Film Stripes: Top 5 Referee and Umpire Movie Characters

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Film Stripes: Top 5 Referee and Umpire Movie Characters
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

From the Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers of 1932 to Brad Pitt and Bennett Miller's Moneyball of 2011, American cinema has long been intertwined with the grand spectacle of sports.

From the 1976 make-believe thriller Two-Minute Warning to the reality-based Miracle on Ice (1981), sports have alternatively played supporting and feature roles in the movies.

Sports have become such a dramatic and comedic spectacle, the American Film Institute defined "sports" as its own genre, going so far as to rank the best 10 sports films of all time—in case you're wondering, Raging Bull edged out Rocky for the top spot.

Sports films are occasional award winners—Chariots of Fire and Rocky for instance. 1959 Best Picture Ben-Hur is also perhaps most famously known for its climactic chariot scene.

In most films, you have protagonists, deuteragonists—which may be an antagonist or sidekick—and tritagonists.

Famous sports-related protagonists include the aforementioned Rocky Balboa, title character Jerry Maguire, Morris Buttermaker (The Bad News Bears) and even the animated Lightning McQueen (Cars and Cars 2).

Balboa is an athlete, Maguire is an agent, Buttermaker is a coach and McQueen, well, is a race car.

Yet behind these iconic characters lie the men in stripes or coats—referees and umpires—whose calls can make or break a scene.

For those wondering, no, NFL referee Ed Hochuli was never much of a movie star—unless you count a two-line gig on The Cleveland Show.

So follow along, as we reveal the best referees and umpires tever o grace the silver screen.

 

A brief disclaimer: You won't find any Adam Sandler movies here. He seems to have an unhealthy fascination with referees perpetrating violence (Eight Crazy Nights) and referees being the victims of violence (The Longest Yard).

That's just not acceptable, much less amusing.

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