Sports movies have always been a part of our lives. From the iconic boxing film "Rocky" to the heartwarming baseball movie "The Sandlot," there's no shortage of beloved sports flicks that have captured the hearts of viewers around the world. However, some sports movies have flown under the radar and don't get as much attention as others. These hidden gems are sometimes just as compelling and entertaining as their more famous counterparts and deserve some more love. In this article, we'll be exploring 10 sports movies that if you haven't seen, you should. If you're favorite movie didn't make the cut here, let me know what I missed in the comments.
1. The Hurricane (1999)
The Hurricane is based on the real story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a middleweight boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent nearly two decades in prison. Denzel Washington plays Hurricane Carter and (as always) delivers an amazing performance. The film follows Carter's journey as he fights for his freedom and exoneration with the help of a group of supporters. Along with some stellar boxing scenes, this film (pun 100% intended) packs an emotional punch. It’s truly a story of perseverance and it has everything you’d want in a sports movie.
2. Blue Chips (1994)
This 90's gem stars Nick Nolte as a college basketball coach who's willing to do whatever it takes to keep his team on top. The movie follows his moral dilemma as he struggles to make the hard choices between doing what's right and winning at all costs. It's a great look at the pressures of college sports and the lengths some coaches will go to stay competitive. Blue Chips features Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway in prominent roles, and even Larry Bird makes an appearance. If you’re a hoops fan this movie is definitely for you, and if you’re just looking for a good story, it’s worth checking out too.
3. Cool Runnings (1993)
This movie is an absolute classic. Based on a true story, Cool Runnings follows the Jamaican bobsled team as they compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics. The film is a great mix of comedy (Sanka alone is worth the price of admission) and drama as the team navigates its way through the competition and learns valuable lessons about friendship and believing in yourself. It’s an inspiring story that’s sure to put a smile on your face, and it’s one of those rare sports movies that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you haven’t seen this one yet, trust me when I say that it's worth your time.
4. Draft Day (2014)
Kevin Costner and sports movies go together like peanut butter and jelly, and Draft Day is no exception. Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns who must make the tough decisions on which players to draft in order to turn his team around. This movie is a great look at the inner workings of an NFL front office, and it does a great job showing what it takes to build a winning team. It's full of great performances as well, with Costner being joined by Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, and former NFL RB Arian Foster among others. Draft Day may not have been as well received as some of Costner's other sports movies, but if you like football you'll like this movie.
5. Warrior (2011)
Warrior is not just a great sports movie, it's a great movie period. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of my favorite movies of all time. It leaves me feeling like I could run through a wall. The story follows two estranged brothers who enter a mixed martial arts tournament for a shot at the big time. It's a great mix of drama, action, and emotion as both brothers must learn to overcome their weaknesses to reach their goals. The fight scenes are intense, and the performances by Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte are outstanding. If you haven't seen this one yet, put it at the top of your list.
6. Baseketball (1998)
This one is for all the comedy fans out there. Starring South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Baseketball is a hilarious take on the world of competitive sports. There's some pretty hardcore jokes in this one so if you're a kid definitely run it by your parents before watching it (or at least don't say I told you to watch it). The movie follows two slackers who invent their own sport, a combination of basketball and baseball, which quickly becomes an international sensation. It's full of great gags and cameos, and even though it's been over 20 years since it first came out it still holds up today. Honestly, this movie was pretty spot-on in predicting the future of sports entertainment. Whether you're a fan of South Park or just looking for a good laugh, Baseketball is worth watching.
7. The 6th Man (1997)
This hilarious and heartwarming movie follows the story of two brothers who play for a college basketball team. When one of them tragically dies during a game, he comes back as a ghost to help his brother and the team win. The movie is a wild one, as you can tell by the premise, but it honestly manages to tug on your heartstrings anyway. At its core, it's an inspiring story of brotherhood and perseverance, with lots of touching moments. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously, so there's plenty of laughs to be had as well. If you're looking for a feel-good sports movie, give The 6th Man a watch.
8. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Happy Gilmore may be a bit too iconic to be on this list, but I don't really care because I love this movie. It's one of the most quotable comedy movies of all time and it's a great watch no matter how many times you've seen it. Adam Sandler stars as a horrible hockey player who discovers he has a knack for golf, and decides to use his newfound talent to try and win some money. It's full of heart and has some of the best one-liners in movie history. This movie is a great comedy and a great sports movie, I've seen it no less than 100 times and I couldn't recommend it more highly. If you're looking for more sports movies beyond this list, check out the Sandman's other sports movies too, they're all entertaining.
9. Rookie of the Year (1993)
This is one of my personal favorites from childhood. Henry Rowengartner is an iconic character and the movie is a classic. The story follows a young boy who is a mediocre baseball player. He breaks his arm and somehow after healing he miraculously discovers he has a 100 mph fastball. He goes on to play for the Chicago Cubs and helps them in their quest for the World Series. As is the case with many sports movies, it's a great underdog story. It's got everything you'd want in a sports movie, with plenty of laughs and heartwarming moments throughout. It's a great watch for the whole family.
10. Mr. 3000 (2004)
I'm not sure if this movie is as good as I think considering it's got some pretty awful reviews, but I love it. Mr. 3000 follows the story of Stan Ross (Bernie Mac RIP), a narcissistic retired baseball player who bases his whole identity on the fact that he got 3,000 hits. After discovering that they miscounted his hits and that he was three hits short of the milestone, he decides to come out of retirement and make a comeback at the age of 47. The Brewers let the legend come back because their team is struggling and they think it could help with their attendance issues. It's not a groundbreaking film and it certainly didn't win any awards, but it's funny and has some heartwarming moments. All in all, it's an enjoyable watch if you're looking for something a little different in a sports movie.
Angels in the Outfield
The Air Up There
Sports movies at their best just hit different. The ones I listed above aren't necessarily the cream of the crop, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching them and I hope you do to. It doesn't matter what sport you love, there's a sports movie out there for you. So, the next time you're looking for something new to watch, give one of these lesser-known movies a chance. Who knows, you may just find your new favorite.
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