It’s a rainy day in Quincy with sporting events being cancelled and postponed, and the discussion in the office turned to our favorite sports movie of all-time.
The opinions among a group of colleagues varied, and I would love your feedback, but here is a list of my 20 favorite sports movies to watch on a rainy day:
20-North Dallas Forty
Mac Davis and Nick Nolte are superb in their roles as quarterback and wide receiver in a brutal, no-holds-barred movie about professional sports. This one is about football and it takes a deep dive into many of the issues and obstacles athletes encounter at the top level.
The story of the record home-run chase between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle is compelling. Maris and Mantle actually were friends who lived in the same house during the season. It provides some great insight into Maris’ career. And the story is controversial as they make a run at Babe Ruth’s long-standing record.
18-Bad News Bears
The perpetually drunk coach Morris Buttermaker, played superbly by the gruff and grumpy Walter Matthau, somehow leads his band of misfits into the championship baseball game. He brings in an outlaw ringer named Kelly Leak, the best Little Leaguer of all-time, to turn their fortunes around.
This is a true underdog story about an undersized walk-on whose lifelong dream is to play football for his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It’s a heck of a story that is compelling and inspiring.
Many people may not even rank this movie, but I absolutely love Adam Sandler playing the part of hockey player turned pro golfer Happy Gilmore. The fight scene between Happy and Bob Barker is one of the funniest I’ve ever seen in any movie.
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Sasha Baron Cohen are hilarious in this parody about NASCAR. Driver Ricky Bobby’s saying, “If you ain’t first you’re last,” is one of the best quotes in a sports movie. The dramatic final scene is definitely something you want to see.
14-Eight Men Out
This is an excellent film that chronicles the baseball scandal where eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to deliberately throw the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The young man’s line, “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” to White Sox star Joe Jackson is one of the most powerful in the movie. John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd and Charlie Sheen are part of a star-studded cast.
This documentary is really well done. It follows the stories of two high school players from Chicago who aspire to play in the NBA someday. It is real and genuine, and it shows that unfortunately not all dreams come true.
The story of Brooklyn Dodger No. 42, Jackie Robinson, is eye-opening and inspiring. Robinson encountered his share of obstacles and adversity while becoming the first black player in the Major Leagues. Chadwick Boseman is awesome in his role as Jackie.
Mickey Rourke excels in his portrayal of a broken-down pro wrestler who is trying to clean up his mess of a life. Marisa Tomei is great in her role while trying to find direction in her life as well. This has a fabulous closing scene that takes your breath away.
10-The Longest Yard
The original version of this is outstanding with Burt Reynolds, a former college player, performing beautifully as Paul Crew. The football scene where the prisoners play against the guards, particularly the play with the blitzing linebacker, is really well done. And hilarious. It has the perfect ending.
9-Field of Dreams
This is a movie that would be No. 1 on some lists. I am an Iowa native, and I love it when a player asks, “Is this Heaven?” and Kevin Costner replies, “No, it’s Iowa.” I’ve been to the movie site in eastern Iowa, and it looks just like it did in the film. This is an excellent movie with a unique storyline and message.
This is my favorite Kevin Costner baseball movie. He absolutely kills it as Crash Davis, a disgruntled veteran player sent down to the minors to develop a promising young pitching prospect. Tim Robbins delivers in his role as the young pitcher while Susan Sarandon excels in her role. Crash debuts in the movie by saying “I’m the player to be named later.” Classic line in a classic movie.
The incredible story of the gold medal 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team is expertly captured in one of my favorite movies. The locker room scene with Herb Brooks is pure gold. Kurt Russell does a tremendous job as the U.S. coach.
There is never a dull moment in this golf movie featuring Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield. The rules of golf etiquette go out the window with shouts of “Noonan. Miss it,” ringing out while Danny Noonan lines up for a deciding putt on the final hole.
5-Million Dollar Baby
Some people call this the best sports movie ever made. Hilary Swank is terrific as an aspiring boxer while paired alongside acting legends Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride with a powerful ending. The film earned Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actress (Swank), and best supporting actor (Freeman).
This is my favorite baseball movie. And it is one that I will watch until its conclusion anytime I click on the channel it is being shown on. Bob Uecker is tremendous in his role of broadcaster Harry Doyle. His “just a bit outside” call is still mimicked decades after the movie premiered. The cast is great with Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen and Rene Russo.
This 1970s movie starring Paul Newman is a no-holds-barred, action-packed portrayal of minor-league hockey. The Hanson brothers, glasses-wearing thugs who are brought in to start fights and provide toughness, are entertaining along with an interesting group of misfit players.
What can I say? I love stories about underdogs. Hoosiers is a classic with the small farming school in Indiana upsetting the big city school to win a state championship in basketball. Gene Hackman is phenomenal, and the soundtrack is amazing. It has a dramatic ending with Jimmy Chitwood chiming in with the famous line, “I’ll make it,” before delivering on the final play.
This was an easy choice for me. Rocky is my favorite movie of all-time, regardless of category. It is the ultimate underdog story with an incredible cast. Sylvester Stallone was fantastic in his portrayal of boxer Rocky Balboa. And Carl Weathers doesn’t get enough credit for his role as Apollo Creed. The soundtrack for the movie is amazing. This movie has it all.