Hollywood loves a good sports movie. We’ve seen all kinds of them over the years, from heartwarming underdog tales to intense dramas about individuals or teams striving for greatness.
Often, these movies are based on true stories, which makes them all the more inspiring.
We’ve seen tales of underdog teams triumphing against all odds, unlikely athletes achieving the impossible, and hard-fought battles that come down to the wire.
And while some of these movies are fictionalized for the sake of entertainment, many are based on true stories.
Best Sports Movie All Time
Sports fan or not, inspiring sports movies based on true stories are worth watching best movies of all time. Here are some of the best ones out there.
The Bad News Bears (1976)
In the Bad News Bears, children perform most of the action, and it’s one of the most politically incorrect films ever made.
Buttermaker drives them around drunk, and they start a massive brawl at the film’s end.
Rocky II (1982)
At the end of Rocky, Apollo informs him that there will be no rematch, and Rocky expresses his desire for one.
Good ending, but it’s difficult for sports fans to accept. We require some sort of resolution.
It’s the same reason that most Americans despise soccer three out of every four years: we hate ties.
Thankfully, Rocky II gave us that rematch while remaining a solid film and not seeming like a terrible cash grab.
A League of Their Own (1992)
A League of Their Own is a classic Hollywood feel-good movie about two sisters (played by Geena Davis and Lori Petty) who join an all-female professional major league baseball during World War II.
The film was directed by Penny Marshall and also stars Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna.
A League of Their Own is based on the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was founded in 1943 as a way to keep professional baseball movies alive during the war years.
Rudy is the inspirational story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin), who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame even though he doesn’t have the grades or the athletic ability.
With the help of his friend, Rudy finds a way to walk onto the team and eventually gets to play in one game.
Rudy is based on a true story, and while it takes some liberties with the facts, the overall message of determination and perseverance rings true.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Hoop Dreams is an acclaimed documentary about two African-American teenage boys from the Chicago area who are recruited to play basketball at a prestigious prep school.
The film chronicles their lives over five years as they deal with the pressure of living up to expectations, race relations, and the realities of life in the inner city.
Hoop Dreams is an inspiring story, but it’s also a brutally honest look at the dark side of the American dream.
The Hurricane (1999)
In The Hurricane, Denzel plays a boxer wrongfully imprisoned for murder. This film was a few years before Training Day, and he had the Oscar bug.
It’s a good movie, and the boxing scenes are fantastic, but Washington is excellent as a fighter who struggles with the desire to stop fighting to be free.
Remember the Titans (2000)
Remember the Titans is based on the true-to-life story of Coach Herman Boone (played by Denzel Washington), who is hired to lead a newly-integrated high school football team in Virginia in 1971.
The film follows the team as they overcome racism and prejudice to win the state championship.
While the film takes some liberties with the true story (for instance, Coach Boone was not actually the first African American coach in Virginia), it captures the essence of what it was like to live through and experience racial segregation and its impact on athletics.
The Rookie (2002)
Dennis Quaid is a high school science teacher and baseball coach who promises his team that if they win the state championship, he will try out for a minor league team.
That is partially correct. It becomes at least partly fiction when Dennis Quaid plays the guy who looks like this.
The miracle is one of those classic sports films that everyone knows and loves. It tells the story of Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell), who coached the 1980 U.S.
Olympic hockey team to victory against all odds—a victory that came to be known as the “Miracle on Ice.”
Miracle does take some liberties with Brooks’ personality and coaching methods, but it’s still an inspiring movie that captures the spirit of what happened during that historic moment in time.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Million Dollar Baby is a classic sports movie with a twist. It’s the story of Maggie Fitzgerald (played by Hilary Swank), a working-class girl from Missouri who dreams of becoming a professional boxer.
With the help of trainer Frankie Dunn (played by Clint Eastwood), Maggie gets her chance to fight for a title.
But when she suffers a devastating injury in the ring, Frankie must decide whether or not to keep training her.
Coach Carter (2005)
Coach Carter is based on the true-to-life story of Ken Carter (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who was hired to coach the basketball team at his former high school in Richmond, California.
Carter is a no-nonsense coach who quickly turns the team around and leads them to success on the court.
However, when he discovers that many of his players are failing academically, he takes drastic measures to ensure they get their education.
Karate Kid (2010)
Although it is not as powerful as the 1984 version, the 2010 Karate Kid is a surprisingly satisfying update on the original.
The Phenom (2016)
The Phenom, a powerfully acted and emotionally affecting baseball movie, demonstrates that a baseball film can step away from the mound and still deliver a heater down the middle.
The Phenom follows rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Ethan Hawke), who has arrived in the big leagues with a 100 mph fastball and a world of baggage, including an abusive father (Paul Giamatti) and years of unresolved trauma.
Upcoming Nike Film (2022)
Matt Damon will play Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, while Ben Affleck will play the sportswear label’s co-founder, Phil Knight.
According to Variety, the cast will include Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, and Marlon Wayans, among others.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting co-stars, were spotted on set in Los Angeles working on an upcoming film about Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan — a quest that would result in the biggest sneaker deal and athlete partnership ever.
Affleck will direct the movie, and the two will co-write the screenplay.
These are just a few of the best sports movies all time. If you’re looking for something inspiring, uplifting, or just plain entertaining, then be sure to check out one of these films. You won’t be disappointed.