Here's part two of my list of the Top 50 Greatest Sports Movies. I am a huge fan of movies, sports, and lists, so this slideshow seemed to be a natural one for me to undertake.
In ranking these, I took into account factors that you won't find in any American Film Institute handbook. I don't delve into the filming aspects of cinematography, screenplay adaptation, or Oscar nominations.
I chose these movies because I liked them. I'm sure there will be some scrutiny for the choices and people will disagree with my rankings, but it's a list about movies, so that's to be expected. Feel free to comment on how you would rank these.
Also, here is the link to part one: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/115264-top-50-greatest-sports-movies-50-26.
(Note: I need to apologize for neglecting to put "Youngblood" on my previous list. It would rank somewhere in the 30s or 40s for me. The name on the back of my jersey in men's league hockey is "Swayze" because of his role in this, and Keanu Reeves plays goalie. I love the 80s.)
I like any movie that chronicles real-life people as they try to do something great. This movie lets the viewer in on the hard work and dedication that it takes to make it as a pro basketball player as well as the struggles of being an inner-city youth trying to make it.
I'm sure if I played basketball, this movie would mean more to me, but unfortunately, the only aspect of my basketball game that is any good is shooting from half court.
I do everything else horribly because I've never really tried to learn the game as a player. I figured that I might as well be able to do something cool every now and then. It doesn't go over too well when you're playing pick-up and you constantly post up at half court, though.
When I Googled "Jerry Maguire" to find a suitable image for this slide, this picture was one of the first that popped up. It's Jonathan Lipnicki, the goofy little kid who basically guilts Tom Cruise into marrying his mom.
I don't really have much of a comment, other than it's weird seeing child stars when they grow up. Also, did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?
This movie does a deceptively good job of hiding its true genre: chick flick. It starts off all sports and agents, and before you know it, you're watching a romantic comedy. That stuff can happen if it's a good movie; it worked for Titanic.
Where would Cuba Gooding Jr.'s touchdown celebration rank in sports history? It's somewhat reminiscent of T.O.'s catch against the Packers in the playoffs, back when he was in San Francisco, if Owens decided to audition for Randy Jackson's "America's Best Dance Crew" amid his tears.
Originally, I didn't think of this as a sports movie, but it seems that poker has taken on a different audience since this film was released.
It's mainstream now, almost everyone knows every rule to Texas Hold 'Em, and my friend's grandmother actually plays online poker for, like, five hours a day.
Every major actor turns in a great performance. Matt Damon shows his consistency yet again as the steady lead Mike McD. Ed Norton's "Worm" is a guy I actually think I might know, and when is he ever bad in a movie?
John Malkovich's Teddy KGB might be one of the most memorable performances of his career, and I have probably butchered his lines at the end in about fifty different card games: "Pay heem, payy thut man hees money."
My one main problem with this movie is Damon's girlfriend. There has never been a worse Debbie Downer character in any movie that I can think of.
Granted, she was a smoke show, but I was hoping about halfway through that a side plot would be Damon gambling his relationship on a hand and losing on purpose.
This is an absolute classic for me and in my Top 10 comedies of all time. I can watch this and Billy Madison anytime that they are on, regardless of what scene it's at or what else is on TV.
This Bob Barker cameo ranks up there with any of the greats, battling it out for the top spot with Cam Neely, who was in "Dumb and Dumber" as Sea Bass, a closet homosexual with a violent streak.
I don't know about anyone else out there, but every single time I go to the driving range, I waste a solid five shots trying the Happy swing.
Occasionally, I connect, and it is actually a pretty glorious sight, though the majority of them end in near lawsuits.
The only thing holding this back from being higher is that I like two other movies in this series more. It is a great sequel, and it's great that it picks up right where it left off instead of skipping ahead and stealing the drama from the storyline with Apollo.
It still boggles my mind watching some of the boxing scenes; only Mickey Ward can handle those haymakers in real life.
I feel horrible for Adrian when she has to hug Rocky at the end of the movie when he was a bloody, mucous-y and concussed wreck.
Take a shower, Rock.
"Prison Rules"—that's a phrase any guy longs to hear unless they're in a community shower. Burt Reynolds always seems to entertain, whether it be as a disgraced QB or a disgraced politician with a thing for strippers. He is in his absolute prime in this one.
The remake of this appalled me. It was horrible, proving my point that great movies should not be attempted twice. How can it be as good as this?
Another great prison football scene is in "Sleepers," where the guards play the troubled teens in the boy's correctional facility. You can't tell me that scene isn't wildly entertaining.
Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbes well, and after seeing this, I immediately picture a basketball version chronicling Len Bias; tell me that wouldn't be a sweet movie. Only instead of a dreamlike home run, it'd be a buzzer beating alley-oop with the backboard exploding in slow motion.
This would definitely be ranked higher, if I didn't like so many baseball movies.
Is it just me, or are old school uniforms way better than the new ones. Call me nostalgic, but I think old-time apparel should be used over the alternate jerseys because no fan of the game is going to put up a stink if their players wear old-school unis.
This movie has arguably one of the more memorable scenes in sports cinema when Redford drives a shot into the lighting system with his bat made from lightning-struck wood, and the entire stadium turns into a flashing firework display as he rounds the bases.
Truth is, if this wasn't a movie and that actually happened, a lot of people would be seriously hurt by the malfunction. It would most likely bankrupt the owner of the stadium. Also, Hobbes would most likely have been found later to be taking anabolic steroids. Thanks, steroid era.
As someone who went to college in the same town that I grew up in, this movie hits a chord with me. The main characters are high school grads in a college town, who are clueless about their next step and get a ton of flack from the college crowd of snobs.
The last scene during the big race is unbelievable, as the cast of misfits takes on the rich college kids. It sounds cliche, but it is actually an captivating moment that will give you the chills.
This movie really feels authentic and really shows this indecision of a group of almost-adults as they attempt to "break away" from home.
Soccer movies are hard to come by in Hollywood because, let's face it, it's about a popular sport in America as the volleyball. The only other one I could even consider mentioning is, "Ladybugs," a cinematic masterpiece that I'm sure people are mad that I snubbed from this list.
Any time it's "Nazis vs. Prisoners" in a POW camp free-for-all game, I'm glued to the TV. Add in the fact that the game is actually the way for the prisoners to escape.
It's "Shawshank Redemption" meets "The Longest Yard." It also poses the question; what would you want more, to be saved from a Nazi war camp or to risk death by beating the Nazi's in an obviously unfair game?
Sylvester Stallone plays goalie, and it is a shame that more people don't see his cat-like ability in net. If you haven't seen this movie, trust me, and rent it.
What can I say about this movie that you don't already know? My love for 80's movies almost put this higher, as this is a prime example of 80's soundtracks, outfits, and haircuts that can entertain.
The Cold War allusions are spectacular, and at one point, I found myself openly rooting for an actual battle to occur following the last fight.
Unfortunately, the Russian crowd turned on Drago and started rooting for Rocky, which, as the Sports' Guy has mentioned, is one of the most absurd and hard to believe moments in the history of sports movies...but it's better because of it.
It also has the best, and possibly most famous montage scene with Rocky training in the snowy mountains while Drago works in the state of the art evil lair.
Also, didn't they have weight classes back then? It looks like Drago weighs about a deuce and a half while Rock is 175 lbs. soaking wet.
"Tin Cup" is the forgotten sports movie in Costner's arsenal. People usually think of "Bull Durham", "Field of Dream" or even "For the Love of the Game," but what about Roy McAvoy?
It may be a golf movie, but Costner's character acts exactly like a slob baseball player, even getting his nickname from catching with no cup. (Who would ever, ever do that?)
The scene on the 72nd hole of the US Open is so well done and appropriate for the main character that all future movies about sports should take notes. You don't need it to be the perfect ending for it to end perfectly.
This is another movie where I can't decide if Rene Russo is hot or not in her prime. There are scenes when she looks like a man, but then we'll get a different camera angle and bang, a cougar.
Every time I see this movie on TV, I stop what I'm doing and watch—every single time. It's hard not to because why wouldn't I want to be put in a good mood?
Russell Crowe is spot-on as James Braddock, and Paul Giamatti seems like he was born to play his manager/coach (he's good in a lot of movies). Renee Zellweger does her best to annoy and be a wet blanket, but even the Great Depression can't keep the audience down in this one.
I really, really wish boxing was relevant like it was back in these times up until about the 70's. I don't like MMA nearly as much as boxing, and I think it's sad that "heavyweight champ" isn't an important title anymore.
Originally, I had this ranked much higher but I couldn't put it ahead of certain other baseball movies. Also, if this were on TV right now, there's no guarantee I wouldn't see what else is on, and that's important.
Kevin Costner is always good in sports movies, though I had trouble watching Tim Robbins and believing he could throw faster than 70 MPH with those mechanics.
Also, Susan Sarandon acting as sexually as she does kinda hurts this one for me. She looks exactly like a frightening woman who worked at my middle school, and this is one lunch lady you would not want acting flirtatious.
These two are together because they follow the life of "Fast" Eddie Felson, an alcoholic pool shark. "The Hustler" is definitely the better of the two, though both are fantastic.
This picture would make a pretty unbelievable poster. Paul Newman is fantastic as Fast Eddie, and "The Hustler" brings a gritty realism to the pool hall and the art of grifting. Newman gives so much depth to his character that you forget he's even acting at one point.
Tom Cruise shows up in the sequel "The Color of Money" and nails the transformation of a childish pool prodigy with absolutely no sense of grifting into a seasoned con artist.
Newman carries the movie though, and it's great to see the resurgence of his character (all he needed was those God-awful 80's glasses).
Without a doubt, this is the greatest moment in American sports history...followed closely by the 2004 and 2007 Sox' championships and the Pats' Super Bowls. Just kidding (but not really).
Has anyone gotten more out of being a one-hit wonder more than Mike Eruzione? God bless him for scoring the biggest goal in our country's history, that'd be like winning the lottery then single-handedly saving 100 people from burning building.
Kurt Russell is the key to the movie as Herb Brooks, as his real life story makes this win even more compelling. His celebration scene at the end by himself under the stands gets me choked up every single time I see it. And to think he played Captain Ron.
I had to put this in my top ten just based on the ridiculous amount of times I have seen it. There are so many amazing stereotypes represented; the rundown catcher, psycho closer, temperamental speedster, I could go on and on.
The writing of the season and climactic last game keeps this movie at a fast pace and though it's a cliched ending, it's awesome.
Also, Tom Berenger is Jason Varitek in 2009, though if 'Tek lays down a bunt with two outs and a runner on third in the last inning of an elimination game, I'll personally see to his retirement.
I used to wait tables at a seafood restaurant in Boston, and one day, for lunch, Roger Dorn (played by Corbin Bersen) came in and sat at my table.
I absolutely loved Dorn in this movie, and it was extremely weird to have him ordering scallops and talking football with me. He gave a 50 percent tip too, so yeah, this movie has to be top ten.
This is a movie every kid should watch before they start playing competitive sports. I know when I have a kid, this will be a mainstay in my teaching arsenal.
"Invincible" will be there as well, and in retrospect, that probably should have been on my other list.
The last scene will always give me the chills and cause dust to go into my eyes, making them watery. Even though a real life Rudy can be pretty damn annoying, watching Samwise Gamgee get that sack is one scene that anyone should love.
Any movie that laid the groundwork for the friendship between Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, setting up "Swingers," has to be a winner.
Another tearjerker. I don't know many guys who have seen this movie and not teared up. Yeah, it's cheesy, and the acting isn't spectacular, but the actors nail it when it counts, and bring this real-life tragic story to life.
On a somber note, one of my best friends in high school passed away during my senior year in a car accident on Valentine's Day. Saturday night is the sixth anniversary of the accident, and it's just as sad today as it was when it happened.
His name was Darren. He was a ridiculous football player going to Harvard to play and he had intricate handshakes with about 50 people in my class.
Honestly, you couldn't write a sadder story about a better kid. Be thankful for your health and the people around you, and ALWAYS wear a seatbelt.
"Bad News Bears" is basically "Mighty Ducks" only with little league baseball, Walter Matthau instead of Emilio and R-rated humor...oh, and it's a lot better.
The casting director absolutely chose the perfect group of kids to be on this team. There are some serious punks and if there's anyone else who can play coach Buttermaker other than Matthau, I'll believe it when I see it. (Billy Bob Thornton couldn't match Matthau's performance in the remake.)
The star of the team, Kelly Leak, would have been a terror of a matchup for any little leaguer, as he hit puberty around nine.
Also, the actor who plays Leak, Jackie Earle Haley, recently played a very graphic pedophile in the movie, "Little Children." As an adult, Haley certainly looks the part, and seeing him act like a serious pervert has scarred me to a certain extent.
"Hoosiers" is an exceptionally-made sports movie, and one that should be a model for other sports movies.
Gene Hackman really does seem like he could be a basketball coach, and Dennis Hopper may have actually been drunk for the duration of this film because he really sells the alcoholism of his character.
Basketball in Indiana seems to parallel football in Texas: small towns that are way too in to their high school teams, former star players reliving their glory days through a bottle of booze or their children, and unreal pressure for a group of young high-schoolers.
The basketball scenes kept me glued to the TV, and more than a few times, I found the hairs on the back of my neck standing at full attention.
Every time I see this, I miss playing high school sports and even though it's a movie and I know how it ends, I always find myself openly rooting for the players.
This is one of the funniest movies ever made. Chevy Chase and Bill Murray are in their absolute primes, and though I'm normally not the biggest Rodney Dangerfield fan, I love him in his role.
Ted Knight as the evil judge might be the sleeper performance of the entire movie; he's the perfect foil for Chase's laid back role.
I've seen this movie far too many times to count, and I wonder how they were able to get through any of the takes without breaking down laughing.
This is more of a comedy than a sports movie, granted, but it will be this good fifty years from now. Also, any movie that has this much gratuitous nudity is ok in my book.
There aren't too many things better than having 18 holes of golf ahead of you, a 30 pack, and three friends who like to gamble. Golf is one sport that I would love to become very good at, if only it wasn't so expensive to get out and play all the time.
This picture speaks volumes about "Raging Bull." Robert DeNiro gives arguably his strongest performance as Jake LaMotta, a psycho boxer with an absurd tolerance for punishment and a personal life strewn with insecurity, domestic abuse, and self-loathing.
In terms of real film critiquing, this is probably the best movie of the bunch with Scorcese at the helm, but its gritty realism and intense subject matter make it a very difficult movie to want to see over and over.
The ending alone is very hard to watch; DeNiro fully transforms himself into the role even gaining a ton of weight for the final scene, making it believable and therefore, a lot more depressing.
Also, whenever I watch it, I come away feeling like an absolute fairy who couldn't take one of these haymakers, let alone hundreds.
Don't ever start a fight in a bar, because one day, a guy like Jake LaMotta is going to be friends with the person you harass, and it will end very badly.
This is my highest ranked baseball movie and for good reason. It may not have the game scenes that other sports movies do, but I think "Field of Dreams" encompasses the root of why baseball is America's past-time.
Baseball is a game of fathers and sons, and I get emotional when Costner (the sports movie king) asks his reincarnated dad for a game of catch.
They both understand the magnitude of the situation, and that there is no plausible way to explain how they are able to do it. And instead of bogging the scene down with conversation, they have a simple game of catch as a row of headlights forms in the distance as people finally come to the field.
My dad spent so many hours and years pitching batting practice to me, hitting flyballs, and taking me to games. It's cheesy, yes, but as a sentimental favorite, No. 3 seemed like a reasonable spot for the ranking.
It was a tough choice, but I eventually decided on putting Rocky at the second spot instead of first. I can't picture anyone else ever playing this part other than Sly, and imagine how different these movies would be if someone else played the lead role?
Is there any greater mentor in sports movies than Mickey? (All due respect to Mr. Miyagi) Or for that matter, any greater loser than Paulie?
The boxing scenes in this movie are excellent, and though no human could possibly take such punishment, the audience takes every punch with Stallone.
I love the way Rocky trains in each of his movies, whether it be chasing poultry, being chased by a mob of children, punching meat, or sprinting up ski slopes. The guy knows how to prepare, and his montages are second to none.
I'm sure plenty of you will disagree with this being No. 1, but as far as I'm concerned, it is the best sports movie of all-time.
I'm sure part of that is because I love hockey and I've seen it on about a hundred bus trips, but I really think if I could watch any of these fifty movies, "Slapshot" would be the very first choice.
Paul Newman was an unbelievable choice to play Reg Dunlop, and he has an uncanny ability to bring depth to characters even when they seem to be one-dimensional.
The Hanson brothers are the best characters in sports movies—period. This picture alone should sell that, or the fact that they wear tin foil under their gloves for fighting, or have car sets that they play with on the road.
This movie, though outrageous in some of its comedic scenes, really portrays the minor league hockey atmosphere accurately. And if you know anyone who plays junior hockey or is a goon on ice, then you know what I mean.
3. Field of Dreams
4. Raging Bull
7. Bad News Bears
8. Brian's Song
10. Major League
12. The Hustler/The Color of Money
13. Bull Durham
14. Cinderella Man
15. Tin Cup
16. Rocky IV
18. Breaking Away
19. The Natural
20. The Longest Yard
21. Rocky II
22. Happy Gilmore
24. Jerry Maguire
25. Hoop Dreams