Who doesn’t love a good sports movie? Regardless of the sport, a good sports movie is able to inspire the audience and show that in sports and in life, there is no obstacle too big to overcome. These sports movies show that with enough effort and a relentless pursuit, anything is possible.
The other great thing about the majority of these sports movies is that they are based on a true story. You will be able to get an in-depth look at some of the most amazing sports stories in history, from being able to follow Jackie Robinson as he broke down barrier after barrier to Ford vs. Ferrari to Surfing, this list of the best sports movies is going to cover it all. So whether you are a baseball fan, basketball fan, or anything in between, you will have all of the sports you can handle.
Not only are these movies entertaining, but they are inspirational sports movies as well. It wouldn’t be surprising if you were ready to go out and conquer your own dreams after watching a couple of these sports movies!
When you finish this list of the top sports movies, make sure you visit our list of the best sports books for even more sports-related content.
Main Actors: Sylvester Stallone, James Andelin, Kevin Fennessy
IMDb Rating: 8.1
About Sports Movie: Not only one of the best sports movies of all time but also arguably one of the best sports movie series as well. Rocky starts as a humble boxer in the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia). He must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds as he faces the heavyweight champion of the world in Appolo Creed. What makes Rocky’s journey so meaningful is the battles that he must fight both inside and outside of the ring. So if you are someone that always seems to be rooting for the underdog, make sure you give the Rocky Series a watch. When you are finished with that, the Creed series also is excellent and continues the story.
Main Actors: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
IMDb Rating: 8.1
About Sports Movie: High-speed racing has never been so exciting! When American car designer Carroll Shelby (who you might recognize from also designing the Shelby Mustang) and British race car driver Ken Miles are hired by Ford to take on Ferrari in 1966, the task almost seems laughable. With only 90 days, they must build a supercar to not only compete but beat Ferrari in the 24 hour Le Mans race. What makes this sports movie so great is that it is based on a real story, and it shows what they were able to accomplish on the track, but also overcome in real life.
Main Actors: Barbara Hershey, Will Dewitt, Tim Fogarty
IMDb Rating: 7.5
About Sports Movie: Whether you are a basketball fan or not, you are going to love Hoosiers! The movie is based on the true story of a small-town basketball team from Indiana. Their journey consists of having to overcome many “Goliaths” during their season, as well as personal issues off of the court. As you watch the movie, you will better understand how vital small-town sports are to its residents, and then also how much it matters to the players competing. It is easy to see how Hoosiers made our list of the top sports movies.
About Sports Movie: Moneyball is not your traditional underdog sports story. Instead of focusing on a single-player or small group of players, it is going to be about the entire organization. Each year, the Oakland A’s are forced to compete with a much smaller budget than most of the other teams in Major League Baseball. So how do they get the players and team that they need to win games? This is where the story picks up with general manager Billy Beane and his new computer-generated player analysis. You will be able to see how he uses unbiased numbers to put together the best possible team with the resources that they have.
Main Actors: Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, Mariann Gavelo
IMDb Rating: 7.4
About Sports Movie: Jim White (Kevin Costner) has just been fired as a high school football coach and must move his family to McFarland for a new job. This time, though, he is going to be the cross country coach for a school that has never won anything. Dealing with more than just sports and school, Coach White must help his players navigate life and learn how to be winners. As with most Disney sports movies, this movie is heartfelt and filled with excellent actors throughout.
Main Actors: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons
IMDb Rating: 7.1
About Sports Movie: One of the best things about sports is that they can be about more than just a single game, race, or event. This sports movie follows one of the greatest track and field athletes in history, Jesse Owens, as he competes in the 1936 Olympics. These Olympic games happen to take place in Berlin, Germany, in front of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Jesse Owens overcomes on the field and off the field obstacles as he shows how great of an athlete and human being he is.
Main Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde
IMDb Rating: 8.1
About Sports Movie: When it comes to sports rivalries, it doesn’t get more intense than this. Formula One race car drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda become obsessed with beating each other and being the best in the sport. The peak of their rivalry comes in an unforgettable 1975 season that shows just how much each of these drivers wants it. Whether you are a racing fan or not, Rush is one of the top sports movies and is sure to leave you thrilled, inspired, and ready to pursue your own passions.
Main Actors: Jack O’Connell, Domnhall Gleeson, Miyavi
IMDb Rating: 7.2
About Sports Movie: Maybe not your typical sports movie, Unbroken is still one of the most inspirational movies you will ever watch. It follows the story of American hero Louie Zamperini and his unbreakable spirit that allows him to continue to fight on no matter what is thrown at him. Louie, an Olympic runner, survives a plane crash in WWII and then spends 47 days in a floating raft in the Pacific. As he thinks help is coming, he realizes that it is the Japanese navy and gets sent to a prisoner-of-war camp where his greatest challenges and struggles still await him. No matter what, though, he continues to stay strong and persevere.
Main Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
IMDb Rating: 7.5
About Sports Movie: Sports can be more than just a game at times. They are a way to breakdown barriers and unite people, but this is not always easy to do. No one knows this better than Jackie Robinson. As one of the best baseball players to ever play the game, Jackie was in the spotlight, but not only because of his skills. He was also the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The movie 42 shows Jackie Robinson’s true courage and how he used his gifts to overcome racism and fight for a better world.
Main Actors: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
IMDb Rating: 7.6
About Sports Movie: This sports movie shows what can be accomplished when someone takes the time to care and invest in another person. The Blind Side is about the story of Michael Oher and how he went from not even being interested in football to playing in the NFL and being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. It all started with the Touhy’s showing interest in helping young Michael out and then introducing him to the game of football that he fell in love with. Along with this being an excellent sports movie, it is also a superb football gift for anyone in your life that enjoys football.
Main Actors: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’ o, Madina Nalwanga
IMDb Rating: 7.4
About Sports Movie: If you are looking for inspirational sports movies, look no further than the Queen of Katwe. From a small African town and not even knowing the rules of chess, Phiona Mutesi goes on to win the World Chess Olympiads. Her courage shines throughout the movie as she must overcome so many different obstacles to achieve her dreams. And, with Disney capturing this story perfectly, it is not only one of the best sports movies, but also an excellent feel-good movie regardless of whether you like sports or not.
Main Actors: Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue
IMDb Rating: 7
About Sports Movie: You may not quite understand wanting to surf gigantic waves, but Jay Moriarity dreams of being able to do it one day. In order to get ready to surf a “Maverick,” thought, Jay needs the correct training. That is where Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) comes into play. However, Frosty is not your typical coach and only agrees reluctantly to help Jay train to become a big wave surfer. Throughout the movie, though, it is clear that they are both there for each other in more ways than surfing, and it shows how meaningful real relationships are in life.
Main Actors: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh
IMDb Rating: 7.2
About Sports Movie: There is just something about horse racing that continues to capture people’s attention even to this day. The power and speed that accompanies a race like the Kentucky Derby are genuinely amazing to witness. Secretariat is a horse that took this power and speed t a whole new level as it won the Triple Crown in 1973 and won the Belmont Stakes by a record 31 lengths. As much as this movie is about a horse, though, it is also about Penny Chenery, who takes over her father’s stables and believes in Secretariat. The film shows her journey and perseverance as she must navigate through the male-dominated sport of horse racing.
Main Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti, Robert Ri’chard
IMDb Rating: 7.3
About Sports Movie: When it comes to learning discipline, there is no one better to learn from than Coach Carter. This sports movie is going to center around the sport of basketball and the relationships that a tough-nosed coach is able to build with his team of young, undisciplined athletes. Coach Carter shows that it is more than just what happens between the lines, and that to truly coach young athletes, you need to be invested in them on a personal level as well.
About Sports Movie: Possibly the most well-known sports movie of all time, Rudy shows that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. The story of Rudy starts when he was a young boy and shows his love for all things Notre Dame football and his desire to play there one day. As he got older, he quickly realized that he wasn’t as naturally gifted as other athletes. That never stopped him from giving maximum effort in everything that he did, though. And, even when everyone said that he would never be able to play for Notre Dame, and even after so many doors closed, he continued to pursue his dream of playing for the Fighting Irish.
Main Actors: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
IMDb Rating: 6.6
About Sports Movie: Whether you call it football or soccer, this is an excellent sports movie that will provide plenty of laughs and thoughtful moments. The story takes place in London, where an 18-year old British Indian girl loves soccer but is forbidden to play by her parents. As she joins a local women’s team, she begins to develop relationships and enjoys playing the game that she loves. Off of the field, though, she must navigate her parents and the rules that they have placed on her. For a fun and inspiring sports movie, Bend it Like Beckham is an excellent choice.
Main Actors: Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Elisabeth Shue
IMDb Rating: 7.2
About Sports Movie: After moving from New Jersey to California, Daniel LaRusso finds himself being bullied by a group of karate students from his new school. With a little help from Mr. Miyagi, Daniel learns some karate, but ultimately what karate is really about. Everything culminates with Daniel having to take on his bullies at the All-Valley Karate Tournament as he must face his fears.
Main Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams
IMDb Rating: 7.8
About Sports Movie: Anytime Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale share a screen, you can pretty much bet it is going to be a great movie, and The Fighter is no exception. This sports movie focuses on the story of two brothers and the sometimes detrimental roles family can play in someone’s life. Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a professional boxer, and his half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is an ex-boxer who finds himself addicted to drugs. Throughout the movie, Micky must figure out the right path for his career, how to handle family, and how to be successful in life.
Main Actors: Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawkes
IMDb Rating: 6.4
About Sports Movie: This inspirational sports movie is full of ups and downs. It shows the importance of investing in others, but also the hard realities of life. The film starts with Connor O’Neill (Keanu Reeves) owing money on a gambling bet with no way to pay it back. Only thinking about the money, he agrees to coach an inner-city youth baseball team for $500 a week to pay off the debt. Before he knows it, though, he finds that he cares about the kids and is not only there for them on the field, but off of it as well. Hardball is a story of redemption and hope for a better world.
Main Actors: Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Alfre Woodard
IMDb Rating: 7.2
About Sports Movie: Arguably, the best basketball sports movie of all time, Love and Basketball, is a much watch. The movie follows the story of two young basketball players as they grow up and pursue their basketball dreams. As one of these basketball players is a young man and the other a girl, they must also navigate their feelings for each other as well. With an up and down relationship and plenty of mistakes on both sides, it is unsure of whether they will end up together in the end or not.
Main Actors: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich, Gavin O’Conner
IMDb Rating: 7.5
About Sports Movie: When it comes to sports miracles, this movie is aptly named. Miracle features the story of the 1980 winter Olympics men’s hockey team and what they overcame to achieve Gold. At the time, only amateur athletes were allowed to participate in the Olympics, so the US team was full of young college-age players. On the flip side, the USSR was full of grown men who were hardened hockey players and been playing together for years. The young US team was never given a chance until they were able to pull off one of the most significant underdog victories in the history of sports. If you know a hockey fan, try giving them this movie as a hockey gift or maybe as a gift to yourself.
About Sports Movie: This fictional sports movie represents how the women of America stepped up during WWII in so many different ways. With many of the able-bodied men going overseas to war, women were needed to step up and fill a variety of different jobs, and in this movie, one of those jobs was playing baseball. A League of Their Own is about a group of women that came together to play in an all women’s baseball league to help provide entertainment for Americans all across the country. The movie is filled with fun and excitement, but it also addresses some of the different challenges that women have faced over the years in sports.
Main Actors: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
IMDb Rating: 7.1
About Sports Movie: The setting for the movie Bull Durham takes place in the Minor Leagues and is full of witty humor and exciting action. “Crash” Davis (Kevin Costner) is a 12-year veteran catcher that has been brought in to help the new star pitcher prepare for the Big Leagues. With a rocky start, both players begin to dislike each other, and it is only made worse when a woman is thrown into the mix, and they both begin to compete for her affection. With excellent back and forth and a number of great actors, Bull Durham is easily one of the top sports movies out there.
Main Actors: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
IMDb Rating: 8.1
About Sports Movie: The movie Million Dollar Baby shows that it is never too late to follow your dreams. After moving from Missouri to LA, Maggie (Hillary Swank) asks boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to train her, but he refuses. He says that she is too old and wasting her time. After showing up to the gym every day, though, and continuing to work on her own, Frankie eventually gives her a shot. And while this story starts out with plenty of promise and hope, it quickly turns dark, and some tough choices must be made. When it comes to viewer ratings, this is one of the top sports movies of all time.
Main Actors: James Andelin, Kevin Fennessy, Joe Glasberg, Kevin Costner
IMDb Rating: 7.5
About Sports Movie: Typically, when dealing with ghosts, movies can get scary pretty quickly, but not in this case. Field of Dreams is about an Iowa corn farmer that hears the call to build a baseball diamond in one of his fields. And despite the financial loss and doubts from those around him, he continues to build his field of dreams that is eventually filled with some of the best baseball players ever to play the game. This is a fun sports movie that will provide humor and fun, as well as an entertaining storyline.
Best Sports Movies Conclusion
When you are living life the right way, it is full of passion and a pursuit of your dreams. Unfortunately, it can be easy to fall away from what really matters at times. This list of sports movies is an excellent reminder of people who stuck with their dreams and passions even when others thought it might not happen, even when they sometimes thought it wouldn’t happen.
This is an excellent reminder to everyone and a challenge to continue to pursue your goals. Whether it is fitness, work, a hobby, or whatever, these sports movies and sports will remind you and inspire you to continue on.
So start with the sports movie that most appeals to you, or begin at the top and work your way down; either way, make sure to take advantage of this list of the top sports movies and start challenging yourself to live your best life. Also, a lot of these movies are available to stream online as well, so you could be watching one of them within a matter of minutes.
Have you seen one of these sports movies already? If so, we would love to hear your feedback in the comments below, just no spoilers, please. Also, if you think we accidentally left off a movie that should’ve made the list, please feel free to let us know that as well in the comments.