Sports films follow a familiar script. The underdog team or athlete comes from behind and makes a last-minute shot, goal or play that helps them win the championship. Even though sports movies are very predictable, they keep us on the edge of our seats every time.
Here are the five best sports films of all-time.
This list is obviously debatable, however.
5. The Blind Side (2009)
The Blind Sideshows the emotional side of sports. The film tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless black teen who has drifted in and out of school en route to becoming a professional football player. A rich family—Leigh Ann Tuhoy (Sandra Bullock) and husband Sean (Tim McGraw) take him in and help transform his life.
The family helps Michael get the marks he needs in school to get accepted to a good college. By the end of the film, Michael excels in both his academics and football career.
The Blind Side is a tear-jerker that emphasizes the importance of education, family and mentorship in sports. It is one of my all-time favourites.
4. Space Jam (1993)
Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, Larry Byrd and bugs bunny. Need we say more?Space Jam was a staple film in every household’s VHS collection in the ‘90s. It is crafted perfectly to blend both real-life and cartoon worlds to tell a story that resonates with both children and adults.
After Jordan’s failed baseball career leaves him depressed, he is sucked into the animated world of Loony Tunes, where he rediscovers his love for basketball—ultimately leading to his return to the NBA.
Earning over $230million worldwide, Space Jam is the highest-grossing basketball film of all-time. There has been some talk of Space Jam 2 (starring LeBron James) but I doubt it would be as good as the original.
3. Hoop Dreams (1994)
Hoop Dreams is a revolutionary sports documentary because it shows what sports mean to people of a certain social class and background.
In Hoop Dreams, documentary filmmaker Steve James follows around two Chicago high school basketball players who dream of playing in the NBA.
It’s a great representation of the ups and downs players experience when they try to make it into the professional game.
2. Slap Shot (1977)
You’re not a true hockey fan if you haven’t seen Slap Shot. Slap Shot glorifies everything Don Cherry stands for: fighting, blood, guts and glory.
For a moment, grit and toughness are the only things that matter on the ice for player-coach Paul Newman’s team. The film was released at the perfect time—in the 1970s when the Philadelphia Flyers (formerly named the broad-street bullies) won Stanley Cups by beating the living c*** out of teams.
Slap Shot is a movie for the ultimate old-time hockey fan, and it is probably the greatest hockey film ever made.
1. Rocky (1976)
No sports film has had as many sequels as Rocky.
The films after the original were good, but Rocky I will always be the best.
In Rocky I, we meet a slightly-dimwitted amateur boxer (Sylvester Stallone) who has a chance to compete for the heavyweight championship. The protagonist suffers major setbacks along the way, but ultimately ends up in the heavyweight final against favourite Apollo Creed (Carl Whethers).
The film’s ending is disappointing. Rocky loses to Creed; however, the ending reveals that the story of Rocky is just beginning, and it sets up the films to come nicely.
Rocky is emotional, suspenseful and filled with competitive spirit. It is the ultimate underdog sports story, and that’s part of the reason why it is the greatest sports film, ever.