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The Ultimate Guide to Must-see Sports movies

Sports are considered one of the best forms of entertainment throughout the world. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, boxing, and so many other sports capture the attention of people all over the world. Hollywood has taken advantage of the passion and excitement of sports, making countless feel-good movies and diving into different sports. Movies have a way of making you feel certain emotions through storytelling. The impact sports movies have made on people and the sports world is undeniable. But what are the best sports movies? I do not think there is a clear winner, but here are my personal favorites and some of the all-time classics.

1. Rocky

Rocky Balboa in the middle of his fight against Apollo Creed.

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) taking on the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

“Rocky” is perceived as one of the most iconic sports movies ever. Released in 1976,  Sylvester Stallone stars as an unknown boxer in the streets of Philadelphia, trying to will his way through life by working by working for the street. An opportunity of a lifetime comes when the scheduled fighter fighting heavyweight champion Apollo Creed falls to injury and Creed is desperate to keep the fight on. Creed ultimately picked Rocky Balboa to set up the ultimate underdog story.  

Sylvester Stallone took the world by storm, grossing $225 million world-wide. Despite Rocky having a budget below $1 million, it was one of the first rag-to-riches sports stories put on the big screen. ‘Rocky’ would be nominated for countless awards and would win “Best Picture” in 1976. 

This would spark a series of ‘Rocky’ movies and then spark the Creed’ trilogy. Rocky is a true underdog story and is still regarded very highly even today. Boxing is obviously the main point of the movie, but the real story comes from the relationships built and obstacles that Rocky has to overcome. But, it all starts with the boxer fighting his way to the top of the sporting world and going head to head with Apollo Creed. 

 On IMDb, Rocky still has 8.1 out of 10 stars. The plot is predictable but still one of the best movies from the 1970s, and it would set up one of the most memorable movie series. 

2. Remember the Titans

Coach Boone trying to will his player through practice.

Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) trying to get his players to practice harder.

Released in 2000,Remember the Titansis a feel good story about a high school football team coming together to break barriers that no one thought could be broken. Denzel Washington stars as the new head coach for T. C. Williams High School set in 1971, a school that is newly integrated and having racial conflicts, “Remember the Titans" displays the kind of nature that African-Americans faced throughout this time. 

Director Jerry Bruckheimer does an incredible job of displaying the setting and tension throughout the 1970s. When you’re watching certain parts it will make you feel uncomfortable because of the actions of people which are well designed. I believe that feeling and seeing the uncomfortable moments of the movie truly gives people a glimpse of how African-Americans were treated during that time. “Remember the Titans” also gives stressful crunch-time plays and big-time action, pushing fans to the edge of their seats. It also shows the struggles off the field outside of racism that the team has the rally around to come out on top. 

This movie only received a 7.8 out of 10 stars on IMDb, but Denzel Washington was able to win many awards from his performance. Most sports movies are predictable, and this is no different, but you can never beat the feel good, underdog story. 

3. A league of their own

Jimmy Dugan having a mound visit with his players.

Manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is giving a mound visit to his star players.

A League of Their Ownwas released in 1992 starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. During WW2, MLB was on the brink of being shut down due to many men leaving for the war. Then women were awarded an opportunity to prove themselves. “A League of their Own” also holds history within the area, with scenes being filmed in Evansville, Indiana at Bosse Field.

This movie is a feel-good classic, but its release changed the sports movie industry. With the cast being mostly women, director Penny Marshall showed a cast led by women could produce a great sports movie. This movie shined light on what was actually going on with baseball during WW2. Even though the movie isn’t based off real events, it is based off of an actual women’s league during WW2 that was given the opportunity to play against men. 

Rated a 7.3 out of 10 on IMDb, I believe it doesn’t get the credit it deserves but ,regardless, it's an all time classic. Director Penny Marshall has since become an icon for women in the film industry, as she was one of first women to achieve consistent success as a film director.

4. Moneyball

Billy Beane trying to set up a plan for the Oakland A's.

General manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) having a discussion with his scouts about his team.

Moneyballshed light on the inner workings of a MLB team and how it is able to create a winning roster. Released in 2011, this movie dove into the 2002 Oakland Athletics, a team remembered for spending the least amount of money to construct a roster. General Manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, has a very low budget and has to build a contending team after most of his star players left in free agency. 

This movie isn’t your typical feel good story; however, it somehow makes itself into a feel good story. It is important because of how the landscape of baseball changed after the release of this movie. The term ‘moneyball’ was coined by Bill James in the 1980s because he used analytics and advanced metrics to build his team. The 2002 Athletics would go on to have the longest winning streak in American League history at 20 games, and this attributed to Billy Bean and the moneyball philosophy. 

“Moneyball” scored a 7.6 out of 10 on IMDb and is one of the more important sports movies in recent memory.

5. The Sandlot

Group of oddballs just wanting to play some baseball.

Benny Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) and his crew looking to play baseball at the Sandlot.

 Last, but certainly not least,The Sandlotwas released in 1993. Based in 1962, an oddball group of kids unfortunately are learning the struggles of life but thankfully have baseball to fall back on. The dangers of being scared of the neighbors' dog and having a crush on a lifeguard seem like small problems in life, but for these kids, it was everything but small. 

“The Sandlot” is a sports movie that has been able to keep people watching for over 30 years. It is a family movie that almost makes you want to be a kid again. Seeing how much fun these kids have and seeing how much they love the sport of baseball is a great thing to watch. 

"The Sandlot" received a 7.8 out of 10 on IMDb and is, to this day, one of the most enjoyable sports movies to watch. It will be the first sports movie I show my children. “The Sandlot” isn’t necessarily known for its great acting performances but for the great laughs it brings to everyone watching.

Sports are considered the highest form of entertainment in the world. Bringing sports over to Hollywood has been huge for the sports industry. A movie like "Moneyball" gives people a perspective through the general manager, but a movie like "The Sandlot" gives people a perspective through children's eyes. When talking about the best movies ever, most people wouldn’t put sports movies in the conversation because of the predictable story lines. But, sports movies have their own ranking because they might not have the best actors or the best cinematography but they have a way of making you excited. The excitement you feel is the same excitement that the characters in sports movies feel, thus almost breaking that “fourth wall” and making you a part of the team. These movies are some of my personal favorites but are also looked upon as some of the most memorable sports movies. I have no doubt after watching at least one of these movies, your thoughts on sports and movies could change for the better.


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