The 20 Most Memorable Sports Movie Characters
Throughout film history, we have left a warm spot in our hearts for sports films. Whether they are comedies or dramas, we can't enough of a good sports story told through film. These characters have left plenty of memories for sports fans both young and old that, regardless of how many years go by, we still identify with.
While there are certainly many more sports characters out there, these 20 movie characters stand out as the ones that throughout the years we remember most.
Herb Brooks - "Miracle"
Kurt Russell got the nod to play the fiery, intense and remarkable Herb Brooks in the 2004 film "Miracle." Russell's job as the 1980 USA Olympic hockey coach stole the show and made Miracle one of the best sports films of the decade.
Ray Kinsella - "Field of Dreams"
Kinsella famously "built it" and they came.
Kevin Costner's role as beleaguered Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella brought to light the heart-warming story of a father and son playing baseball unlike one that has ever been told through film.
Roy Hobbs—"The Natural"
Robert Redford's role as Roy Hobbs in 1984's "The Natural" is arguably the most recognized baseball role in film history.
Hobbs, the greatest baseball player to never reach his potential, hit the most memorable home run in film history.
Brian Piccolo—"Brian's Song"
James Caan made men across the country cry with his role as Chicago Bears player Brian Piccolo who died from cancer. The unique element of Caan's powerful role was that it came from an ABC Movie of the Week and not a Hollywood production.
Wild Thing Rick Vaughn - "Major League"
Charlie Sheen played the role as the eccentric, wild Rick Vaughn in 1989's "Major League."
The big arm, the haircut, and cussing out the umpire made Vaughn a hilarious character in the funniest baseball film ever made.
Goldberg the Goalie - "The Mighty Ducks"
For a younger generation, "The Mighty Ducks" Goldberg became of the more endearing movie characters for a generation of kids born in the early 1980's.
Shaun Weiss' role as the fat goalie who is the target of his teammates' jabs made him one of the most memorable characters of the 1990s.
Joe Pendleton—"Heaven Can Wait"
Warren Beatty earned an Academy Award Best Actor nomination for his role as the fabled Los Angeles Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton who gets a view of heaven from an over-eager angel in "Heaven Can't Wait."
Daniel "Rudy" Ruttiger - "Rudy"
Sean Astin fills one of the best movie characters role of all-time when he took on the job as Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger in the 1993 film "Rudy."
Astin's story of the Notre Dame "little engine that could" is not only one of the best roles of the last generation, but one of the best roles ever.
Paul Crewe - "The Longest Yard"
Burt Reynolds turned in a great performance in the original 1974 film "The Longest Yard," creating the first jailhouse football team before Adam Sandler remade the film in 2005.
What is there to say about Rocky Balboa?
Sylvester Stallone's legendary boxing role is one of the most memorable roles in any film in any genre. It wasn't Stallone's first role, but it is the job that launched him into an epic Hollywood star.
Ivan Drago—"Rocky IV"
Stallone's Soviet counterpart in Rocky IV makes the list because he is one of the most infamous antagonists in sports film history.
Dolph Lundgren, who played Drago, fit the bill perfectly as the intimidating, steroid-infused, Red boxer through which the Patriotic Rocky sought vengeance.
Morris Buttermaker—"The Bad News Bears"
Morris Buttermaker is arguably Walter Matthau's funniest role.
The alcoholic, pool-cleaning, ex-ball player forced to lead a band of miscreant youth baseball players is the prototype for jerky, arrogant, drunkards in later films.
Lou Gehrig—"Pride of the Yankees"
Gary Cooper's role as Lou Gehrig in the 1942 film was the catalyst for sports films stars in decades to come.
The film, which serves as a biography of Lou Gehrig, is considered not only one of the best sports films of all-time, but one of the best films period.
Fast Eddie—"The Hustler"
Paul Newman's role as "Fast" Eddie Felson in the 1961 film is one of Newman's earliest and best roles. Newman's role tells the story of risk-taking and life surrounding hustling and gambling. A great flick if you've never seen it.
Jimmy Dugan—"A League of Their Own"
Tom Hanks' role as the drunken, temperamental manager of a ladies baseball team in "A League of Their Own" is one of Hanks' best acting jobs of his career.
Hanks provided excellent comedy relief and serves as the heavyweight that has allowed "A League of Their Own" to maintain its charm and effectiveness after nearly two decades.
Chevy Chase's role as the dry-humored, sarcastic golfer Ty Webb brought a different angle of comedy to the generally slapstick, crude humor of "Caddyshack."
Nuke LaRoosh—"Bull Durham"
Tim Robbins landed the role as the hard-headed, rocket-armed Nuke LaRoosh in 1988's "Bull Durham."
Nuke's constant clashes with Kevin Costner's Crash Davis and his relationship with Susan Sarandon made him one of the more unique characters in sports film history.
The Hansons—"Slap Shot"
The Hanson Brothers are the most memorable trio from the legendary 1977 hockey film about the faltering, financially strapped Charlestown Chiefs. The Hansons served as the ugly-mugged triplets of the violent Chiefs who used big hits to turn into heroes for their fans.
Gene Hackman played the head coach of the legendary Hickory high school basketball team that went on to shock the state of Indiana as the ultimate underdog when they won the 1952 Indiana state title.
Jake LaMotta—"Raging Bull"
Robert De Niro starred in Martin Scorsese's 1980 hit about boxer Jake LaMotta. De Niro's portrayal of the psychologically troubled, violent boxer is one of his most memorable roles.