Top 10 Best Sports Movies

Patrick StapletonContributor IISeptember 6, 2010

Top 10 Best Sports Movies

0 of 11

    Movies and sports: When you combine the two, you get some great results. You will get the occasional dud, but many hits as well. 

    I've seen the comedies ("Happy Gilmore"), dramas ("Million Dollar Baby"), true stories ("Rudy"), and countless others.  I narrowed the list to 10 and await your comments.

    Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Sports Movies of All Time:

10) Miracle

1 of 11

    Total Earnings: $64,300,000 (Inflation: $72,427,781.65)

    Starring: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich

    Director: Gavin O'Connor

    Awards: Won 2004 ESPY (Best Sports Movie)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79 percent

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "Over 4,000 men auditioned for only 20 roles on the US Olympic Ice Hockey Team in the movie."

    "The scene where Herb Brooks makes the team skate back and forth on the ice all night, after their 3-3 tie with Norway, was actually done by the real actors over a span of three days—12 hours a day. The director wanted the moment to be as realistic as possible."

9) Friday Night Lights

2 of 11

    Total Earnings: $61,200,000 (Inflation: $68,935,929.04)

    Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Jay Hernandez, Tim McGraw

    Directors: Peter Berg and Josh Pate

    Awards: Won 2005 ESPY (Best Sports Movie)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81 percent

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "There are only two title cards at the beginning of the movie. The first is: 'The following story is based on the 1988 West Texas football season.' The second is the movie title. The cast and crew are not shown until the end of the movie."

    "Roy Williams, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, has a cameo as assistant coach to Odessa's rival team. He played for Permian in high school."

8) 61*

3 of 11

    Starring: Barry Pepper, Thomas Jane, Bruce McGill, Christopher McDonald

    Director: Billy Crystal

    Awards: Nominated for 2002 ESPY (Best Sports Movie)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80 percent

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "Yankee Stadium scenes were shot at a re-dressed Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan in August of 2000. Infield seats at the stadium were painted green, and a partial third deck and 1961 Bronx skyline were added digitally in post-production."

    "Until he had been hired to play Mickey Mantle for this film, Thomas Jane had never played baseball in his life and knew nothing about the game."

7) The Natural

4 of 11

    Total Earnings: $47,951,979 (Inflation: $97,739,811.38)

    Starring: Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger

    Director: Barry Levinson

    Awards: Nominated for four Oscars (Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Music)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81 percent

    Some of you might be annoyed that this is not higher on the list because it is an American classic.  Robert Redford delivers a performance for the ages, good enough where you actually thought he could be a ballplayer in real life. 

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams's single goal while playing baseball was for people to say, 'There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived' (a sentiment echoed by Roy Hobbs in the movie). Like Williams, Hobbs wears No. 9 on his uniform, and both Williams and Hobbs hit home runs in their last career at-bats. According to Roger Angell of the New Yorker, Redford modeled his swing on Williams's. Angell adds that Redford plays so authentically, 'you want to sign him up.'"

    "Loosely based on the story of Sir Percival from the Arthurian myths: The broken bat = the broken sword; Pop Fisher = The Fisher King; The team called 'The Knights.'"

6) Million Dollar Baby

5 of 11

    Total Earnings: $100,400,000 (Inflation: $113,090,968.56)

    Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman

    Director: Clint Eastwood

    Awards: Won four Oscars (Best Director, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress) and nominated for three others (Best Editing, Best Actor, Best Screenplay)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91 percent

    The most successful movie on this list and easily the most dramatic as well.  The ending is still debated today as well as its Best Picture award.

    Clint Eastwood delivered yet another gem as did Hilary Swank.

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "The last film to date to be nominated for every major Academy Award, including Best Picture."

    "Sandra Bullock was the first actress attached to play Maggie, and she wanted to pursue Shekhar Kapur as a director. By the time a studio expressed an interest in the project, her commitment to 'Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous' (2005) prevented her from doing the film."

5) Raging Bull

6 of 11

    Total Earnings: $1,513,288 (Inflation: $3,889,113.20)

    Starring: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Awards: Nominated for eight Academy Awards (Won: Best Actor for DeNiro)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98 percent

    This movie was actually not that successful in the theaters, but was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. 

    The boxing scenes seem so real and this could easily be Scorsese's crown jewel, even though he has written so many other great movies. 

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film."

    "While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, Robert DeNiro actually met with LaMotta and became very well acquainted with him. They spent the entire shoot together so DeNiro could portray his character accurately. LaMotta said that DeNiro has the ability to be a contender, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer."

4) Field of Dreams

7 of 11

    Total Earnings: $64,431,625 (Inflation: $110,067,306.50)

    Starring: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster

    Directors: Phil Alden Robinson

    Awards: Nominated for three Oscars (Best Music, Best Picture, Best Screenplay)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91 percent

    If you make this movie, they will come! People came to the tune of $64.4 million, which would be $110 million today, and it is still remembered today as the best baseball movie out there. 

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "The studio built the baseball diamond on an actual farm in Dyersville, Iowa. After the filming was completed, the family owning the farm kept the field, and added a small hut where you could buy inexpensive souvenirs. As of 1990, visitors were free to come to the field and play baseball as they please."

    "Then unknown, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are among the thousands of extras in the Fenway Park scene, and are uncredited. Over a decade later, when Phil Alden Robinson welcomed Affleck to the set of 'The Sum of All Fears' (2002), Affleck said, 'Nice working with you again.' Robinson asked, 'What do you mean 'again'?' and Affleck explained the connection."


3) Remember the Titans

8 of 11

    Total Earnings: $114,300,000 (Inflation: $140,996,590.61)

    Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Kip Pardue, Ryan Gosling

    Director: Boaz Yakin

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72 percent

    I remember watching this movie and being blown away by it.  I was young, but I think a lot of other people felt the same way too.  Denzel Washington delivers an amazing performance, the football scenes are eye-opening, and the drama throughout the movie really does bring you back to that scary period in American history. 

    The soundtrack is also a great part of this movie. 

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "Opened with a gross of $20.905m in the USA and stopped September 2000 from being one of the worst months for movies ever."

    "After Boaz Yakin was hired to direct the movie, producer Jerry Bruckheimer learned that Yakin did not know anything about American football. He then arranged for Yakin to attend a football camp, and the director picked up enough information in two weeks to resume full-speed work afterward."

2) Rudy

9 of 11

    Total Earnings: $22,750,363 (Inflation: $33,355,296.50)

    Starring: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty

    Director: David Anspaugh

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79 percent

    I met the real Rudy two years ago when he came to my school, Catholic University, to speak.  He was very impressive and then signed autographs for almost two hours.  Sean Astin, the actor who played him, did a phenomenal job, according to the real Rudy himself.

    I still get the chills when he gets the sack at the end and his teammates carry him off the field.  The fact that it is based on a true story makes it even greater.  The odds were stacked against Rudy throughout his life, but he didn't give up, and kept pushing until he had accomplished his mission of playing for Notre Dame. 

    Two Greats Facts from IMDB:

    "Rudy runs his fingers down the list in a close-up two times. The first time he starts on one name, the second time he starts on another name. The two names he starts his finger on are the actual names of the two players who picked him up and carried him off the field."

    "The football scenes have an added sense of realism because the director never filmed any scenes with a camera on the field. As with a broadcast of a real game, all football scenes were filmed with off-field cameras."

1) Rocky

10 of 11

    Total Earnings: $117,235,247 (Inflation: $436,937,990.38)

    Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

    Director: John G. Avildsen

    Awards: Won three Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing)

    Nominated for 10.

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93 percent

    The budget for Rocky was just $1.1 million and it was filmed in less than a month (28 days)!  It ended up making $225 million worldwide and was the highest grossing film of 1976! 

    This movie is such a cultural icon that a statue of a FAKE person holds a spot in Philly.  This movie not only ignited Stallone's great career, but also many more Rocky movies as well!

    Two Great Facts from IMDB:

    "When shooting the scenes in the meat locker where he punches the slabs of beef, actor Sylvester Stallone punched the meat so hard for so long that he flattened out his knuckles. To this day, when he makes a fist, his knuckles are completely level."

    "Rocky is not the character's actual name. His real name is Robert Balboa—this was seen in a rough script from the second film. He took the nickname from real-life boxer Rocky Marciano."

Sports Talk with Justin and Pat

11 of 11


    Agree, Disagree, or Just Wanna Talk Sports?

    Tune into Sports Talk with Justin and Pat on Saturday from 6pm-8pm

    TO LISTEN: Press Listen Now Between 6-8 On WCUA.CUA.EDU

    CALL IN: 202-319-6106