Sports movies are an interesting breed, often polarising opinion and choosing to go one of three routes: emotionally endearing, underdog victory or simply comedic. We have tried to look past all that in coming up with our favourite all time top 5 sports movies, but with hundreds to choose from, it has not been easy!

Top 5 Sports Films

In no particular order…

Rocky (I-IV)

We’ve had to chuck all of the Rocky movies in together (barring the rubbish fifth and slightly less rubbish sixth outing), in order to keep this list to 5, or else it could well have turned into a list of Rocky movies. Eye of the Tiger, training montages, Mickey, Adrian, Bubkiss the dog, the little turtles, Paulie, his robot, Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago. “You’re gonna eat lightning and crap thunder.” Amazing.

Underdog, emotionally endearing and, dare we say it, a touch comedic, Rocky has everything you could ever want in a film franchise. Sylvester Stalone IS Rocky, and will always be Rocky. From the absolutely amazing ending to the first film, to the even better ending in the second, the brutality of the third and the politically poignant ending of the fourth, Rocky might not always come out on top, but it’s his journey to the final bell that keeps you hooked. Actually, the rest of the list will have to wait whilst we go have us a little Rocky marathon.

White Men Can’t Jump

Do you know what I say to my Mrs when she tells me she’s thirsty? I tell her that “I, too, have a dry mouth”, and that we are connecting on shared ‘understanding of dry mouthdness’. Might not go down that well, but I can’t help myself. White Men Can’t Jump was, and still is, absolutely amazing. The acting of Wesley Snipes alongside Woody Harrelson remains one of the best onscreen pairings, particularly the way it plays both on and off the court. They don’t shy away from tackling stereotypes, race issues and the socio-economic hardships of its LA setting. You don’t get caught up in wanting them to win, you simply want to enjoy every dunking second. It is such an iconic basketball movie that Nike released 2 special Hyperize Baskeball shoes in ‘Billy Hoyle’ and ‘Sidney Deane’ editions.


Any Given Sunday

Rumour has it, that if this list didn’t include Any Given Sunday, there would be riots on the streets. Naturally, we were always going to include it regardless of the threats we received, since it is quite possibly the best sporting film ever made. Even if it isn’t, we are hard pressed to find a more motivational and inspirational speech than the one delivered by Al Pacino’s middle aged Head Coach, Tony D. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, heard it, or read it by now, then you’re missing out. Life is about inches. We can agree with that, and its not even a dick joke. Lets not forget the ensemble cast of superstar names such as Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Jaime Foxx, Aaron Eckhart, Mathew Modine and LL Cool J.


The Hustler

Perhaps not the first film that springs to mind when you think about the best of them, especially since it’s mostly about shooting pool. We’ll leave the debate about whether or not it is actually even a sport at the door for now, and focus on the magnificent performances, the exploration of winning, losing, money and relationships, not to mention the excellent cue-manship and the crippling addiction that gambling can be (it doesn’t always pay folks). To say the performances were magnificent feels a bit like an understatement, given all three leads were Oscar nominated, and the picture itself won an Oscar for the photography. Paul Newman’s method approach to acting meant he spent days on end circling the table, learning to cue and sink balls like a real shark, and it paid off no end in what is truly a grand achievement. Fun fact: Newman actually challenged his on screen rival to a pool game for $50, Gleeson potted all 15 balls after Newman’s break, and Newman paid up with 5000 pennies.


Raging Bull

What would a sporting movie list be without Raging Bull? Celebrated as a fantastic movie in its own right, the biopic of Jake LaMotta, based on his own autobiography and directed by Martin Scorsese, is both compelling and, at times, awkward and painful viewing. It is almost impossible to sing enough of the praises that Raging Bull really deserves with so very few words to play with (see, I just wasted more there). It is truly one of the greatest films ever made. The excessive violence, particularly outside of the ring, is particularly painful to watch, but if anything, it seems like the character is dialled back slightly for the screen – De Niro fully deserved his Oscar. Its a story of victory, defeat, violence and a disturbing man that has to be on everybody’s list of movie’s to see before they die.

best-sports films-raging-bull

Those are our top 5, and to be fair, are unlikely to be anyone else’s as we all had different ones! Here are some of the others we considered adding to this list, do you reckon any deserve promotion/relegation?

Happy Gilmore, Bull Durham, Goon, Slapshot, Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans, Invincible, Invictus, Bend it Like Beckham, Space Jam, Dodgeball, Caddyshack, Pumping Iron, Dog Town vs Z Boys, Ali, Rollerball, Murderball, Moneyball, King Pin, The Karate Kid, Escape to Victory, Friday Night Lights, The Legend of Baggar Vance, Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, Field of Dreams and finally, Baseketball…

Which is your favourite Sports Film of all time?

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