The Best Movies About Sports

Sports are arguably some of the best forms of entertainment for audiences and exercise for athletes or players. Because of how fun and exciting the most popular sports are to play and watch, there are usually millions of people that tune in to these sports, particularly in the leagues or tournaments where the best of the best athletes compete. There are even people that bet on different sports through Bodog sports betting and other betting websites.

From these sports, inspiring stories about athletes, coaches, and even teams have emerged, and these stories eventually led to the creation of films based on them. But there are also movies that have their own stories to tell, but it cannot be denied that they were also inspired by the real happenings in sports. Here are the best movies about sports that you should watch if you want to feel inspired.

Rocky (1976)

boxing training

Let us start off the list with one of the most recognizable sports movies of all time, Rocky. This sports drama film was directed by John G. Avildsen (who would later be known for directing The Karate Kid released in 1984) and written by famous actor Sylvester Stallone, who also stars as the titular character. The story of Rocky revolves around Rocky Balboa, a small-time club fighter and debt collector for a loan shark who gets a shot at a big-time match against the world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed, who is played by Carl Weathers.

Rocky premiered on November 20, 1976, in New York City and was released on December 3, 1976, in other US states. The film became the highest-grossing film of 1976, as it was able to earn about $225 million worldwide. Rocky was also well-received among critics and it even got ten Academy Award nominations. In the Academy Awards, the film won three awards, namely Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing.

Due to its immense popularity, Rocky would become a pop-culture phenomenon. Besides being very popular even today, Rocky is considered one of the most important films in the history of film-making. In fact, the US Library of Congress picked Rocky for preservation in 2006 because of its significance in the history and culture of the United States. Rocky also spawned multiple sequels and spin-offs, including the first sequel, Rocky II (1979), and the relatively new spin-off, Creed (2015).

He Got Game (1998)

He Got Game is a sports drama film that was released in 1998 and was directed, written, and produced by renowned filmmaker Spike Lee, who is familiar to most film enthusiasts as the director of Do the Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), and She’s Gotta Have It (1986). 

The film focuses on the story of Jake Shuttlesworth (played by Denzel Washington), who was released on parole for just one week in order to persuade his son, Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by former NBA player Ray Allen), to play for the state governor’s alma mater. Jake Shuttlesworth accepted the task because accomplishing it would mean that his prison sentence would be reduced.

He Got Game is considered one of the best movies based on basketball today. However, during the year of its release, it wasn’t well-received commercially, as it only earned about $21 million compared to its budget of $25 million. So, He Got Game was considered a box office bomb in 1998. But over the years, the movie gained a cult following, and many would say that it is more popular today than it was when it was released.

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire is a sports comedy-drama film that was released in 1996 and was written, directed, and co-produced by Cameron Crowe, who is best known as the screenwriter for an iconic film titled Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). Jerry Maguire stars Tom Cruise as the titular character, who is a sports agent who created his own agency after having issues with the sports agency he was working for, Sports Management International (SMI). What followed are comedic, romantic, and dramatic events that shaped how Jerry Maguire views love and life. This film offers a more “behind-the-scenes” look at sports and athletes rather than the action-packed happenings inside the court or field.

The film was well-received commercially and critically, as it was able to get nominations at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, and it also earned $273.6 million at the box office against a $50 million budget. Jerry Maguire is also responsible for the popularization of numerous lines and quotes including “Show me the money!,” “You had me at ‘Hello’,” and “You complete me.”

Any Given Sunday (1999)

American football

In terms of movies that focus on American football, one of the best is Any Given Sunday, which was released in 1999 and is directed by Oliver Stone, the screenwriter for iconic films like Midnight Express (1978) and the remake of Scarface (1983). The story of the film is based on the 1984 novel titled “On Any Given Sunday,” which was written by former NFL defensive end Pat Toomay. Any Given Sunday stars Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato, the head coach of the fictional American football team called the Miami Sharks.

Any Given Sunday premiered in theaters on December 22, 1999. The film was a financial success as it was able to get $100.2 million at the box office against its $55 million budget. It was also well-received by critics, who praised the script and performance of the actors, most notably Al Pacino.

And these are just a few of the best movies about sports. If you are planning a pop culture movie marathon soon, you should definitely add these movies to your must-watch list.