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The Best 20 Sports Movies You Can’t Miss

Looking for the ultimate list of sports movies? Check out our top 20 picks, plus some honorable mentions. From inspirational tales to comedies, we’ve got you covered

Grab Your Popcorn! The 20 Best Sports Movies You Can’t Miss

Sports are about more than sports. There’s the drama of sports. The storylines. The comedy. Sports are often a great storytelling medium, and one of the mediums where those stories are best told is film. There have been many great sports movies since the creation of motion pictures. Below, we’ll look at 20 of the best sports movies ever.

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Must-See Sports Films: Our Top 20 Picks

20. The Waterboy

Adam Sandler made a handful of sports comedy films, including Happy Gilmore and, depending on how you might stretch the idea of “sports movies,” Uncut Gems. But The Waterboy might be his most memorable, with Sandler starring as Bobby Boucher, a water boy who ends up playing college football. Directed by Frank Coraci, The Waterboy was released in 1998 and also stars Kathy Bates and Henry Winkler.

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19. BASEketball

This 1998 comedy film directed by David Zucker stars the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as two friends who invent a new sport that combines baseball and basketball, which becomes a nationwide sensation. The film also features Jenny McCarthy and Ernest Borgnine, with cameos from athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dale Earnhardt and Reggie Jackson.

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18. Ford vs Ferrari

James Mangold’s 2019 drama focuses on the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, following a group of engineers from Ford who try to build a car to defeat perennial Le Mans winners Ferrari. The movie won Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing. Matt Damon and Christian Bale headline a star-studded cast.

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17. The Longest Yard

While the 2005 remake with Adam Sandler is a fun one, the original version of The Longest Yard, released in 1974, is the real classic. The movie, directed by Robert Aldrich, is about a group of prisoners who put together a football team to play the guards. Burt Reynolds stars as Paul Crewe, a former NFL player, and the film also features appearances from NFL players Ray Nitschke and Ray Ogden.

16. White Men Can’t Jump

While White Men Can’t Jump was remade in 2023, the 1992 version is the one that everyone thinks about when they think of classic sports comedies. Starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of streetball hustlers, the movie is widely regarded as a classic sports movie. Directed by Ron Shelton, White Men Can’t Jump also starred Rosie Perez and the movie has a classic soundtrack with tracks from artists like Boyz II Men, Queen Latifah and The O’Jays.

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15. Major League

One of the best sports comedy films is Major League, which came out in 1989. Directed by David S. Ward, the movie focuses on a fictionalized version of the Cleveland MLB team, which is inherited by Rachel Phelps, played by Margaret Whitton, who tries to tank the team’s performance so she can move it out of Cleveland. Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes headline the cast, which also features famed announcer Bob Uecker.

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14. Talladega Nights

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a NASCAR-centric sports comedy film that was released in 2006. Directed by Adam McKay, the film stars Will Ferrell as NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby and Sacha Baron Cohen as Jean Girard, his biggest rival. The movie also features John C. Reilly, Leslie Bibb and Jane Lynch, and features appearances from NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray.

13. The Karate Kid

The 1984 original Karate Kid is the film that launched the successful franchise. Directed by John G. Avildsen, the movie stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue and William Zabka and follows Macchio’s character in his journey to become a successful karate champion. The movie won Best Family Motion Picture – Drama in 1985 at the Young Artist Awards.

12. Love and Basketball

This 2000 romantic drama was Gina Prince-Bythewood’s directorial debut. It stars Sanna Lathan and Omar Epps and tells the story of the two of them pursuing basketball careers and eventually falling in love. While the movie didn’t perform as well as many others on this list at the box office, it was a critical success, and won Best Film at the 2001 Black Reel Awards, while Lathan was the winner of Best Actress at the 2001 BET Awards.

11. Rush

Something about motorsports and film just seems to go together. The third racing entry on our list is the 2013 biopic Rush, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as former Formula 1 stars James Hunt and Niki Lauda, respectively. The movie chronicles the rivalry of the two during the 1976 F1 season. Olivia Wilde and Natalie Dormer also appear in the movie, which won Best Editing at the British Academy Film Awards.

10. Moneyball

Based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis about the Oakland Athletic’s approach to team building, Moneyball came to the big screen in 2011. Starring Brad Pitt as A’s GM Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as assistant GM Jonah Hill, the movie was nominated for six Academy Awards and four Golden Globes. Bennett Miller directed the film, while Aaron Sorkin contributed to the script.

9. Miracle

This 2004 film about the United States men’s hokey team was directed by Gavin O’Connor and focuses on the famed “Miracle on Ice,” the USA’s gold medal win over the USSR in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Kurt Russell stars as Herb Brooks, the head coach of that team, with Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich and Eddie Cahill also appearing in the movie. Miracle won the Best Sports Movie ESPY Award in 2004 and received largely positive reviews after its release.

8. Murderball

While most of the movies highlighted here are scripted, let’s take a look at one of the top sports documentary films ever: Murderball, which focuses on wheelchair rugby and the rivalry between the U.S. and Canada teams ahead of the 2004 Paralympic Games. The film was directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro and won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. It’s soundtrack features bands such as Ministry, Ween and the Polyphonic Spree.

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7. Field of Dreams

You can’t talk about Iowa without talking about Field of Dreams, a movie that was so successful that MLB launched a real life version of the game featured in the movie. Based on a 1982 novel about Shoeless Joe Jackson, Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner as a farmer who builds a baseball field in a cornfield to attract legendary baseball ghosts to play. That includes Shoeless Joe, played by Ray Liotta. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson, the movie also stars James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster.

6. Hoosiers

Hoosiers was released in 1986. Directed by David Anspaugh, the film tells the story of a high school basketball team in Indiana and is inspired by the story of the 1954 state champion Milan High School team. Gene Hackman stars in the film as head coach Norman Dale, with Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper appearing as well. The movie is consistently ranked as one of the top sports films, and in 2015 it inspired the Pacers to create a jersey for Hoover High, the fictional school depicted in the movie.

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5. Hoop Dreams

Ranked as one of the best documentary films—sports or otherwise—of all time, Hoop Dreams follows two high school students in Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, as they pursue their dream of becoming professional basketball players. Directed by Steve James, Hoop Dreams—which was released in 1994—won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sundance. It was at the top of numerous year-end best movie lists that year, including Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s lists.

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4. A League of Their Own

Too many sports films focus exclusively on men’s sports, making A League of Their Own a refreshing look at women’s sports. The movie, released in 1992 and directed by Penny Marshall, tells a fictionalized story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which existed from 1943 to 1954. The movie features a star-studded cast including Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall and Bill Pullman. It received strong positive reviews after its release.

3. Raging Bull

Legendary director Martin Scorsese dipped his toes into sports films in 1980 with Raging Bull, a boxing film that tells the story of Jake LaMotta, the world middleweight champion from 1949 to 1951. Robert De Niro stars as LaMotta, with Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty playing major roles in the film as well. Raging Bull was successful on the award circuit, with De Niro winning Best Actor at the Academy Awards, which was one of eight nominations that the film received in that year’s ceremony.

2. Rocky

Rocky is arguably the best-known sports film franchise there’s ever been, and it all started in 1976 with John G. Avildsen’s first Rocky film. Written by Sylvester Stallone, who starred as the titular Rocky, the movie also starred Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Burgess Meredith. It follows Rocky, a club fighter and debt collector, after he gets a chance to fight Apollo Creed, the world heavyweight champion. It won Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards, with Stallone and Shire nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.

1. Bull Durham

Ron Shelton’s 1988 rom-com goes down as one of the best sports movies of all time, including topping Sports Illustrated’s list of the top sports films of all time. The movie stars Kevin Costner as catcher Crash Davis, who heads to Durham to play for the Durham Bulls and helps Ebby LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins, prep for a major league career. Susan Sarandon stars as love interest Annie Savoy. While it didn’t win an Academy Award, the movie did win Best Screenplay from the National Society of Film Critics.

From the Field to the Screen: Where to Watch the Best Sports Movies

Some of these top movies can be watched with a subscription to Fubo, either on the base package or with one of the many add-ons available. Those movies include BASEketball, Ford vs Ferrari, The Longest Yard, Hoop Dreams, Hoosiers, Major League, Murderball, The Waterboy and White Men Can’t Jump.

Fubo is the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform, offering 100+ live TV channels and regional sports networks. The service includes a DVR as well as on-demand content and focuses on sports programming. Fubo is the only live TV streaming platform with every Nielsen-rated sports channel. Leveraging Fubo’s proprietary data and technology platform optimized for live TV and sports viewership, subscribers can engage with the content they are watching through interactive product features like FanView, an in-video experience showcasing live game, team and player stats and scores in real-time. Fubo was also the first virtual MVPD to enable simultaneous viewing on up to four screens (Multiview on Apple TV) and the first to stream in 4K HDR. The service was ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction among Live TV Streaming Providers by J.D. Power (2022).

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Justin Carter
Justin Carter
Justin Carter is an editor and writer for Fubo.

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