25 Best Fight Scenes in Sports Movie History
A good fight scene makes or breaks a sports film. Sometimes the scene is expected and serves as the climax of the movie (Rocky, The Karate Kid), while others are downright hilarious (Major League II).
Either way, a fight is always fun to watch especially when you include your favorite sport or a loveable character beating the odds.
Here are the top 25 fight scenes in sports movie history.
25. "Semi-Pro" TV Timeout Fight
Go to :23 seconds.
Jackie Moon might be the worst influence on basketball since its creation, but he is also a smart businessman.
Trying to get the Flint Tropics into the NBA, he makes sure that there is no fighting during nationally televised broadcasts. But the second the cameras stop rolling, it's hitting time.
Not a great sports film but one with a comically perfect fight scene.
This is another fight you will have to take my word for because there is no footage of this on the Internet.
In a hostile crowd, the Hickory Hoosiers took exception from some hard playing by their opponents. A fight broke out and both teams had to return to the locker room.
The Hoosiers were showered with garbage. This was not a pretty scene in a movie that had so many good lines and moments.
23. "Blades of Glory" Medal Ceremony
The medal ceremony that netted Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy both gold medals turned ugly when a fight broke out between the competitive skating rivals.
This is the only context that I think most sports fans would watch a figure skating movies. The movie only gets crazier when the men have to dance together (clip featured above).
Trust me, it’s worth the watch.
22. "Caddy Shack"
Unfortunately, there is no video for this memorable scene, but when Judge Smails catches Danny, his caddy, and Lacey, his niece, in his bed, he freaks out and chases Danny out with a golf club.
Just like his golf game, the judge misses his target completely and destroys the entire room.
Though there is no video evidence, so don’t be lazy and go watch the movie. If you haven’t seen it already, you have bigger problems.
21. "Cool Runnings" Bar Fight
“I see pride. I see power. I see a bad ass motha, who don’t take no crap, off nobody.”
Now say this 10 times and tell me you don’t want to get into a of fight.
Despite the cardigan sweaters, Junior finally stood up to the East German guy who didn’t look too tough from the get-go.
This led to a beer bottle-smashing brawl that put it over the top as the best bobsledding movie of all time.
20. "Talladega Nights" Bar Fight
Ricky Bobby is a true American hero. Not only did he bring us into the world of NASCAR and show us how incredible it is, but he would not say, “I love crepes” despite the threat of a broken arm.
Ricky was right. By him saying, “I love really thin pancakes,” it really means crepes!
Good movie with some great memorable lines and nice one-sided fight to boot.
19."Rocky IV" Apollo V. Drago
Go to 4:00.
Yes, two fights from the same movie have made the list.
This was supposed to be an exhibition that went terribly wrong. Drago has only one level: kill level.
Best part of the entire scene, movie and potentially the series is Drago’s response of, “You will lose.”
Despite its now comical look, it was the most important moment of the movie. This leads to the Rocky training montage in the mountains and the eventual climax between Rocky and Drago.
18. "Major League II" Fighting Each Other
Nobody has ever mistaken the Cleveland Indians of the movie Major League for a group of hard working, straight edge winners. These guys did it their own way, for better or for worse.
This scene is where they hit rock bottom. It was a culmination of a terrible season, whining stars and Charlie Sheen before he went off the deep end.
Best part of the fight is when Indian’s mascot “Slider” was knocked out cold. That and Harry Doyle’s commentary of course.
17. "The Replacements" Bar Fight
Now that the lockout is over, we do not have to think about the prospect of guys like Shane Falco taking over the game.
We also now need to think about the plausibility of the movie. Why were players able to go back and forth in the lockout? Sorry, I tend to get sidetracked.
This was an utter beat down by the replacements. Everybody but Clifford Franklin got a good hit in and showed the NFL players why they were just huge wimps in the first place.
Just one more thing. Imagine if Pacman Jones was involved in a fight like the one in this movie. It would have been baaaaaad.
The best types of fights are the ones that look fake, and occur as a source of revenge for the hero. In this instance, Kurt Sloane is able to avenge the injuries sustained to his brother with a good old American beat down.
Sloane makes it seem easy to go to another country and find a man that will train him quickly in an ancient fighting technique that takes others years to learn.
That being said, Sloane destroys his opponent, with muscles that only the '80s could produce.
Hammerhead Hagan was the ninth fighter that Honey Roy Palmer needed to face to win the bet between two con artists.
After taking a severe beating and falling to the ground, Caine, Palmer’s manager, tries to throw in the towel. Palmer, in a overly dramatic act, catches the towel and throws it back at Caine.
Of course he goes on to win the fight and through a series of convoluted acts, he and Caine get the best of the scam. The story is better than the acting, but the fight was top notch.
14. "Youngblood" Gets Revenge
When Carl Racki took out Derek Sutton, you knew that Youngblood was going to have to avenge the loss of his friend and mentor.
In all of its awkward '80s style, its great seeing the game stop while Youngblood comes over to his coach and tell him that he is not coming out of the game.
In today’s NHL, he would have been fined, suspended and made out to be a villain.
Best part of the clip: is when the fight breaks out, and both men use their sticks as weapons. What in the world is that?
13. "Bad News Bears"
Go to 8:30.
When Amanda Whurlitzer gets spiked covering home plate, the whole Bears team takes exception and starts a benches clearing brawl between them and the rival Yankees.
It was justified considering going spikes up is a cardinal sin in baseball, especially in little league.
Of course the movie has the overly obsessive baseball dad who think everything hangs in the balance depending on whether or not the team wins.
For just a little while, after the movie is over, you feel good about baseball.
When you are taking advantage of an Amish man for his bowling skills, the logic in the plot line generally goes out the window.
The same can be said for the beat down that Claudia put on Roy Munson during their famous altercation in the parking lot. She confronted him about skipping out and going to Reno, whereafter she would "give him the business."
This is an unorthodox fight in reference to sports movies, but it is one of the funniest.
11. Happy Gilmore vs Bob Barker
In the most unlikely of fights, Bob Barker of all people, fought Happy Gilmore in an all out brawl. In Gilmore’s defense, the old man started it with his trash talking.
For a guy that is supposed to be a former hockey player, he puts up a rather poor performance against a man who is twice his age.
I think we would have all liked to see Barker talk to the contestants on the show, like he did to Gilmore, when they made an outlandish bid on the dinette set.
10. "Best of the Best"
Another movie that is based on avenging the death of a brother, Tommy Lee must fight Dae Han in a final match that means more than just a medal.
The best part of the scene is that Lee can get ultimate revenge by killing the very wounded Han and takiing the gold medal.
He decides to do neither.
9. "The Karate Kid"
This is the classic punk kid gets turned into karate champion under the tutelage of the greatest sensei movie.
The final scene is the best because Daniel is deliberately hurt and still goes out there and finds a way to win. From the look of the injury, he either had a torn ACL, MCL, PCL,or a broken leg.
For a young guy to come back and fight puts him in the Willis Reed category.
Of course he prevails because in the '80s, the good guys always won.
8. "Rocky IV" Balboa vs Drago
This had the makings for an all-time great movie scene. The subplot was thick.
In one corner you had Rocky Balboa, avenging the death of his close friend Appollo Creed. In the other corner was Ivan Drago, a man who was so juiced on steroids, that his muscles were growing muscles.
The fight was an absolute slugfest that caused both men to absorb huge punches. In reality, no boxer could take the beating that these two handed out and survive a majority of the fight.
In the end, of course, Rocky prevailed.
A little known fact about the fight, it ended the Cold War and took down the Berlin Wall. This is an unconfirmed theory that all historians need to consider.
7." Cinderella Man"
The context to the fight might be the most important of any of these fights because it is based off a true story. Down and out boxer James Braddock is fighting during a time when it was hard to find a job.
He took this inspiration all the way to the heavyweight championship of the world, where he defeated Max Baer against all odds.
The scene is made best by the shots of his family who can only listen on the radio, hoping that their husband and father make it out alive.
6. "Green Street Hooligans" Final Fight
This is a very gruesome scene, so I’m warning anyone who doesn’t like too much blood to look away.
All right now that we got rid of our boys, I’ll continue for the men.
The Green Street Elite faced off against the Milwall hooligans in a final battle to settle the score. There is a deep plot that explains why these two rivals are having an all out brawl, and for that, I refer you to the Wikipedia page of the movie.
Elijah Wood is a tough guy for once in his life in this compelling look into English football hooliganism. I recommend the movie, but for now, enjoy this incredible fight.
5. "Rocky III" Final Fight
Clubber Lang was the reason for the death of Rocky’s trainer and the bruises left all over his body after their first bout.
This would change in Balboa-Lang part II. Lang was destroying Rocky while he used a rope a dope technique with a Sugar Ray Leonard taunting style.
This eventually led to an onslaught by Rocky that brought Lang to the mat and ended the fight.
In typical Rocky style, he was patient and then beat his opponent up with an unrealistic amount of power punches connecting straight to the face and body.
4. "Raging Bull" La Motta vs Janiro
This is the best fight in the movie, because it shows La Motta’s true spirit. As his opponent falls, he picks him back up and mercilessly beats him to a pulp.
Once Janiro falls, La Motta walks back to his corner, looks around and gives the, “Who is next?” look to everyone. It showed his dominance, boxing ability and most importantly, his cocky attitude.
Great movie with a lot of great fights with this one standing out.
3. Ali vs. Liston
This was not the jumble in the jungle or the thrilla in Manila. This was Ali’s first title fight against Sonny Liston, for the heavyweight championship of the world.
Leading up to the fight there was a ton of trash talk and Ali antics that made Liston want to destroy him. The fight was intriguing on many levels and ended with an Ali victory, despite controversy that Liston put something in Ali’s eyes.
The cinematography is wonderfully done, and the voice of Howard Cosell gives it the perfect touch.
2. "Slapshot" Pregame Fight
We need more guys like the Hanson brothers. One dirty look during a pre-game warmup, and a brawl ensues.
The best part is when the announcer points out that there are no referees to stop the fight because the game has yet to start.
Everyone took the idea of “letting them know you’re there” a bit too seriously. Regardless, this is a hilariously great sports movie fight.
In an unexpectedly incredible fight that went the distance, Rocky and Appollo took punishment that neither had experienced throughout their careers.
It was a test of wills and a culmination of the hard work that went into Rocky’s trainging. Creed never thought the match would last all 15 rounds, and though he was the eventual champion, he declared to Rocky that there would be no rematch.
One of the best movies of all time has a fitting ending in the original Rocky movie.