Top 10 Sports Movies Of All Time

Top 10 Sports Movies Of All Time! You do not need to be a sports lover to love a good sports movie. Numerous sports movies have universal stories that can appeal to any movie lover.

Most of the time, sports movies tend to be predictable. They have the same traditional formula of the protagonist overcoming their greatest adversity and winning their biggest game.

Nonetheless, they are entertaining, and the tale from struggle to ultimate triumph appeals to the movie watchers. Similarly, the phenomenal acting from the star casts further enhances the story making the movie an all-time favorite.

Bill Murray In 'Caddyshack'
Bill Murray In ‘Caddyshack’ (Source: Getty Images)

Therefore, today in this article, we have prepared a list of the ten top sports movies of all time. They are also unique and do not follow most sports movies’ usual predictable formula.

Whether or not you are a sports person, these movies are worth the watch.

Quick Overview

First, let us look at the overall rankings of our top list.

Movie NameReleased Year
10. When We Were Kings1996
9. Slap Shot1977
8. Caddyshack1980
7. The Wrestler2008
6. Foxcatcher2014
5. Bull Durham1988
4. The Bad News Bears1976
3. Raging Bull1980
2. Rocky1976
1. Hoop Dreams1994

Top 10 Sports Movies Of All Time

We have compiled our top ten sports movies of all time with references from Internet sources like RollingStone, Vulture, etc.

10. When We Were Kings

The first movie we are starting our list with is When We Were Kings, an American documentary movie. Leon Gast is the film’s director, released in 1996.

The movie is about the “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship match between world heavyweight champion George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. The match was held on October 30, 1974, in Zaire.

Similarly, the movie stars boxing celebrities like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman and other stars such as James Brown, B.B. King, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Spike Lee, Thomas Hauser, and many others.

When We Were Kings, 1996
When We Were Kings, 1996 (Source: Imdb.com)

When We Were Kings is a movie about the legendary match between Ali and Foreman and the historical importance of the fight.

It took Leon Gast 22 years to edit and finance the movie. But when it was finally released, the film received positive reviews. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in the year of its release.

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9. Slap Shot

Slap Shot is widely regarded as a cult film released on February 25, 1977. It is an American sports comedy movie directed by George Roy Hill and written by Nancy Dowd.

The movie star cast includes Paul Newman, Strother Martin, Michael Ontlkean, and Jennifer Warren. It tells a story about a minor league ice hockey team from a declining factory town that resorts to brutal play to gain popularity.

The team, struggling with a losing season and a hostile crowd, discovers their hometown fans reacting positively to an open-ice brawl. Then starts their violent and thuggish style of play.

Slap Shot
Slap Shot, 1977 (Source: Punkjunk)

The writer of the movie Nancy Dowd based much of her script and several characters on her brother’s experience on 1970s minor league professional hockey teams.

The movie met with mixed reviews when it was first released. However, the film has gathered its cult following over the years and is one of the top sports movies of all time.

8. Caddyshack

On number 8, we have another American sports comedy movie, Caddyshack. Harrold Ramis is the director of this 1980 movie starring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, and Michael O’Keefe.

Caddyshack is considered one of the funniest and most entertaining golf movies. The story begins when the golfers led by Ted Knight’s Judge Smails at the Bushwood Country Club are invaded by Dangerfield, Murray, and O’Keefe.

Caddyshack
Caddyshack, 1980 (Source: Imdb.com)

Similarly, Sarah Holcomb, Cindy Morgan, and Brian Doyle-Murray play the supporting roles in the movie. The movie was inspired by writer and co-star Doyle-Murray’s experience working as a caddie at Indian Hill Club.

When the movie was first released, it received underwhelming reviews and criticism. However, over the years, Caddyshack has gained a cult following. ESPN described the movie as “perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made.”

7. The Wrestler

The seventh top sports movie of all time goes to the 2008 American sports psychological drama, The Wrestler. The globally acclaimed film was directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Robert Siegel.

The main star cast of the movie includes Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. The film revolves around Rourke’s character as an aging professional wrestler who continues to try to hold on to his past fame.

Despite Rourke’s health failing him, he cannot let go of his glorious past days as a wrestler. He is also on the road to mending his relationship with his estranged daughter and finding love with a woman who is a stripper.

The Wrestler
The Wrestler (Source: Hubpages.com)

His incredibly heart-touching performance earned Mickey Rourke a lot of praise. Consequently, he won a BAFTA award, Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and a nomination for an Oscar for Best Actor.

Similarly, The Wrestler won the Golden Lion Award at the 65th Venice International Film Festival.

6. Foxcatcher

On number 6, we have Foxcatcher. Directed by Bennett Miller and written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher is an American biographical, psychological sports drama thriller movie.

The movie was released in 2014 and was originally set to be released in 2013. Its star cast includes Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and Vanessa Redgrave.

Foxcatcher story is loosely based on multimillionaire E.I. du Pont family heir and wrestling enthusiast John du Pont, who recruited two gold medalist brothers, Mark and David Schultz, in 1986.

Foxcatcher, 2014
Foxcatcher, 2014 (Source: Imdb.com)

du Pont recruited them to help coach U.S. wrestlers’ participation in national and international competitions and the Olympics. The story also includes the murder of David Schultz by du Pont in 1996.

The three main lead actors in the movie received critical acclaim. Similarly, the film received nominations for five Oscars at the 2015 Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Award nominations.

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5. Bull Durham

Number 5 on our list of the top sports movies of all time goes to the 1988 romantic comedy sports movie Bull Durham. Ron Shelton is the writer and director of the film.

The movie stars Kevin Costner as a veteran catcher named “Crash” Davis from the AAA Richmond Braves. Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Trey Wilson, and Robert Wuhl are also part of the main cast.

The story is partly based on the real-life experience of Ron Shelton’s time in minor-league baseball. Similarly, it also depicts the Durham-based minor-league baseball team, Durham Bulls.

Bull Durham 1988
Bull Durham 1988 (Source: IMDb)

Crash Davis is brought in to teach the rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh to prepare him for the minor league. Thrown in the mix is Susan Sarandon’s character Annie Savoy who finds herself attracted to the veteran catcher.

Bull Durham enjoyed commercial and critical success after its release. Sports Illustrated ranked the movie as the number 1 Greatest Sports Movie of all Time.

4. The Bad News Bears

The Bad News Bears is another classic sports movie that has a lot of fan following. The movie is a sports comedy film with its fair share of hilarious and dark moments.

Michael Ritchie is the director, and Bill Lancaster is the movie’s writer. The main star cast includes Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow, Joyce Van Patten, Ben Piazza, Jackie Earle Haley, and Alfred W. Lutter.

The story is about an alcoholic ex-baseball pitcher Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), who becomes a coach of a team of misfit kids, the Bears. He later enlists gifted pitcher Amanda Wurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal).

The Bad News Bears, 1976
The Bad News Bears, 1976 (Source: Imdb.com)

The Bad News Bears received positive reviews with its release. The movie has rude but honest and unforced humor, all tied together with incredible cast performances.

It is one of those timeless movies that deserves to be called one of the top sports movies of all time.

3. Raging Bull

Number 3 on our list of the top sports movies of all time is the American biographical sports movie Raging Bull. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made.

The movie is an adaptation of Jake LaMotta’s 1970 memoir Raging Bull: My Story. Martin Scorsese is the director, and Robert Chartoff is the movie producer.

The movie’s main character is an Italian-American middleweight boxer, Jake LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro. LaMotta is a self-destructive and obsessive boxer with an animalistic appetite.

Raging Bull 1980
Raging Bull 1980 (Source: IMDb)

As a result of his rage and jealousy, he destroys his relationship with his wife, family, and everyone around him. In the beginning, the movie received mixed reviews for its violent content.

However, De Niro’s incredible acting chops have made Raging Bull one of the finest sports movies about an unsympathetic hero.

American Film Institute has ranked Raging Bull as the fourth-greatest American movie of all time. In 1990, the movie was preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry.

2. Rocky

Our list of the top sports movies of all time would not be complete without the iconic 1976 sports movie Rocky. This first installment in the Rocky franchise is considered one of the greatest sports films ever made.

The movie stars Sylvester Stallone, who plays the role of the main character Rocky Balboa and is also the film’s writer. Rocky Balboa is an illiterate small-time club fighter and debt collector.

Unexpectedly, Rocky gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship held by Apollo Creed. The story is somewhat predictable and revolves around this plot.

Sylvester Stallone's Rocky
Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky (Source: Amazon.com)

The phenomenal acting of the star casts made Rocky one of the most critically acclaimed sports movies. Furthermore, the rags to riches and American Dream themes hit a note with the fans.

Rocky turned out to be a sleeper hit with the highest-grossing revenue of 1976. The movie is preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

1. Hoop Dreams

And here we are at the top of our list. The number one spot on our list is the 1994 American documentary Hoop Dreams. Steve James is the director, while Frederick Marx and Steve James are the movie’s writers.

It first premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

Starring William Gates and Aurther Agee, the movie revolves around two African-American high school students dreaming of becoming professional basketball players.

Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams (Source: Amazon.com)

The movie’s original intent was to be a short film of 30 minutes. But it turned out to be 171 minutes in length. Despite this, Hoop Dreams received critical acclaim.

The Current TV ranked the sports movie number one in their list for its special 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die. It was also added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2005.

Conclusion

Sports movies are a genre on their own, but the film depicts stories that appeal to anyone. The movies on our list are best not only because they feature sports, but it also resonates and inspires movie watchers.

So whether you love sports or not, we recommend you watch these movies at least once. We assure you they are definitely worth a watch.

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