Top Ten Good American Football Movies

Good Football Movies

The Top Ten

There is nothing like a good movie and for football fans and there is nothing like a good football movie to help fill in the long months between seasons. It is not surprising that Hollywood has looked to the game of football for all kinds of inspiration. Just go to any video store and you will see there is no shortage of gridiron movies on the shelves. Here you will find a review of some of my favorite all time best movies about the gridiron along with video clips and where you can buy your own copy so that like me you can watch these classic movies over and over again.

I have put together a list of my favorite ten favorite football movies from over the years. Keep in mind that this list is totally subjective as my choices may be totally uplifting to one and completely mind numbing to another. But this is my Hub and I get to call the shots here ;)

Top-Ten-American-Football-Movies
Top-Ten-American-Football-Movies
Good Football Movies  - The Waterboy
Good Football Movies - The Waterboy
Adan Sandler  in the football movie The Waterboy
Adan Sandler in the football movie The Waterboy

Film Clip of the Waterboy

Number 10

The Waterboy

Good Football Movie

The Waterboy is one of my favorite football movies that stars Adam Sandler. This is a check your brain at the door movie, but it is still very funny. Sandler plays Bobby Boucher a dim-witted Mama’s boy who joins a college football team when it is realized that he has the talent to play linebacker simply by channeling all his rage toward the opponent. I love Adam Sandler no matter what he does so is it incredibly silly, it sure is but it is still fun to watch.

Buy "The WaterBoy" OnLine

North Dallas Forty - Good movie about football
North Dallas Forty - Good movie about football
Nick Nolte in the football movie North Dallas Forty
Nick Nolte in the football movie North Dallas Forty
"North Dallas Forty" is one of several films that make the 1970s the heyday for football movies. Paramount Pictures
"North Dallas Forty" is one of several films that make the 1970s the heyday for football movies. Paramount Pictures

Video film Clip of North Dallas Forty

Number 9

North Dallas Forty

Football Movie

(1979) From the novel of the same name by former player Peter Gent this movie is loosely based on the NFL Dallas Cowboys of the1970's. There is some good game footage and locker room scenes that get close to whats ots like in the real locker room. Starring Nick Nolte as Phillip Elliott who is an aging wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls who still delivers on the field despite all his past injuries and Mac Davis as Seth Maxwell as the quarterback who thinks he's seen it all. This semi-fictional tale shows the dark side of football and how the greedy owners take a win at all cost approach and toss the players aside when they are no longer useful.

"We're not the team. You're the team. We're only the equipment - like the jockstraps and the helmets."

Heaven Can Wait - Great Football Movie of all time
Heaven Can Wait - Great Football Movie of all time
Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait
Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait

Can Heaven Wait

Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in the football movie Heaven Can Wait
Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in the football movie Heaven Can Wait

Number 8

Heaven Can Wait

Classic Good Football Movie

A remake of 1941's classic movie, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." this all time great features writer director Warren Beatty as the golden boy L.A. Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton , who is killed ahead of his time in a car accident and is summoned to heaven. When archangel Mr. Jordan played by James Mason realizes the mistake, Joe is returned to Earth but it's in the body of a wealthy industrialist, Leo Farnsworth who's about to be murdered by his unfaithful wife Julia played by Dyan Cannon and and her lover, Farnsworth's personal secretary is Tony Abbott played by Charles Grodin.

You may have to take a couple of leaps of faith in order to follow the somewhat complicated plot in this really good football movie. Most of the action of the football scenes are not all that realistic but watching Joe who is not going to let a little thing like murder prevent him from playing in the Super Bowl--new body or not is what makes the movie great. Add a great romance between Julie Christie (on my own top ten lists of great chick flicks) and football together and you have a winner on all counts. This movie is not to be confused with the 1943 film of the same name.

Heaven Can Wait Movie Trailer

Buy "Heaven Can Wait"

Greatest Inspirational Football Movie - Brians Song
Greatest Inspirational Football Movie - Brians Song

I Love Brian Piccolo video clip from Brian's Song

The Chicago Bears

Billy Dee Williams and James Caan in Brians Song
Billy Dee Williams and James Caan in Brians Song
Brians Song
Brians Song

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Number 7

 Brians Song

Great Football Movie

Football is an emotional game, and it often has been said that if a movie can make you laugh, cry or inspired, then it will be successful. And so this good football movie begins with a voiceover by actor Jack Warden who plays Bears legend George “Papa Bear” Halas.

“Ernest Hemingway said that ‘Every true story ends in death.’ Well, this is a true story.”

Favorite Football Movie

Brians Song is based on the true story of popular NFL Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo played by James Caan, who died of cancer at 26, and the unique friendship he developed with teammate and future Hall of Famer running back Gale Sayers played by Billy Dee Williams. They were the first interracial roommates in the history of the NFL. They began their relationship as rivals competing for the team’s Chicago Bears starting running back position when they arrived at their first training camp in 1965. Piccolo spent that season on the practice squad, while Sayers went on to arguably the greatest rookie season in NFL history. Still, they eventually formed a bond that transcended race, competition and any other obstacle that threatened to come between them – even a terminal illness. It is a true look at the real bond that can form between team mates and a very emotional look at the way a personal tragedy can shape an entire team. This football movie is a guarantee that even the hardest of men will find themselves getting misty by the end.

Jerry Maguire - Best Romantic Football Movie
Jerry Maguire - Best Romantic Football Movie

Pics from Brians Song

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Brians Song picture courtesy Tri Star
Brians Song picture courtesy Tri Star
Brians Song picture courtesy Tri Star

Video Clip - Jerry Maguire "show me the money"

Number 6

Jerry Maguire

Romantic Football Movie

Tom Cruise in this 1986 drama is funny and smart. Its about backstabbing and all that goes into a successful career off the field and what goes on between an agent and a football player. This movie is the whole package and that is proven in the fact that it is not often that you find threelines from the same movie that crept into our culture in a most defining way. When Tom Cruise returns to make up with Renee Zellweger with a line that every woman wants to hear, "You complete me" and she tells him "You had me at hello" they both give voice to lines that will likely repeat itself for all eternity. And then when Cuba Gooding Jr. celebrates his new contract by shouting "Show me the money" he ushers in a rally cry for all players and agents to cash in on sudden and well deserved fame.
You cant forget that fateful night, he puts his thoughts to paper and crafts a lengthy "mission statement" where he believes he and his fellow agents should take fewer clients, give more personal attention and lobby for their client's health and not just their pay. In short order, Jerry will find himself out of a job with one remaining client, Rob Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), dumped by his fiancé and left with a lone staff member, Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger). Dorothy believes in Jerry and his new "mission statement" and quickly falls in love with the emotionally wounded man.

A football movie that is a classic and so good that it warranted two video clips to remind you of how great this film is.

"You Complete Me" Cause "You Had Me At Hello"

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Friday Night Lights - Best Football Movie
Friday Night Lights - Best Football Movie

Hope Comes Alive

Friday Night Lights - Best Inspiring Football Movie
Friday Night Lights - Best Inspiring Football Movie

Friday Night Lights 2004

Number 5

Friday Night Lights

Football Movie turned TV Series

"Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know you didn't let them down. I want you to put each other in your hearts forever--because forever is about to happen. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, with love and joy in your heart? If you can do that, then you're perfect." Those are the words of Coach Gary Gaines.

1959 the first year that the Panthers, Odessa, Texas "boys in black", established themselves as the most successful football program, not only in Texas, but in the entire country. The movie takes us to the the last days of summer of 1988, where the Permian High School Panthers begin the season with one thing on their minds--winning their fifth straight championship in their thirty-year team history. It is based on the best-selling book by H.G. Bissinger, Peter Berg's gritty, powerful drama that tells the true story of a small Texas town in which high school football is the only thing that matters.


Friday Nights Lights Trailer

The Longest Yard
The Longest Yard
Best football movie - The Longest Yard starring Burt Reynolds
Best football movie - The Longest Yard starring Burt Reynolds

Number 4

The Longest Yard

Football at its Best in Movies

In Robert Aldrich's crowd-pleasing 1974 classic, The Longest yard stars Burt Reynolds as convict Paul Crewe, a former football player who is doing time for drunkenness and car theft in a prison controlled by two authoritarian sports fanatics, warden Hazen played by Eddie Albert and captain Knauer played by Ed Lauter. When Crewe sees that the guards have a top-notch football team, he takes it upon himself to form a squad with his fellow inmates.

As the prisoners come together, reved up by the shot at challenging the guards, they begin to come together with a sense of purpose and solidarity and of course the warden Hazen doesn't like it. With the Penitentiary Bowl approaching, Hazen pressures Crewe to throw the big game. Crewe must choose between his own freedom and supporting the newfound dignity of his convict teammates.

Paul Crewe: We're gettin' up a football game against the guards. Wondered if maybe you and some of your buddies here would like to join in on the fun.
Samson: With the guards?
Paul Crewe: Uh huh.
Samson: Sure, I'd like that

A remake of this classic football movie with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock came out in 2005 with Burt Reynolds in a well deserved cameo.

Good Football Movie - All the Right Moves
Good Football Movie - All the Right Moves
All the Right Moves - Top Ten Best Football Movies
All the Right Moves - Top Ten Best Football Movies

Tom Cruise & Lea Thompson

All the Right Moves - Movie about the game of football with Tom Cruise
All the Right Moves - Movie about the game of football with Tom Cruise

Number 3

All the Right Moves

Football Movie

This is a story of courage. And in it Tom Cruise plays a mill-town football star determined to escape the same traps that ensnared his parents. And he shows us All the right moves to do it.

Craig T. Nelson, in a terrific villain role, is the coach who thinks thinks Stef has a "bad attitude." and so he takes revenge out on Cruise's ambitions that drift a little too close to home.

One could argue that most films about high school football players usually fall into one of two categories: glossy jock romance or locker-room sex farce. This one takes us to both places and scores both as decent character study and decidedly unsentimental With a great theme song by Jennifer Warnes-Chris Thompson and Lea Thompson who shows him how the love of a good woman can keep him from falling into the slough of his family's steelworker tradition.


Video Clip from All the Right Moves

Top 10 Best Football Movie - Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino
Top 10 Best Football Movie - Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino

Video Clip "Inch By Inch Play By Play" from Any Given Sunday

Jamie Foxx, Dennis Quaid and Al Pacino on the sidelines in "Any Given Sunday"
Jamie Foxx, Dennis Quaid and Al Pacino on the sidelines in "Any Given Sunday"
Al Pacino Cameron Diaz "Any Given Sunday"
Al Pacino Cameron Diaz "Any Given Sunday"

Number 2

Any Given Sunday

The Perfect Day for Good Football Movie

In Oliver Stone's 1999 look at professional football, Al Pacino stars as Tony D'Amato, the aging head coach of the fictional Miami Sharks. He has to deal with the team's demanding president/co-owner Cameron Diaz, and a washed-up star quarterback played by Dennis Quaid and the rookie QB in line to replace him Jamie Foxx.

Every scene is filled with close-up shots of players in the trenches, revealing locker room sequences and action and sound so incredible that viewers feel like they're right there on the field.

More than any other football movie this one cuts to the chase of what it mean to play, coach, own and manage a professional football team in the NFL. And it addresses the age old question of when your time is up. There are great down and dirty scenes but it is behind the scenes that make this movie soar. I often wonder if Mark Sanchez when he must have watched this movie was a pre req for him thinking it was ok to eat a hot dog on the side lines as in this movie the QB is seen eating chips on the sideline.

My favorite part is of course the famous locker room speech . ."its a game of inches"

Memorable quote:

"On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. The point is -- can you win or lose like a man?"
- Tony D'Amato

To 10 Football Movie - Paper Lion
To 10 Football Movie - Paper Lion

Alan Alda as George Plimpton

Top 10 Football movie from1968 "Paper Lion"
Top 10 Football movie from1968 "Paper Lion"

Number 1

Paper Lion

Alan Alda stars as George Plimpton in this true to life 1968 account of an unassuming journalist attempt to suit up as an NFL quarterback for the ultimate insiders look at the game. There were alot of real life Detroit Lions who played along side for the real life George Plimpton are featured as themselves. It was the story for Sports Illustrated and his ensuing best-selling book, Paper Lion tells and relates his trials and errors through training camp while attempting to keep his journalist identity a secret. Ultimately, his exploits culminate in him playing in a live scrimmage before thousands of paying fans. If you love football you will love this movie!

Appearances by Alex Karras, Frank Gifford and the immortal Vince Lombardi.

Memorable quote: "You try the AFL?"
-Vince Lombardi, insulting the supposedly weaker league when compared to the NFL, in which his Packers played.

Remember the Titans
Remember the Titans

Remember Forver the Night they Played the Titans

The Titans

Remember the Titans / top 10 Football Movies
Remember the Titans / top 10 Football Movies

Buy "Remember the Titans" OnLIne

Bonus

Remember The Titans

Best Football Movie

Ok so I cant count and this great football movie makes this top ten list actually the top 11. I just could not be leave this one or any other one off this list.

Two words define Remember the Titans, the movie,and those two words are Denzel Washington. In this all time great football movie, Denzel stars as coach Herman Boone, charged with helping his team deal with issues of integration and tolerance in a racially charged environment while at the same time managing to win a few football games. And in fact Boones Titans manage to put together an undefeated season as they go onto the state championship. This 2000 drama is based on the true story of a suburban Virginia school that has been segregated until 1970 and this coach was brought in to unify a divided program when the school was finally integrated.

"Let them remember forever the night they played the Titans"

Rudy, The Blind Side and More Great Football Movies

There are just too many great football movies and as this was a top 10 list of really good movies I did not want to omit the following:

  • Rudy
  • The Blind Side
  • We Are Marshall
  • The Express
  • Invincible
  • Necessary Roughness

I hope you enjoy these football movies as much I do!


Love of NFL Football

Football Movies all time Greatest Stories to Hit the Big Screen
Football Movies all time Greatest Stories to Hit the Big Screen

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Top Ten Comment on the Greatest Football Movies 30 comments

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

So that's how you get your football fix in the offseason. Brian's Song is my favorite, with Jerry McGuire a close second. But, there is nothing like the real thing! Thanks,WG for all the great suggestions. :)


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

Jai - ha you know I get my football fix anywhich way I can!!! Brians Song is also my very favorite . I was watching so many clips the other night I was as hysterical watching them as I was the first time I saw it. . Nothing like a football movie when there is no football going on!!! thanks for the visit.!:))))


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

I like most of these movies, especially Jerry McGuire! Oh and I just watched Robert Siegel's Big Fan on dvd a few weeks ago. It wasn't great but very very unique. Odd sense of humor. Kind of weird. But I enjoyed it. =D


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

Om Paramapoonya - I havent seen Big fan- so thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I just might have to rent it for the uniqueness alone! Thanks for sharing and always thanks for the visit!


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

Shari, how did I miss this hub. You have an excellent list of movies but I think Remember The Titans is probably my favorite football movie.

Great job. Voted it up.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

sam - the Titans was just on the other night. . and you know it is one of those movies I can watch over and over again . . as far as missing this one. . .sometimes the best ones are saved for special moments:) Glad you stopped by .. always a special moment when I see you around here &hearts


1kmjs profile image

1kmjs 6 years ago from Iowa

No Rudy? Ouch. Wavegirl...you must have Rudy in the Top Ten if not #1 overall. Seriously. If you havent seen it..please do so.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

1kmjs - Yes I did see Rudy and though I did think it was a good movie I did not think it was Great, sorry but that is just me:) What did you think of the other choices??? Would love to hear which is your number 1???


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Shari show me the money! I would rate Jerry McGuire, North Dallas forty and the longest yard - that would be Burt's best movie to I think. Though I guess that isn't saying much is it!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

oh billy .. you complete me ;) I got Al Pacino in the locker room as my favorite moment....but yes they are all good and I can watch each and every one of them over and over. Thanks for the support and stopping in to say hi!


Michael Willis profile image

Michael Willis 6 years ago from Arkansas

Great list of football movies here Shari! Thanks for writing this. Has been a while since I have seen the older movies. North Dallas Forty is still one of my favorites.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

Michael- can we ever get enough football! You know you can always count on me for a new football hub:) And as I am starting up the 60dc again get ready for some football!!! Less than three weeks away.. kickoff- can you believe that???? Thanks for stopping by:)


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..yes you did a fine fine job here Coach Wave girl - and you did your homework too - a mighty fine hub says this movie buff and sports fan - I am proud of you - although it's not a football movie per se - the original MASH movie as directed by Robert Altman has a real funny football scene in it with the very first use ever in a film of the 'f' word!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

Interesting, I will have to check that out Mash is a favorite movie of mine, especially the sountrack but you know my favorite all time movie have to be all about the game of love. . oh I mean the game I love!


zatchj62 profile image

zatchj62 6 years ago from Michigan

Remember the Titans. Oh man. Coach Yoast's speech in the sideline huddle is amazing. Denzel gets all the attention--as he should--but Will Patton should get some major credit for that role. One of my favorite NEWER football movies is the new "The Longest Yard". I'm not saying it is an amazing movie, but it makes me laugh everytime I see it.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

zatchj62 - I absolutely loved Remember the Titans, and still get a chill up my spine when I hear that line. I have not yet seen the remake of the Longest Yard,hmm maybe I should put it on my Christmas list !


Duane Ultra V 6 years ago

Great list. A lot of these top ten lists are junk, but this one is actually pretty good. The inclusion of Paper Lion surprised me. Not many people have heard the title before, although is has popped up on a couple of these lists.


bobbyjones654321 profile image

bobbyjones654321 5 years ago

Thanks for the article. I had a great time going through your article.

http://www.bobbyjonesgolfdvd.com


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY Author

bobbyjones - a great time is what these football movies are all about!


chasemillis profile image

chasemillis 5 years ago

Wow when I saw number one as paper lion I almost freaked out!! Then I scrolled down and saw Remember the Titans as the best movie. Great Hub! Long one too!!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY Author

chasemills- good thing we have these great football movies when for the off season!


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wavegirl, I love all of these movies, but one you left off, and it happens to be one of my all time favorites is RUDY. I think it is a GREAT football movie...and a Great overall movie.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY Author

CMerritt - Rudy was a good football movie, just not in my top ten!


evangillespie profile image

evangillespie 5 years ago

As a Notre Dame alum, I'm sad that Rudy didn't make your top 10, but thanks for the fun list anyway. Just about any football movie is a good football movie!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY Author

evan- glad you had some fun with these great football movies .. Rudy was definitely a great movie but it just wasnt within my top 10! There are so many great ones. .and when you have just 10 to choose it can be quite a daunting task!


MathLizard profile image

MathLizard 5 years ago from Reading PA

I guess it can't always be about the best football movie, sometimes the "honorable mention" film is more fun. For my money, I can watch Necessary Roughness any day of the week...but Any Given Sunday, which made your list, is excellent too.


Obscure_Treasures profile image

Obscure_Treasures 5 years ago from USA

Nice hub...nice list as well.The longest yard and Remember the titans are my favorites.....


Groomsmen Gifts 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this! I'm trying to find information on grooms gifts, groomsmen gifts and Personalized Cufflinks.This has definitely helped me in this process.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 4 years ago from New York, NY Author

Groomsmen Gifts - if your wedding party has NFL fans you are so right, any one of these football films would make a great gift for them!


Abat225 profile image

Abat225 4 years ago from New York

Solid List. I personally think Rudy, and We Are Marshall should make the top ten. There is one real good football movie that wasnt listed on your entire hub nor has anyone else commented about it. The Program (1993) Many stars including James Caan, Halley Berry, Kristy Swanson, Omar Epps.

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