Spirit found within sports movies

Ranking the ten best sports films of all time.


Many movies in the modern generation send across many powerful messages.  But no genre conveys as potent a message as a sports movie.

Although many might believe sports movies to be the same old story, many would argue that they are completely necessary in today’s world.  Although most do contain a happy final second or buzzer-beating point that causes the protagonists to win the big game, some sports movies separate themselves by providing a different type of ending.

Among many standout movies, the following ten films may have the strongest messages of the entire genre.

10. Warrior: Warrior is a movie about a UFC winner-take-all tournament which features a titanic struggle between two brothers, who were separated.  Warrior has been an extremely underrated movie in recent years, even after receiving an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb.  This movie not only focuses on the determination and grit required in order to succeed in life, but also teaches strong themes of forgiveness.

9. Invincible: Invincible is a film about how a washed up bartender, who never played a snap of collegiate football, was able to become a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Based on a true story, Vince Papale was thirty years old and working at a local bar, when he decided to attend an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles.  With all the odds against him, being so old and so inexperienced, Papale struggles not only with making the team, but many other personal issues that make the achievement of making an NFL team that much more impressive.

8. Money ballBased on another true story, Money ball analyzes the story of how former Oakland Athletic’s general manager challenged the traditional approach to recruitment of baseball players.  Across the MLB, teams with big spending budgets would run a monopoly over smaller market teams.  Billy Beane was able to change the game of baseball by using a statistical approach to recruiting.  Instead of focusing on big name players, Beane used the leftovers of big budget teams to lead the Oakland Athletics to twenty consecutive wins.

7. The Blind Side: Based on yet another true story, The Blind Side highlights the life of Michael Oher, an NFL offensive lineman.  Oher’s story doesn’t consist of a typical football player, similar to Papale’s story in Invincible, however, Oher’s tale involves a greater struggle as he was bounced around as a child from being homeless or orphaned.  This movie teaches lessons of giving everyone a chance because people will never know what others have to offer unless they attempt to find out.

6. Remember The TitansSet in 1971, Remember The Titans takes place during the time of racial integration.  Based on a true story, Remember The Titans provides a window looking into how this nation’s past isn’t so perfect.  The film shows strong central themes of unity and leadership.  The ability for the football team at T.C Williams High School in Virginia to respond to social adversity which segregated this country for centuries.

RUDY, Sean Astin (center), 1993, ©TriStar Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
RUDY, Sean Astin (center), 1993, ©TriStar Pictures/courtesy Everett Collectionthe country for centuries.

5. Rudy: The definition of a true underdog story, Rudy provides a story that shows that anything is possible for those who have the work ethic and mental toughness to achieve their goals.  Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger was never the best football player, was never the best student, but finds a way to become a student-athlete on one of the most prestigious schools, academically and athletically, of all time: Notre Dame.


Taken by tigerstrypes.com in the movie Field of Dreams

4. Field of DreamsAn Iowa farmer, who is an estranged son of a deceased baseball player,  hears a voice calling from his corn fields saying the famous lines, “If you build it, he will come.”  This farmer then builds a baseball field in his corn fields, risking everything financially on this calling with the hope of being reconnected with his dead father.  This film mainly focuses on family and determination.

Credit to Playbuzz.com for the picture of Rocky and Apollo

3. Rocky: Although Rocky struggles through his entire career, he proves that one chance can redefine everything one has ever done.  Rocky was chosen to fight Apollo Creed in an exhibition match that he was supposed to lose miserably, but by training harder than he ever had before, Rocky was able to show not only himself, but the world that our minds are the only limitations on our goals.

Credit to Rogerebert.com with this picture of the coach of the Hoosier team.

2. Hoosiers: As senior Luke Greely puts it, “Hoosiers is a classic David versus Goliath story about some small town in Indiana that beat the odds to win the state title.”  Not only is it about the kids, it’s about the coach who attempting to climb out of a rut in his own life and bury his hazy past with a clear future.

1. Miracle:  Perhaps the most powerful moment in sports, the Miracle on ice at Lake Placid is a centerpiece to American history.  The entire world believed the Soviets were the

powerhouse in the world, but many believe the 1980 hockey game between the Soviets and the

Hockeysfuture.com is credited with this picture of the 1980 Olympic hockey team.

Americans were able to send a message of American strength throughout the entire world.

Although these films are the paragons of sports films, a few films worthy of mention that did not make the cut include, Varsity Blues, Major League, The Little Giants, The Replacements, and Coach Carter.

Senior sports fanatic Ryan Ruehl states, “I think young kids aspiring to be successful should watch all of these sports films to be able to enjoy and understand a consistent message of hard work and making your dreams come true.”

As Tony Timmers says, “The arts and entertainment of the film industry might seem a bit corny and far fetched some of these stories apply to everyday life.”  Although sports films do provide a window into a world of success and perseverance they may only be useful if we are applying what these films can teach us about life.