The Best Sports Movies You've Never Seen
Everyone's cried at the end of "Remember the Titans." Everyone's laughed along with the high jinks in "Slapshot."
But what about those sports movies that didn't garner all the attention? The ones that flew under the radar but are great nonetheless?
Here are 10 of the best sports movies you've never seen.
Goal! The Dream Begins
It took $10 million to make. It earned just $4 million.
"Goal! The Dream Begins" is a true underdog story about a teen in the barrios of Los Angeles who dreams of becoming a professional footballer more than 6,000 miles from home.
The supporting cast is impressive: Tony Plana ("Ugly Betty"), Anna Friel ("Pushing Daisies") and Alessandro Nivola ("Junebug").
Give this movie a try. It's sure to bring the waterworks.
Needless to say, rugby isn't often depicted in films.
But this past year, "Invictus" brought to the big screen Nelson Mandela and his goal to unite South Africa through its rugby team at the 1995 World Cup.
In theaters, the film made just $37 million. Matt Damon earned an Oscar nod. So did Morgan Freeman.
If you miss this year's FIFA World Cup and the vuvuzelas, watch this movie and see how far the country has come since the mid 1990s.
And witness the ability of sports to bring about change.
Million Dollar Baby
"Million Dollar Baby" first opened to just eight theaters across the United States in 2004. During its run, the film made $100 million and won four Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year.
On imdb.com's top-250 list, Hilary Swank's portrayal of a boxer sits at No. 148.
Actor-director Clint Eastwood's depiction of Swank's coach is touching. Morgan Freeman also brings to life a great supporting role.
If you haven't seen the movie yet, get a move on before someone spoils it via a pop culture reference (see "The Office" episode)!
This was Mickey Rourke's return to Hollywood. Many believed that this was his story: a washed-up character who resurrects his career.
"The Wrestler" made just $26 million in 2008, but director Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream") captured Oscar-worthy performances from Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.
By the end of the film, it's hard not to root for Randy "The Ram" Robinson.
Oh, and did I mention Bruce Springsteen provides the title song for the soundtrack?
Bend It Like Beckham
Though it's somewhat of an indie classic and many now know of the film, "Bend It Like Beckham" is a movie that every sports fan must see.
It earned $32 million in theaters and stole the hearts of many, including girls who wanted to play soccer all over the world.
This role made Keira Knightley into one of Hollywood's most sought after actresses. Less than a year later she would sign on with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.
There's romance, soccer and tons of culture to boot around.
It's hard to bet against the 2000s being Russell Crowe's decade. He earned Oscar nominations for "The Insider," "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind."
He also put out the boxer film "Cinderella Man" in 2005.
It earned just $61 million, while it took $88 million to make.
Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti also starred in the film about James J. Braddock, the boxer who hit rock bottom and brought himself back up during the Great Depression.
This tale is a tear-jerker, and was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Giamatti as Braddock's coach.
It's sad to think that younger generations know Paul Newman as the "salad dressing guy."
In the 1961 film "The Hustler," Newman plays Eddie Felson, an up-and-coming pool player who wants to beat Minnesota Fats, played by the legendary Jackie Gleason.
On imdb's top-250 list, this comes in at No. 191.
It received nine Oscar nominations and won two of them.
The acting is outstanding as Newman, Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie each garnered a nod.
Billiards never looked so good.
Forget about Michael Moore's documentaries.
In "Murderball," a group of men are followed as they compete in quad rugby between the 2002 games in Sweden and the 2004 Athens games.
Docs often go unseen and instead make their marks with their messages and awards.
"Murderball" is no exception as it made $1.5 million in 2005 and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary, Features.
Long before the Tour de France became popular because of Lance Armstrong, there was the film "Breaking Away."
When it came out in 1979, it made just $314,000.
A young Dennis Quaid plays one of a group of friends out of high school and wondering what to do with their lives.
Dennis Christopher is the protagonist, who is obsessed with the Italian bicycling team and pretends to be from the country when he woos a college girl.
This well-told tale easily captured a generation.
Coach Don Haskins went on the road to recruit the best players in the nation, regardless of their color, in the mid-1960s.
Half a century later, his and the Texas Western Miners' story came to life on the big screen when they reached the national title game against the Kentucky Wildcats.
A heavier Josh Lucas played Haskins. Jerry Bruckheimer produced the film and Walt Disney Pictures released it.
Seems like a winning formula to me. Sadly, it made just $42 million at the box office.