I admit I'm a sucker for heartfelt sports films, most do not gross all that much at the box office though, and it became painfully evident to me several years back why.
Most sports movies are not based off great athletes, more so, the underdog.
Rocky was based off of Chuck Wepner, not a bad fighter, but a bum nonetheless, who in reality attempted a few lawsuits against Stallone to get more money from the film, never really achieved anything in life.
Rudy, although a film that when I first saw it I cried on several occasions, is based off of a guy who wasn't THAT short, he was 5-foot-7 and even though had lots of heart was just not a good football player, and to this day it baffles me why he insisted on playing a defensive position, the guy may have made a decent RB, but not a d-man.
Plus it doesn't seem he worked out enough cause I know 5-foot-7 guys who weigh more than 165 pounds because they work to build more muscle.
Then there's all the other ones, The Rookie, about Jim Morris who played 21 games in MLB, and team movies like Hoosiers.
I don't care.
Getting back to Rocky, it was gold because Stallone starred in it, and Ali, about, Muhammad Ali, was gold because Will Smith was in. Just like Caddyshack rocked because of Dangerfield.
You see my point?
To have a high grossing sports film you need a star actor ( I know Stallone wasn't a star before Rocky but stay with me on this) and based off a true story on an athletes who was actually GREAT.
For the record, The Natural is my favorite sports film aside from the Rocky series and it was largely fiction and it was great because Robert Redford starred in it.
Anyway, enjoy the list.