Sports movies are very tough to get right. Like any movie, the script, acting, and directing all have to be in sync with each other. However, the bigger challenge lies in the portrayal of the sport. In other words, how accurate is the play on the field, course or the court in the movie? Is it realistic? Can the actors pass as athletes? That’s where the difficulty lies. The movies that balance the usual components of a film with the sports aspects tend to be more successful.
With all that being said, what is the greatest sports movie of all-time? Here is my top five.
“Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight.” If this speech does not want to make you run through a brick wall, then you don’t have a pulse. When it comes to greatest hockey movies, the older generation is going to side with Slap Shot. My generation might side with The Mighty Ducks series first and foremost, but I’m giving the nod to Miracle in my top 5. One of the biggest reasons why Miracle was so successful is due to the fact that it looks like a real hockey game. It’s so hard to “fake” hockey. You need actors who can skate, handle the puck, and look like hockey players. The movie looked very realistic on the ice and that’s a credit to the actors and former hockey players in the movie. Plus, Kurt Russell was born to play Herb Brooks.
4. OJ: Made In America
Can a documentary about sports be on the list of greatest sports movies? Yes. In fact, I would go as far to say that every list needs to include at least one documentary. My pick is for ESPN’s OJ: Made In America, which is the greatest 30 for 30 ever created. I have no idea as to why 2016 was the year for programs centered around O.J. Simpson (American Crime Story and OJ: Made In America were both released in 2016), but I loved every second of it. This five-part miniseries directed by Ezra Edelman brilliantly covered Oj’s life before, during, and after the famous “Trial of the Century.” The documentary did a fantastic job showcasing the popularity of Oj Simpson from the late 1960s to the 1990s. It’s hard for me to grasp just how popular O.J. was since I was not alive during his peak of popularity. But ask yourself this: What athlete has the power to go away from NBA Finals coverage for a car chase? LeBron James and Tom Brady are the only two names that come to mind. O.J. was a living legend at the time of his crime and his rise and tragic fall in the film was brilliantly documented.
Taking a “boring” sport and making into a comedy was a genius decision. Before Happy Gilmore and Tin Cup, there was Caddyshack, which remains the best golf movie of all-time. In fact, it’s one of the best sports movie of all-time. It’s a murderer’s row of comedians starring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield. Plus, the legendary Harold Ramis wrote and directed the film. Caddyshack is funny for all ages and has held the test of time for almost four decades. It has juvenile and dirty humor, but it also has a dancing gopher and an abundance of one-liners that are said on every golf course in America.
2. Friday Night Lights
Be perfect, win state. Friday Night Lights not only serves as a sports movie, but also a high school movie. Based on the book of the same name, Friday Night Lights is an inside look into the town of Odessa, Texas, that is obsessed with high school football and how the players and coaches deal with the pressure to win. Although football is the main theme and may not be relatable to everyone, the idea of escaping a small town and realizing that there is more to life than high school football is very prevalent throughout the film. It’s the best high school football ever made.
What can be more popular than Texas high school football? That title belongs to Indiana high school basketball Nothing gets me going like an underdog story. For my number one sports movie, I’m siding with the unlikely tale of small-town Indiana basketball team that wins the state championship in Hoosiers. The movie is all about team and coming together as one, but the movie succeeds thanks to Gene Hackman, who plays the tough-loving Norman Dale, and Dennis Hopper, who stars as the town-drunk turned basketball assistant Shooter Flatch. Though it may be predictable, Hoosier’s charm and lovable basketball team propel this story to the top as it is the greatest sports movie of all-time.
What do you believe is the greatest sports movie of all-time? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @unafraidshow.