
2. Raging Bull 1980
1. Rocky 1976

Ranking 10 Best Sports Dramas

We have prepared our list using Flickchart as our primary references. 

10. Field of Dreams

Our tenth pick is the 1989 American sports fantasy drama Field of Dreams. The drama is based on W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, directed by Phi Alden Robinson.

The drama features Kevin Costner, who plays an Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella. He builds a baseball field in his cornfield, inspired by a voice he can’t ignore. His wife supports him and thus begins his quest.

However, the story has a twist when his baseball field attracts the ghosts of baseball legends. The drama also stars Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster.

Field of Dreams poster
Field of Dreams poster (Source: Filmsite.org)

It was theatrically released on May 5, 1989, and received positive reviews from critics. The critics stated the drama is sentimental but in the best way, and it is a mix of a fairy tale, baseball, and family togetherness.

Field of Dreams got nominations for three Academy Awards in Best Picture, Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. Furthermore, in 2017, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the US National Film Registry.

9. Hoosiers

On number 9, we have Hoosiers, written by Angelo Pizzo and directed by David Anspaugh, as his feature directorial debut. The drama was released under the name Best Shot in some countries.

The story revolves around a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that enters the state championship. The story was partially inspired by the Milan High School team that won the 1954 State championship.

The drama revolves around the sports underdog formula with excellent performances from the cast. It stars Gene Hackman as Norman Dale, who plays the new coach with a checkered past.

Hoosiers
Hoosiers (Source: Gonewiththetwins.com)

Similarly, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper are the co-stars of the drama. Hopper, who plays the basketball-loving town drunk, got a nomination for Oscar for his performance in the movie.

Likewise, Jerry Goldsmith is the music composer for the drama and got a nomination for an Academy Award for his piece. Hoosier is one of the best critically acclaimed sports dramas that is hard to resist.

Library of Congress selected Hoosier for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2001 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

8. The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid is a movie that most of us have seen at least once in our childhood. It is an American martial arts drama released in 1984 and is number 8 on our ranking of 10 sports dramas.

It is the first installment in the Karate Kid franchise. Robert Mark Kamen wrote it, and John G. Avildsen is the movie’s director. The main star cast features Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, and Elisabeth Shue.

Similarly, William Zabka, Martin Kove, and Randee Heller are in the drama supporting cast. The plot of the drama revolves around a teenager Daniel LaRusso (played by Macchio), who is taught karate by Mr. Miyagi (played by Morita) to defend himself.

The Karate Kid 1984
The Karate Kid 1984 (Source: Movies anywhere)

Later, Daniel competes in a tournament against his bullies; one of them is Johnny Lawrence (played by Zabka). Johnny is also the ex-boyfriend of the lead’s love interest Ali Mills (Shue.) The drama was theatrically released in the US on June 22, 1984.

The Karate Kid received many positive reviews from critics. The drama’s action scenes, writing, themes, performance, and music all received praise from critics. It was one of the highest-grossing movies and Hollywood’s biggest sleeper hit of 1984.

7. Warrior

On number 7, we have Warrior. The drama is an American sports action film that was theatrically released in the US on September 9, 2011, by Lionsgate.

Gavin O’Connor is the movie director starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy. Similarly, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Bryan Callen, and Nick Nolte are also part of the cast in supporting roles.

Edgerton and Hardy are two estranged brothers who enter into a mixed martial arts tournament. It makes the two brothers come to terms with their lives and each other.

Warrior 2011
Warrior 2011 (Source: Moviemanjackson.com)

Warrior has some of the best gripping action and powerful performances by the actors. Many real-life MMA and sports figures like Kurt Angle, Nate Marquardt, Roan Carneiro, Amir Perets, Anthony Johnson, etc., appear in the drama.

Although the drama received positive reviews, it was not commercially successful. It was criticized for its sports drama clich├ęs. However, Nolte received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

6. The Wrestler

Our sixth pick is the universally acclaimed American sports psychological drama, The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky is the director, and Robert Siegel is the movie’s writer.

The film stars Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Rourke plays the role of an aging professional wrestler who continues to wrestle despite his failing health and withering fame.

As Rourke desperately tries to hold to his past glory days, he also tries to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter and find romance with a woman working as a stripper.

The Wrestler
The Wrestler (Source: Hubpages.com)

The Wrestler received a limited release in the US on December 17, 2008, and was later released nationwide on January 23, 2009. Mickey Rourke received much praise for his fantastic performance in this rich and heart-wrenching sports drama.

As a result, Rourke received a BAFTA award, Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The drama won the Golden Lion Award at the 65th Venice International Film Festival.

5. The Blind Side

Released in 2009, we have The Blind Side on our number 5. It is an American biographical sports drama that John Lee Hancock wrote and directed.

The drama is based on the 2006 book of the same title by Michael Lewis. It has the star cast of Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Jae Head, Kim Dickens, and Kathy Bates.

The drama tells the story of an American football offensive lineman, Michael Oher, who Quinton Aaron plays. It tells Oher’s story of overcoming his poor upbringing with the help of his adoptive parents, played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw, to play in the NFL.

The Blind Side
The Blind Side (Source: Scribemag.com)

The Blind Side was a commercially successful sports drama. Made at a budget of $29 million, it grossed $309 million. The critics praised the movie’s strong source material and strong performances.

The drama received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Similarly, Sandra Bullock’s strong performance won her the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, etc. 

4. The Hustler

If you are looking for something modern classical, and sports-related, then the 1961 American sports romantic drama, The Hustler, is the ideal pick. The drama is adapted from Walter Tevis’s 1959 novel of the same name.

Robert Rossen directed the movie, and Robert Rossen is the producer. The star cast of the drama features Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason, and Myron McCormick.

The story revolves around Paul Newman’s character Eddie Felson also known as “Fast Eddie.” He is a small-time pool hustler who wants to break into the “major league” of professional hustling and high-stakes wagering.

The Hustler
The Hustler (Source: DVD Netflix)

Fast Eddie uses his raw talent and ambition to fight against the best player in the country and become the best among the legendary pool player, “Minnesota Fats.” Newman and Gleason’s iconic performance makes the drama further enjoyable.

The drama explored the sports world and helped in the resurgence of the popularity of the pool. The Hustler was critically successful, thus gaining the modern classic title.

The Library of Congress selected the drama for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 1997. Additionally, the Academy Film Archive preserved the movie in 2003.

3. Remember the Titans

Ranking best sports dramas, on number 3, we have, Remember the Titans. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer, and Boaz Yakin directed the biographical sports movie released in 2000.

The drama is based on the true story of coach Herman Boone which Denzel Washington plays. Likewise, Will Patton, Donald Faison, and Nicole Ari Paker play the supporting roles in the drama.

Similarly, Ryan Hurst and Wood Harris portray the role of real-life athletes Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell, respectively. It is an inspirational story about the struggles and victories of the newly-integrated high school football team in 1971 Virginia.

Rememer the Titans
Remember the Titans (Source: Movieposter.com)

The critics listed the drama as an inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary. It may have the predictable sports drama cliche, but the drama features fantastic performances by the star cast.

Remember the Titans is a profoundly moving sports drama about the courage of individuals and the power of sports. It is one of the best football dramas of all time.

2. Raging Bull

On number 2, we have the 1980 Raging Bull. It is an American biographical sports drama that Martin Scorsese directed and Robert Chartoff produced.

The drama was adapted from Jake LaMotta’s 1970 memoir Raging Bull: My Story. The drama stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer.

The plot revolves around LaMotta and his self-destructive and obsessive rage, jealousy, and animalistic appetite, which destroys his relationship with his wife and family.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull (Source: Filmsite.org)

Similarly, the drama also features the supporting role of Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, and Frank Vincent. Raging Bull is one of the finest sports dramas about an unsympathetic hero.

The drama’s release received mixed reviews due to its violent content. However, De Niro’s performance widely received praise. The movie had eight Academy Awards nominations at the 53rd Academy Awards.

Raging Bull is one of the greatest sports dramas. The American Film Institute has ranked the sports drama as the fourth-greatest American movie of all time and was preserved in the US National Film Registry in 1990.

1. Rocky

The number 1 pick is the iconic sports drama, Rocky. John G. Avildsen directed the movie, while Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in it.

The 1976 Rocky is the first installment in the Rocky franchise. Sylvester Stallone plays the role of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated, small-time club fighter and debt collector.

The plot revolves around him, who gets an unlikely shot at the world heavyweight championship held by Apollo Creed. The movie was an instant hit and helped popularize the rags to riches and American Dream themes in sports dramas.

Rocky, 1976
Rocky, 1976 l (Source: Filmsite.org)

Although the story of the drama is predictable, the movie script and actors’ performances take it to another level. As a result, it became one of the most successful sports dramas of all time.

Likewise, Rocky received ten Academy Award nominations and won three of the nominations. The drama was a sleeper hit and the highest-grossing movie of 1976.

Rocky is considered one of the greatest sports films ever made. The Library of Congress selected the drama for preservation in the US National Film Registry for its “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Conclusion

When we say good sports dramas, many would have guessed that Rocky. We tried to include the classic and newer released sports dramas on our list.

There is something cinematically pleasing about sports dramas. From the athletes’ struggles, crazy desires, and victorious glory, these sports dramas will provide any movie buffs with a fantastic movie-watching experience.

Related articles

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Trending