20 Best Sports Movies

by paul_cowsill | created - 23 Oct 2010 | updated - 12 Mar 2011 | Public

(In chronological order)

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1. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Sport

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A juvenile offender at a tough reform school impresses its governor with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay, Avis Bunnage, Alec McCowen

Votes: 6,441

IMDB Users: 7.7 / Rotten Critics: 74 / Rotten Audience: 87

2. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

8.1
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69 Metascore

Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 430,703 | Gross: $117.24M

IMDB Users: 8.1 / Rotten Critics: 93 / Rotten Audience: 65

3. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

8.2
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92 Metascore

Emotionally self-destructive boxer, Jake La Motta's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 263,200 | Gross: $23.38M

IMDB Users: 8.4 / Rotten Critics: 98 / Rotten Audience: 92

4. Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.2
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78 Metascore

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers

Votes: 45,499 | Gross: $58.97M

IMDB Users: 7.2 / Rotten Critics: 86 / Rotten Audience: 77

5. Hoosiers (1986)

PG | 114 min | Drama, Sport

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship.

Director: David Anspaugh | Stars: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, Sheb Wooley

Votes: 37,292 | Gross: $28.61M

IMDB Users: 7.5 / Rotten Critics: 88 / Rotten Audience: 87

6. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

8.3
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98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 21,094 | Gross: $7.83M

IMDB Users: 8.2 / Rotten Critics: 98 / Rotten Audience: 92

7. When We Were Kings (1996)

PG | 88 min | Documentary, Sport

8.0
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83 Metascore

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

Director: Leon Gast | Stars: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown

Votes: 13,281 | Gross: $2.67M

IMDB Users: 7.8 / Rotten Critics: 98 / Rotten Audience: 91

8. Without Limits (1998)

PG-13 | 117 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.2
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The life of renowned runner Steve Prefontaine and his relationship with legendary coach Bill Bowerman.

Director: Robert Towne | Stars: Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland, Monica Potter, Jeremy Sisto

Votes: 6,128 | Gross: $0.78M

IMDB Users: 7.0 / Rotten Critics: 78 / Rotten Audience: 88

9. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Sport

7.7
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76 Metascore

Documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team.

Director: Stacy Peralta | Stars: Sean Penn, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Jeff Ament

Votes: 11,042 | Gross: $1.29M

IMDB Users: 7.5 / Rotten Critics: 91 / Rotten Audience: 86

10. Swimming Upstream (2003)

PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.2
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58 Metascore

The inspirational life story of Australian swimmer Tony Fingleton.

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Jesse Spencer, Tim Draxl

Votes: 2,964 | Gross: $0.05M

IMDB Users: 7.1 / Rotten Critics: 61 / Rotten Audience: 77

11. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

8.1
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82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 29,527 | Gross: $4.58M

IMDB Users: 8.0 / Rotten Critics: 93 / Rotten Audience: 91

12. Friday Night Lights (2004)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Drama, Sport

7.3
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70 Metascore

Based on H.G. Bissinger's book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke, Lucas Black

Votes: 51,277 | Gross: $61.19M

IMDB Users: 7.2 / Rotten Critics: 81 / Rotten Audience: 84

13. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

PG-13 | 132 min | Drama, Sport

8.1
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86 Metascore

A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel

Votes: 542,855 | Gross: $100.49M

IMDB Users: 8.2 / Rotten Critics: 92 / Rotten Audience: 87

14. Miracle (2004)

PG | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.5
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68 Metascore

Miracle tells the true story of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

Director: Gavin O'Connor | Stars: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Nathan West, Noah Emmerich

Votes: 40,178 | Gross: $64.38M

IMDB Users: 7.4 / Rotten Critics: 80 / Rotten Audience: 88

15. Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)

TV-PG | 214 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

8.3
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The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight boxing champion.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Arkin

Votes: 1,134

IMDB Users: 8.3 / Rotten Critics: N/A / Rotten Audience: 84

16. Cinderella Man (2005)

PG-13 | 144 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

8.0
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69 Metascore

The story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti

Votes: 159,345 | Gross: $61.65M

IMDB Users: 8/ Rotten Critics: 80 / Rotten Audience: 88

17. First Ascent (2006 Video)

90 min | Action, Adventure

7.5
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"First Ascent" is unlike any mountain climbing film you've ever seen. Join Swiss climber Didier Berthod as he attempts the impossible - to become the first man ever to climb the insanely ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen | Stars: Didier Berthod, David Lama, Timmy O'Neill, Kevin Perez

Votes: 205

IMDB Users: 7.2/ Rotten Critics: N/A / Rotten Audience: N/A

18. The Flying Scotsman (2006)

PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Sport

7.1
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49 Metascore

The true story of Graeme Obree, the Champion cyclist who built his bicycle from old bits of washing machines who won his championship only to have his title stripped from him and his mental health problems which he has suffered since.

Director: Douglas Mackinnon | Stars: Jonny Lee Miller, Laura Fraser, Brian Cox, Sean Brown

Votes: 4,616 | Gross: $0.14M

IMDB Users: 7 / Rotten Top Critics: 67 / Rotten Audience: 50

19. The Wrestler (2008)

R | 109 min | Drama, Sport

7.9
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81 Metascore

A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis

Votes: 268,127 | Gross: $26.24M

IMDB Users: 8.2 / Rotten Critics: 98 / Rotten Audience: 96

20. The Fighter (I) (2010)

R | 116 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.8
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79 Metascore

A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

Votes: 300,189 | Gross: $93.62M

IMDB Users: 8.1 / Rotten Critics: 90 / Rotten Audience: 90