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The Best Sports Movies of All Time

The Best Sports Movies of All Time

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Raging Bull (1980)

Robert DeNiro stars as washed-up boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus: a haunting tale of self-destruction that ranks not just among the greatest sports films of all time, but the greatest films of all time, period.

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The Sandlot (1993)

No movie better captures childhood summers spent playing baseball than The Sandlot, a classic about days split between the diamond, the pool, and the local fair—all in the company of your pals. Never seen it? You’re killing me, Smalls!

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The Hustler (1961)

Paul Newman is a hotshot pool shark looking to defeat Minnesota Fats—the greatest billiards player of them all—in this classic exploration of ambition. But to get the glory, he’ll have to give up everything.

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Caddyshack (1980)

Bill Murray. Chevy Chase. Rodney Dangerfield. A dancing gopher. The hilarious snobs-versus-slobs send-up of country club culture still has us reciting its quotes more than 40 years after its release. So it’s got that going for it…which is nice. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na.

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Rudy (1993)

Too small to play for the Fighting Irish? Not if you have grit, as this flick, based on the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, taught us.

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Hoop Dreams (1994)

Considered by some to be one of the best documentaries ever made, this study of race, class, and education in America follows two Chicago teens as they strive to make their dreams of playing professional basketball a reality.

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Rocky (1976)

The film that launched the career of Sylvester Stallone, this Best Picture winner was about way more than boxing. It was about nothing less than the American dream.

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Remember the Titans (2000)

Based on a true story, this modern classic follows coach Herman Boone as he integrates the TC Williams High School football team in 1971 Virginia. Sing it with me: “We are the Titans…The mighty, mighty Titans.”

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Miracle (2004)

Great movies are born from great stories. And if you don’t feel patriotic emotion swell when Herb Brooks’ locker room scene comes on, are you even a hockey fan? Now go out there and watch it again.

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A League of Their Own (1992)

The late, great Penny Marshall taught us that “there’s no crying in baseball”—no matter who’s playing it.

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Friday Night Lights (2004)

High school football. West Texas. Need we say more?

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Major League (1989)

“Wild Thing” is peak Charlie Sheen, and Major League is peak ’80s sports comedy. It will also sneak up on you as surprisingly emotional.

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Hoosiers (1986)

The only thing more popular than high school football in Texas? High school basketball in Indiana.

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Field of Dreams (1989)

“If you build it, he will come.” Kevin Costner stars in this iconic film about the ghosts of baseball legends. To honor the film’s legacy, Major League Baseball started the “Field of Dreams Game” in 2021, an annual match-up played in the same location as the film.

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The Wrestler (2008)

Mickey Rourke is an “old, broken down piece of meat” in this wrenching drama as the titular character whose only refuge from a chaotic personal life is the ring.

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The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Even if you’ve never actually seen this iconic love letter to the late Lou Gehrig, you know its closing line by heart: “Today,” Gary Cooper’s Gehrig tells a crowd as he retires due to the ALS that would end his life, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

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Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Clint Eastwood’s boxing flick earned the Oscar for Best Picture, and for good reason: the actor-director’s turn as a trainer looking to turn Hilary Swank’s gifted amateur into a pro is as moving and impactful as a punch in the face.

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Slap Shot (1977)

Paul Newman makes his second appearance on this list, this time for a decidedly less serious affair. The actor stars as the player-coach for the Chiefs, who decides to play up the…rougher…aspects of hockey to bring his team some newfound popularity.

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Bull Durham (1988)

Kevin Costner stars as philosophizing journeyman catcher Crash Davis, who finds himself tasked with getting a promising, but undisciplined, minor league pitcher (Tim Robbins) ready for the big leagues. The trouble? They’re both into Susan Sarandon.

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Tin Cup (1996)

Okay, so it’s basically Bull Durham, but for golf. Costner is nevertheless winning as a blustery driving range pro who—with the help of his loyal caddy, played by Cheech Marin—endeavors to defeat a smug PGA pro in an effort to woo the psychologist they’re both in love with.

 

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