It’s no secret, I am a big fan of inspirational sports movies! I think sports in general is a great way for people to learn key skills in life, but hey thats a topic for another day. Put inspiring stories and sports together and for me you have got a winner.
I have been learning about what makes great story telling, and apparently there should always be 2 stories, 2 journeys that the main character goes on, the physical one that you can see, for example, the team going after the championship, and the transformational one, this is the more important one, its the the story of how the team have to change or adjust themselves, who they have to become to succeed, and sometimes they don’t achieve the physical goal, but that doesn’t matter as the transformational one is the one that we love.
So here are my top selection of sports films…. Now let me just say I have only included films I have watched and enjoyed, I know there are loads more, so please leave me a comment letting me know other films that I should watch and should appear on this list.
I also found this really tough to put into a an order of my favourite… What order would you put these in? Leave me a comment below.
1. Remember The Titans (2000)
The year is 1971, in Alexandria, Virginia, two separate high schools, one for white people and one for black people have been closed and they are forced to integrate. Tensions flqre throughout the town. Remember The Titans is the view of what happened through the high school football team during this time, when a black head coach (Denzel Washington) is appointed. The team need to come together, and by doing so will they be able to bring the whole town together?
One of my favourite films, everyone should watch this!
2. Coach Carter (2005)
Basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) takes on the role of head coach at a struggling high school team in a poor area of Richmond CA. Poor attitudes on and off the court affect the teams performances. Ken Carter aims to change these boys lives, not just by improving their performances on the court but by holding them to high standards off the court too. As he states… “In Richmond, you are 80% more likely to go to prison that you are to go to college” he aims to change that, and benches the whole team when he finds out they are failing in school.
3. Rocky (1976) – All of them 🙂
Rocky Balboa is a struggling boxer in Philadelphia, who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to fight the heavy weight champion Apollo Creed. Can the “Italian Stallion” go the distance?
What Sylvester Stallone did to get the role in this film is a lesson for everyone out there. No one would hire him as an actor, he spent years struggling to get roles. So he writes a script, which is this film, Rocky, and then only sells the rights if he is the lead actor.
4. 42 (2013)
In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking MLB’s infamous colour line and forever changing history. This is the story of that journey.
5. Friday Night Lights (2004)
The story of the high school football team, the Permian Panthers, from the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas. There is one evening each week where the whole town comes together, Friday Night, for football! This highlights all the pressures these kids are under, the expectations, the journey they go on.
6. Any Given Sunday
A powerful drama, that gives you a behind the scenes view of the football world. You get to see it from the players, the coaches and the owners of the franchise points of view. Al Pacino’s ‘Inches’ speech is one of my favourite speeches in all films.
7. Moneyball (2011)
When the Yankees have $140million to put together a team compared to your $38million (I think it was) you are going to have find a different way to compete. This is the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane attempt to put together a team by employing a new way of selecting a team. Can he change the game forever? Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are brilliant in this film.
8. The Blind Side (2009)
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her husband, Sean (Tim McGraw), take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael’s legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. Does he make it through High School? Can he make it college? What about the NFL?
9. We Are Marshall (2006)
During a plane crash the lives of members of the Marshall University football team and some of its fans are taken, the team’s new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive. Together Lengyel and Dawson turned a handful of rookies and second-string players into a competitive team who in 1971 showed the world what they could do in a legendary game against Marshall’s rivals. They take a broken team and build them into a successful one whilst trying to heal the wounds of a hurting society.
10. Invincible (2006)
This is the true story of Vince Papale, who became a member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team as a 30-year-old in an open tryout. He is the oldest rookie to make an NFL team (excluding kickers) who never played college ball and his journey to overcome the disbelief in him from those around him.
11. Creed (2015)
The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed. He helps Johnson get into shape and go for the title following in his fathers footsteps!
12. Invictus (2009)
The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
13. Ali (2001)
The life story of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, following the champ’s early days as Cassius Clay and his rise in sports and politics, including his controversial refusal to fight in the Vietnam War and his infamous comeback battles against Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
14. Warrior (2011)
Ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years to enlist the help of his father (Nick Nolte) to train for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all event in mixed martial arts history. A former wrestling prodigy, Tommy blazes a path toward the championship while his brother, Brendan (Edgerton), an ex-fighter-turned teacher, returns to the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin. But when Brendan’s unlikely, underdog rise sets him on a collision course with the unstoppable Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart, facing off in the most soaring, soul stirring, and unforgettable climax that must be seen to be believed.
15. Fighter (2010)
Inspirational docudrama exploring the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born, junior welterweight title winner “Irish” Micky Ward. A determined pugilist whose career in the ring was shepherded by his loyal half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale) — a hard-living boxer-turned-trainer whose own career in the ring was nearly sent down for the count due to drugs and crime — perennial underdog Irish Micky rebounded from a disheartening series of defeats to win both the WBU Intercontinental Lightweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title!
Other sports films you may enjoy:
- Never Back Down (2008)
- The Longest Yard
- Million Dollar Arm
There you have it, theres my list of my favourite inspirational sports movies that everyone should watch.
Which film would come at the top of your inspirational sports movies list? Leave me a comment below!