Greatest Sports Movies

The Greatest Sports Movies were selected by the staff of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Bull Durham
American romantic comedy, dealing with a very minor minor-league team and three of its current constituents, an aging baseball groupie that beds one player each season, a cocky foolish new pitcher, and the older, weary catcher brought in to wise up the rookie. Directed by Ron Shelton.  Starring Kevin Costner & Susan Sarandon. R
Rocky Balboa, the underdog, gets his million-to-one shot at love, self-respect and the world heavyweight boxing crown and comes out a winner. Directed by John G. Avildsen.  Starring Sylvester Stallone & Talie Shire. PG
Raging Bull
Based on the true story of Jake La Motta, a boxer whose psychological and sexual complexities erupt into violence both in and out of the ring. Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Starring Robert De Nero. Based on the book by Jake La Motta. R
Hoop Dreams
The critically acclaimed true-life story of Arthur Agee and William Gates and the unforgettable five-year experience that turns them into men. Directed by Steve James. PG-13
Slap Shot
The coach of a third-rate hockey team signs up some rough and tough players to help his team win. Directed by George Roy Hill.  Starring Paul Newman. R
A basketball coach with a checkered past leads him to a last-chance position with a last-chance team. Directed by David Anspaugh.  Starring Gene Hackman. PG

Breaking Away
When top-notch cyclist Dave learns that the world's bicycling champions are always Italian, he attempts to turn himself into an Italian, driving his parents crazy. But everything changes after he meets the Italian racing team - an encounter that ultimately leads him and his friends to challenge the local college boys in the town's annual bike race. Directed by Peter Yates.  Starring Dennis Christopher & Dennis Quaid. PG
Chariots of Fire
The true story of Harold Abrahams, Eric Liddell, and the team of athletic competitors who brought victory to Britain in the 1924 Olympics. Directed by Hugh Hudon.  Starring Ben Cross & Ian Charleson. PG
When We Were Kings
It's 1974, Muhammed Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Forman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set. Directed by Leon Gast. PG
Bang The Drum Slowly
A hard nosed professional baseball team learns the meaning of friendship and death when one of its players becomes tragically ill. Directed by John D. Hancock.  Starring Michael Moriarity, Robert De Niro, & Vincent Gardenia. Based on the book Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris. PG
Dogtown and Z-Boys
The story of a gang of discarded kids who virtually revolutionized skateboarding with an aggressive style, awe-inspiring moves and street smarts, and in the process, transforming youth culture forever. Captures the rise of the Zephyr skateboarding team from Venice's Dogtown , a tough "locals only" beach with a legacy of outlaw surfing, who used abandoned swimming pools to sharpen their skills. Directed by Stacy Peralta. PG-13
A League of Their Own
In 1943, a washed-up ballplayer is hired to coach in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League while the male pros are at war. Reluctant at first, he finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his team. Directed by Penny Marshall.  Starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, & Madonna. PG
The Freshman

The Endless Summer
A documentary on the search for the perfect wave, in which two Californians take off with their surfboards for Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. Directed by Bruce Brown. NR
North Dallas Forty
Depicts an aging pro football player who, through a woman he meets, is drawn away from the masculine, violent world in which he has lived so long. In doing so, he finds himself at odds with the team's management. Directed by Ted Kotcheff.  Starring Nick Nolte & Mac Davis.  Based on the book by Peter Gent. R
Brian's Song
A drama about the deep friendship between Gale Sayers, black halfback for the Chicago Bears, and his white teammate, Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970. Directed by Buzz Kulik.  Starring James Caan & Billy Dee Williams. Based on the book I Am Third by Gale Sayers. G
The story centers around Danny Noonan, who is desperate to win the college scholarship awarded to the best caddy at Bushwood Country Club. Also involved are a millionaire who wants to turn the golf course into a a new property development and a greenkeeper who is about to start World War III--against a gopher. Directed by Harold Ramis.  Starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, & Bill Murray. R
Downhill Racer
An American skier is followed through several years of international ski competition which ultimately leads to the Winter Olympics. Directed by Michael Ritchie.  Starring Robert Redford & Gene Hackman. PG
Requiem for a Heavyweight

Pumping Iron
In 1977, an independent documentary movie shed light on the world of bodybuilding, becoming a hugh box office hit and creating an international sensation. It launched one man's multi-million dollar career. It changed the world of bodybuilding and physical exercise forever. Follows 5-time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger , as he gets ready to compete for his 6th titles. Directed by George Butler & Robert Fiore.  Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Based on the book Pumping Iron by Charles Gaines & George Butler. PG
The Set-Up

The Hustler
Itinerant pool shark challenges the top man for the championship, sacrificing everything until he realizes the stakes are too high. Directed by Robert Rossen.  Starring Paul Newman & Jackie Gleason. Based on the short story The Hustler by Walter S. Tevis. NR
Searching for Bobby Fischer
This heart-warming film is based on the true story of a young boy who is a chess prodigy and his father, who attempts to walk the fine line between encouraging his son's talent, and preserving the love they have for each other. Directed by Steven Zaillian.  Starring Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, & Joan Allen. Based on the book by Fred Waitzkin. PG
Horse Feathers
Professor Quincey Adams Wagstaff, fun-loving president of Huxley College, tries to keep the student body in line while attempting to keep his own body near a flirtatious floozie who is secretly trying to rig the big football game between Huxley and arch rival Darwin University. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod.  Starring Groucho, Harpo, Chico, & Zeppo Marx. NR
The Bad News Bears
A former baseball minor-leaguer coaches a team of tough kids. His star pitcher is a girl. Directed by Michael Ritchie.  Starring Walter Matthau & Tatum O'Neal. PG
National Velvet
Story of two children, their passion for a horse, and their determination to train it and win the Grand National.  Directed by Clarence Brown.  Starring Elizabeth Taylor & Mickey Rooney. Based on the book National Velvet by Enid Bagnold. G
. Eight Men Out
Based on the real-life scandal of 1919, the film tells the story of eight baseball players who plan to throw games for money, and the scorn and anger the scheme earned them. Directed by John Sayles.  Starring John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, & D.B. Sweeney. Based on the book Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof. PG
The next war will not be fought - it will be played. The year is 2018. There are no wars. There is no crime. There is only - the Game. In a world where corporations rule the world and no one asks questions - the vicious and barbaric "sport" of Rollerball satisfies the violent impulses of the masses. Directed by Norman Jewison.  Starring James Caan.  R
The Rookie
When a shoulder injury ended his minor league pitching career twelve years ago, Jim Morris resorted to the next best thing: coaching. But Jim's team, knowing their coach is a great ball player, makes a deal with him: if they win the district championship, they want Jim to try out for a major-league organization. Going from worst to first, the team makes it to state, and Jim is forced to live up to his end of the deal. While there prove to be a lot of pitches to be thrown before he makes it off the mound, big-league dreams are revived, and there's no telling where he could go. Directed by John Lee Hancock.  Starring Dennis Quaid. G
The definitive documentary of America's pastime, baseball . Through a skillful blend of still photographs, film footage, interviews and voice overs, the the history of "The Game" is brought to life. Covering the period from the 1840's to 1994 (just before the strike), the high and low moments, heroes and villains are explored and examined, providing an in-depth, informative, and enthralling look at this truly American passion. Directed by Ken Burns. NR
Vision Quest

Fat City

Everybody's All-American
Story of a football hero and his wife. The Greys have it all , then lose it and rediscover the one thing they really need: each other. Directed by Taylor Hackford.  Starring Jessica Lange & Dennis Quaid. R
Million Dollar Legs

Jerry Maguire
Jerry Maguire is a sports agent who suddenly discovers his scruples - and promptly loses his job. But with the help of one loyal colleague and one outrageous client, Maguire learns that loving well is the best revenge. Directed by Cameron Crowe.  Starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., & Renée Zellweger. R
The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

Field of Dreams
Ray Kinsella hears a voice, followed by a brief vision of a baseball field . He believes that if he builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield, Shoeless Joe Jackson from the infamous 1919 Chicago "Black" Sox will return to play baseball. By being willing to take a chance, Ray gets a second time up at bat in life. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson.  Starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, & James Earl Jones. Based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. PG
The Harder They Fall

The Longest Yard
Filmed on location at the Georgia State Prison, semi-pro football is played with the cons as the heroes and the guards as the heavies. Directed by Robert Aldrich.  Starring Burt Reynolds & Eddie Albert. R
Remember the Titans
The true story of a newly appointed African American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. Directed by Boaz Yakin.  Starring Denzell Washington. PG
The Pride of the Yankees
Lou Gehrig, the Yank's great first baseman and the son of poor immigrants, rose to heights of baseball fame -- only to be cut down at the peak of his career by an incurable disease known as ALS. Directed by Sam Wood. Starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, & Babe Ruth. NR
Fists of Fury
Having made a vow never to fight again, a factory worker named Cheng does his best to put up with an abusive boss. But when Cheng's beautiful cousin is kidnapped by company thugs, Cheng is forced to take matters into his own hands - and fists - to save her. Directed by Wei Lo & Wu Chia Hsiang.  Starring Bruce Lee. R
The Deadliest Season

Grand Prix

Any Given Sunday
Tony D'Amato, the embattled Sharks coach, faces a full-on blitz of team strife plus a new, marketing-savvy Sharks owner who's sure Tony is way behind times. Directed by Oliver Stone.  Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, & James Woods. R
It Happens Every Spring

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
A group of independent renegade players travel around the Midwest looking for that big home run while playing baseball in the 1930s Negro League. Directed by John Badham. Starring Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, & Richard Pryor. Based on the book by William Brashler. PG
Phar Lap
The true story of a New Zealand racehorse that becomes a champion with the help of a local stableboy. Directed by Simon Wincer.  Starring Tom Burlinson. PG
Best in Show
A zany look at dog show participants (and the pooches who love them). Join the fun as Mayflower Kennel Club competitors - a fly-fishing shop owner, Shih Tzu-doting partners, squabbling yuppies, a dim-bulb trophy wife and her ace handler, and a married couple who dream up ditties about terriers - vie for the top prize. Directed by Christopher Guest.  Starring Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Christopher Guest, & Michael McKean. PG-13