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100 Greatest Sports Movies?

Posted by on Nov 17, 2010

Y’all know that I like list posts; truthfully, who doesn’t? Many of them leave us having great debates, although I’ll admit that I wasn’t really expecting much debate when I wrote my opera post. Be that as it may, when we know what the topic is, we love debating it, and I think there should be a few people around ready to talk about this one.

Baseball Night In America
by J. Ryan Wall

Only it’s not my list. I got this list from a site called the Bleacher Report, which writes only about sports stuff, and they got together and put out what they called The 100 Greatest Sports Movies Of All Time. It’s an interesting list, especially because some of the movies aren’t sports related at all; what the hey? Still, they’ve got a list, and it was pretty ambitious. Way more ambitious than I’m ready to be, so I’m only going to comment on their top ten; this isn’t going to be pretty.

No. 10: Slapshot – this is a movie about a rogue minor league hockey team, and you’d think I would like it more because it was filmed right here in Syracuse. But it was filmed before I got here, and even with Paul Newman it just got on my nerves.

No. 9: Hoop Dreams – this was actually a documentary that followed two kids for many years that had dreams of becoming professional basketball players; no, they didn’t make it. Roger Ebert really loved this movie; once again, I didn’t get into it.

No. 8: Caddyshack – one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, even if it was surrounding golf, a sport I don’t like all that much except for Tiger Woods (now don’t start with me). It had Rodney Dangerfield in one of his best performances and Chevy Chase and Bill Murray at a time when not only were both at the top of their game, but they had to bury the hatchet to make this movie together. And it had the gopher; ’nuff said.

No. 7: The Natural – one of my favorite movies of all time; if I’m turning the channels and it’s on I stop what I’m doing and watch it until it’s over. It’s a baseball movie about a guy who gets derailed as a young player and comes back many years later and shows everyone he’s a star, only because they didn’t have 24/7 access to TV or sports back then no one remembers who he was. This is a beautiful movie, start Robert Redford, and you’ll love it whether you like sports or not.

No. 6: Rocky – I’m actually surprised this was so low on their list. Like everyone else, I had no idea who Sylvester Stallone was, but I knew who Burgess Meredith was, though I only knew him as the Penguin from Batman; now that’s a shame! There can’t be anyone who has no clue who Rocky is, so I’ll just leave it with this: “Adrian!!!”

No. 5: Bull Durham – I liked this movie, but for the life of me I really can’t figure out why so many sports guys think it’s so great. Sure, it had Kevin Costner before he started irritating all of us, along with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (who hooked up and lived 19 years or so with each other), but as a baseball movie I keep thinking there were better performances, or at least other movies that touched or entertained me more.

No. 4: Rudy – never saw this one, and I haven’t been compelled either. I just know it’s the supposedly true story of a team manager for Notre Dame that got to play in a game; maybe someone else can enlighten me and tell me why I need to see this.

No. 3: Raging Bull – now this is what I’m talking about. A movie about the one time middleweight champion of the world Jake LaMotta, it was one of the best performances by any actor in history, and in this case it was Robert DeNiro. He had to first get into great shape for the boxing scenes, then gain more than 60 pounds to play the same character as an older guy; it was the first time any actor did that. And it was filmed in black and white; great stuff. The funny thing is that the real Vicki LaMotta was prettier than the actress who played her; that rarely happens.

No. 2: Field Of Dreams – another baseball movie, and once again one that has never really captured me; my favorite baseball movie, very apparent now, is The Natural. But almost everyone knows this line, even if they don’t remember it came from this movie: “If you build it, they will come.” Another Kevin Costner movie.

No. 1: Hoosiers – Gene Hackman won an Oscar for this movie as best actor, and that’s about the only thing I know about it because I never saw it. It’s about a small town high school basketball team in Indiana that ends up winning the state title. That’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, that’s my commentary on someone else’s list. Of course you know that within the next couple of months I’ll be putting together my own list of top whatever number of sports movies I determine I need. And you can bet my top 10 list will have some “real” football movies on it; yeah I said it!

The Natural

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Hi Mitch

You are a true movie buff eh??!! I would like to see the one with Robert Redford. Hope it’s got a happy ending Mitch lol
And I’ve watched a couple of these on TV. Must have had it on in the background while I was blogging 🙂 We get repeats of repeats here!

Patricia Perth Australia

November 17th, 2010 | 10:08 AM

Pat, we all get repeats of repeats, which is probably the only way I’ll ever see some of these movies. But that Robert Redford one… that’s a classic!

November 17th, 2010 | 10:16 AM

Hi Mitch! I’m looking forward to seeing your list. I agree with The Natural and Field of Dreams, have them both. I also like The Legend of Bagger Vance. I’m not a golfer, never have been, but I like that movie. Great commentaries!

November 17th, 2010 | 1:04 PM

Thanks Allan. I’ve never seen Bagger Vance either, even though I like Will Smith. Be on the lookout for that list; could be sooner than a couple of months. 😉

November 17th, 2010 | 1:31 PM

I’m partial to baseball movies, so I put together my top ten of just that sport (in no particular order).

Field of Dreams
Eight Men Out
Mr. 3000
The Rookie
Hard Ball
The Natural
Fever Pitch
The Sandlot
A League of Their Own
Mr. Baseball

I also like Million Dollar Baby, The Hurricane, Cinderella Man, Cool Runnings, Radio, Breaking Away, and 61. (I’m sure I forgot a few.)

November 17th, 2010 | 3:34 PM

Nice group of movies, Charles. A few of these I haven’t seen, but many of the ones you mentioned I have seen and enjoyed. I don’t know Radio, though; was that the movie of soapbox derby?

November 17th, 2010 | 7:18 PM

This is a pretty good list, I like Major League. 😉

And, what about The Blind Side?

Sea Biscuit? (Didn’t see this one though)

November 17th, 2010 | 10:21 PM

I liked Major League, but they should have stopped with that one. And I didn’t see the Blind Side because I already knew the story from a documentary on ESPN. Sea Biscuit… about a horse? Me? lol

November 17th, 2010 | 10:27 PM


November 17th, 2010 | 9:03 PM

Liked the documentary, eh Kissie? It was tough to watch for me.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:24 PM

Ali? Wow, I was engaged the entire time … it’s what made me become a fan. Being from Philly, I sided with Joe Frazier and I think the fact that I always cheer for the under dog. So it wasn’t until I saw the documentary that I climbed aboard the Ali (Clay) wagon.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:28 PM

I was an Ali fan from when I was 11 years old. Almost cried when I heard he’d lost to Joe Frazier; but I didn’t. lol If you can back it up, it ain’t bragging. 😉

November 17th, 2010 | 10:31 PM

Ali, Brains, Skills, Guts — another documentary but one I won’t forget.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:19 PM

Ah, that was pretty good; any documentary about Ali I love. What’d you think of The Greatest or Ali with Will Smith?

November 17th, 2010 | 10:26 PM

Never saw either one.

I think I misunderstood you previously, I thought you were saying you couldn’t watch the documentary.

lol re: Sea Biscuit, I heard it was good. I don’t know if I can watch Spider Man rid a horse though.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:31 PM

I just can’t see me watching a movie about a horse, and I was one of those people who was hoping for, then got to see, Secretariat win the Triple Crown by blowing away the field.

Ride a horse; I knew what you meant (snicker).

November 17th, 2010 | 10:34 PM

RIDE a horse, I meant.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:32 PM

Hey Mitch! Of those on the list, I’ve only seen Rudy and Hoosiers. Hoosiers really is a classic. I first saw it when I was a kid and then watched it again a few years ago. Still good! And Rudy is another one that I grew up watching. I don’t remember a whole lot about it, just that I loved it.

I like Charles’ list! Cool Runnings and Sandlot! Ahhh… Great movies.

And Radio is the football one with Cuba Gooding Jr. as the mentally handicapped high school football player. I think…

Anyway, thanks for sharing the fun list!

November 17th, 2010 | 10:13 PM

Thanks Tristan; I’d totally forgotten about that movie with Cuba Jr, which I never saw but always meant to.

November 17th, 2010 | 10:25 PM

Hey Mitch I agree with a lot of your choices here….I also love A League Of Their Own.

November 18th, 2010 | 8:25 AM

Susan, that was a good one; it’ll probably be on my list. 🙂

November 18th, 2010 | 10:56 AM
Tim Manni:


A classic list! I’m trying to think of one you forgot…don’t know if I can. As a Philly native, maybe my only criticism would be a higher ranking for Rocky.

Great post,

November 18th, 2010 | 9:36 AM

Tim, Rocky definitely needed to be higher, and I’ll make sure I put it there when I put that post together, for sure.

November 18th, 2010 | 10:56 AM

I must have good tastes in sport movies, because I saw the majority of those listed :).
I might not agree with the position of some movies but there all great in their ways and I think it depends on every viewer to make their own top.

As I can say you talking about Robert Redford I liked the Three Days of the Condor, and although it isn’t about sports I think it’s one of my favorites RR movies.

November 18th, 2010 | 2:17 PM

I’ve never seen that one, but I really liked the Last Castle, which critics didn’t like (they didn’t get it) and, of course, Brubaker. And some other great ones along the way.

November 18th, 2010 | 2:23 PM

Since most of these movies are around American sports (baseball, football,..) I didn’t really get to watch most of them. From whichever I have watched, I liked “Remember the Titans” mainly because Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors 🙂

And I am quite surprised that a good historic movie like “Escape to Victory” is placed at 62! Obviously Americans do not like the global game Soccer 🙂

November 19th, 2010 | 4:44 AM

Ajith, soccer is growing, but it’s nowhere close to most of our other sports as far as interest. I can honestly say that none of the movies on my list will be a soccer movie. lol

November 19th, 2010 | 10:19 AM

This is interesting sport movie classification. I also like those movies, may be I will add Jerry Maguire and Heaven Can Wait in my top 10, but definitely Hoosiers is my number one.

November 19th, 2010 | 7:04 PM

Never seen Jerry Maguire or Hoosiers Carl, but I did enjoy Heaven Can Wait; who could hate Warren Beatty?

November 19th, 2010 | 9:16 PM

Heaven Can Wait should have been added to My Favorite Movie list! But, Jerry Maguire is also a movie I can watch over and over. 🙂

November 19th, 2010 | 9:23 PM

You know, it’s such an old movie that it never occurred to me that anyone would really even care all that much about it these days.

November 19th, 2010 | 9:34 PM

I’m talking Warren Beatty, not the B&W one… from years before.

November 19th, 2010 | 10:10 PM

Oh, maybe that was – Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

November 19th, 2010 | 10:11 PM

Warren was Heaven Can Wait; didn’t know about a B&W.

November 19th, 2010 | 10:47 PM