Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time

By , Audacy

Of all the subjects about which movies can be made, sports is possibly the most fraught. Cliches abound. The chances of swinging and missing (pun intended) are high.

That said, cinematic history is chock full of exemplary sports films.

With that in mind, here are the greatest sports movies of all-time.

T10. Bull Durham (1988)

Kevin Costner as minor league catcher Crash Davis is an all-time great baseball character. (Costner has another iconic sports-movie turn in Field of Dreams.)

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, meanwhile, are superlative supporting players in this love letter to America’s Pastime.

Hit ‘em where they ain’t, indeed.

T10. The Natural (1984)

Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) has a preternatural gift for baseball.

From the eternally hummable score (“da, da, da, da, dum, dum…”) to the performances to the overall vibe, this might be the Platonic ideal of a sports movie.

9. The Wrestler (2008)

Mickey Rourke turns in a tour de force performance as a professional wrestler staring down the barrel of middle age and personal decline.

The acting (by Rourke and Marisa Tomei as his weary love interest) is first-rate. And the screenplay gets to the heart of what makes fading athletes such intriguing, impactful, relatable characters.

8. Rudy (1993)

Rudy endures because of, not in spite of, its unapologetic sentimentality.

Never mind that players on the Notre Dame football team (including quarterback Joe Montana) have disputed the veracity of some of the film’s most famous scenes.

Focus on the movie’s spirit and heart, because it boasts plenty of both.

7. Caddyshack (1980)

Caddyshack is a sports movie in the loosest sense. Really, it’s a movie in the loosest sense.

The best moments have little to do with the plot and involve the exploits of Saturday Night Live alums Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, who have been let loose in all their improvisational splendor.

Be the ball, Danny. Be the ball.

6. Murderball (2005)

Overcoming adversity. Succeeding against the odds. Those may sound like well-worn sports-movie tropes.

But they resonate at a different level when applied to a collection of parapalegic rugby players who tackle the game with unflinching, inspirational vigor.

Will the American or Candian wheelchair team prevail? Whomever you’re rooting for, you’ll be riveted.

5. Slap Shot (1977)

Paul Newman portrays a lovable, growling coach in this ode to sticks, pucks and all things hockey.

It captures the grittiness of the ‘70s and the bone-crunching appeal of the sport in one frigid, fabulous package.

4. A League of Their Own (1992)

Tom Hanks gets the best lines (“There’s no crying in baseball!”) as the coach of the Rockford Peaches.

But Gina Davis and the other actresses who portray the members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League steal the show.

Never again will playing like a girl be a pejorative.

3. Rocky (1976)

Sylvester Stallone’s magnum opus set the tone for every subsequent underdog story.

Hum the theme song. Picture the titular fighter ascending the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Turn your mouth sideways and say it with us, “Aaaadriiiian!”

2. Hoop Dreams (1994)

This probing documentary follows the pursuits of two Chicago hoopsters as they attempt to climb to the pinnacle of their sport.

Even next to Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebery named it the best flick of ‘94.

Settle in for the 171-minute runtime and enjoy the ride.

1. Raging Bull (1980)

Robert De Niro turns in a performance for the ages as boxer Jake LaMatta in director Martin Scorsese’s searing masterpiece.

It’s a rare based-on-a-true story film that surpasses reality with its raw, unflinching artistry.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mitchell Leff, Getty Images