Great Sports Movies
The Greatest Sports Movies of all Time
I love sports and I love movies about sports. There is something about the spirit of competition and about the triumph of the human spirit during competition that gives me goosebumps and makes me tear up every time. The following are some of my favorite movies about sports. I hope you like them too.
Before this became a great movie, it was an amazing book. I remember reading it in junior high school and it being the first book that made me cry, so naturally I had to see the movie, and yes, I cried at that too.
In this 1971 made for TV movie, James Caan portrays real life Chicago Bear football player, Brian Piccolo, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Piccolo and his best friend, Gayle Sayers, portrayed by Billie Dee Williams, strengthen their friendship as Piccolo soldiers through the greatest fight of his life. The movie is intense and all the more heart-wrenching because it is true.
The movie was remade in 2001 starring Sean Maher as Piccolo and Mekhi Phifer as Sayers.
Everybody's All American
This 1988 movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange as college sweethearts, Gavin Grey and Babs Rogers. He is the Grey Ghost, campus football hero who marries the Magnolia Queen and is picked up by the pros after college. The movie poignantly details the struggles of "ghost" as he navigates 25 years of his life, moving from everybody's all american hero, to aging football hero to has been. It also depicts what life was like for his long-suffering wife as she tolerates his ego and infidelities.
This is a relatable, sad story with a bitter sweet ending that will move most viewers to tears. There are great supporting portrayals by John Goodman, Timothy Hutton and Taylor Hackford.
Released in 1986, this movie about an Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship in the early 1950's. What was remarkable about the story is that in the early 1950's, all schools still competed in the same league regardless of size, which pitted small rural schools such as the one portrayed in the movie, against large urban schools with infinitely more resources and privileged players.
Dennis Hopper received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the basketball obsessed, town drunk and Gene Hackman is excellent as Hickory's tough but savvy coach.
A League of Their Own
This 1992 movie starring Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna is a bit more comical than the others, but is also based upon a true story. The All American Girls Professional Baseball League formed in 1943 during WWII, when baseball was in jeopardy because most of the male players were off to war.
This story is a fictionalized account of that league as told through the eyes of the league's fictional star player, Dottie Henson, who was catcher for the Rockford Peaches. You'll enjoy the lighthearted comedy as the girls plod through etiquette training, slide between bases in their ridiculous baseball skirts, and sneak out at night to visit local saloons. But in the end, like all the other movies, you'll shed a few nostalgic tears.
Show me the money!! One of the most memorable quotes in American cinema comes from this 1996 Cameron Crowe movie, starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. Cruise portrays sports agent Jerry McGuire who leaves his agency to start his own company and finds that his only client is Rod Tidwell, an egotistical, entitled tight end who is more concerned with "the money" than with the game. In the end, McGuire teaches Tidwell about the art of humility, while Tidwell teaches McGuire a thing or two about falling in love.
Renee Zellweger plays McGuire's girlfriend and eventual wife, Dorothy Boyd, with a sweet vulnerability that stands out in a film full of big egos and loud talkers.
The movie was nominated for best picture and best editing. Cruise was nominated for best actor and Crowe for best original screenplay, but it was Cuba Gooding Jr. that walked away with the Oscar, for best supporting actor.
Your Favorite Sports Movies
Which of the following sports movies did you enjoy most?
Blades of Glory
I couldn't resist putting this one in there. Figure skating may not be a rough and tumble sport like football, or the all American past time like baseball, but it is quite enjoyable in this ridiculous farce of sports movie. I laughed at this tongue-in-cheek humor from start to finish. There are no tears to be had here, but it is one heck of a good time.
This 2007 movie stars Will Ferrell as Chazz Michael Michaels and Jon Heder as Jimmy Mackelroy, arch-rivals in the figure skating world who have no choice but to compete as same-sex pairs figure skating partners, after being banned for life from individual competition.
Will Arnet and Amy Poehler (real life spouses and SNL alums) star as the sibling pair of Stranz and Fairchild, who will stop at nothing to be sure that Michaels and Mackelroy do not win the Olympic gold medal. This is not going to be an easy feat, as Michaels and Mackelroy are training with world famous olympic figure skating coach Robert, played by Craig T. Nelson who is training them to perform the fabled, and potentially fatal, Iron Lotus.
Mackelroy's glittery, girly costumes, Michael's sex addiction and an hilarious supporting cast, make this raunchy comedy a must see.
Blades of Glory
We Are Marshall
Another true story tear jerker. This 2006 movies stars Matthew McConaughey as football coach Jack Lengyel and Matthew Fox as his assistant coach, William "Red" Dawson. The story begins as West Virginia's Marshall University's 1970 football team boards their ill-fated flight back into West virginia following a game in North Carolina. Just one mile short of landing, the plane clipped the tree tops and crashed into a gully, killing everyone aboard, including 37 players, the head coach and 5 members of his coaching staff, the athletic director, team trainer and his assistant, 22 booster club members and 5 crew.
Coach Lengyel has the almost insurmountable task of rebuilding and motivating the team in a community which has been devastated by grief and loss. This isn't a "feel good movie" about winning against all odds. In fact, the team under Lengyel's leadership had a record of 9 and 33. Instead this is a movie about rebuilding faith in the face of unimaginable tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit.
We Are Marshall
Cuba Gooding Jr. makes the list again in another Oscar worthy turn. This time as a developmentally disabled black man, James Robert Kennedy, from Hannah, SC, who is mentored by Hannah football coach Jones. Mr. Kennedy, nicknamed Radio because he always carried a radio along with him, wandered the streets aimlessly while his mother worked. He often wound up watching the football games at the local high school where he caught coach Jones' eye.
Soon, Radio becomes team manager, and a fixture at Hannah High School, where some parents and narrow-minded school administration officials view his disabilities as a threat.
But Radio's innocence and unconditional love of football and the Hannah student body, soon win over all the detractors, making Radio the most famous and most beloved Hannah resident ever.
Wonderful supporting roles are put in by Debra Winger as coach Jones' wife, Alfre Woodard as Hannah's caring but tentative principal and S. Epatha Merkerson as Radio's loving, but exhausted mother.
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