My Favorite Sports Movies

I’m not a big basketball fan, but I have to admit that I’ve succumbed to March Madness. Partly because I can’t escape all the basketball going on in my living room as my husband enjoys our brand new 47 inch LCD tv (yes, up until just a few weeks ago, we still had the old box tv) but mostly because my beloved alma mater, the FSU Seminoles have gotten to the sweet 16 (Go Noles!)

It’s been thrilling to watch every dramatic, suspenseful, nail biting second of the games and as I sat down to write the other night I thought about how movies that revolve around sports make such great stories.

And that led me to think of some of my favorite sports movies and what I loved most about them. So I picked one favorite movie from each sport:

Basketball: Hoosiers. This one was a no brainer for me. The absolute best basketball movie of all time for me is Hoosiers. Set in the 1950s in small town Indiana starring Gene Hackman, Dennis Hooper and Barbara Hershey. It’s got heart, soul and romance. I get teary eyed every time I see it.

Football: The Replacements. This is about a bunch of ex-players and semi-losers who fill in for the real players during a pro football players strike. Coincidentally, it also stars Gene Hackman, along with Keanu Reeves. It’s got heart, soul, laughs, and romance.

Hockey: Mystery, Alaska. If you’ve never seen this movie, then run out and rent it. I fell in love with Russell Crowe while watching this! It also stars Burt Reynolds. This film has heart, laughs, and romance (did I already say I fell in love with Russell Crowe in this film?)

Baseball: Bull Durham. This is probably the sexiest sports movie you’ll ever watch. And the funniest. I’m a huge Bull Durham fan (as a matter of fact my first novel- Bunco Babes Tell All- has a Bull Durham subplot to it). It stars Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon and has probably the best lines of almost any sports movie ever.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite sports movies?

13 replies
  1. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    Mystera, Alaska is a very good movie.

    I also really enjoyed, although it was formulaic, Miracle, the one with Kurt Russel about the 1980 US Olympic Hockey win.

    That's what leaps to mind first, which is ironic because I'm not a hockey fan.

    Remember the Titans is good and schmaltzy. And, that one with Josh Lucas as the NCAA basketball coach, Glory Road. That one is pretty good.

    Oh, and John Salyles' Eight Men Out, about the Chicago Black Sox scandal. A great, big cast, including — yes it's like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon — Charlie Sheen in a smallish role around a topic he says he loves that he still wasn't that good in.

  2. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    Hey, does anyone have some to suggest with women athletes as the center of the story? I know the history of sports is male dominated so the stories thus far are, too, but I wondered about this.

    All that is floating in my head is the old Personal Best, but that one isn't so good. There was a decent television movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the golfer, and as a tanget to that Kate Hepburn (and Babe in a cameo) was a great athletic model in Pat and Mike . . . what else? I can't quite count recent ones like Bend It Like Beckham.

  3. The Stiletto Gang
    The Stiletto Gang says:


    Great topic, Maria. I love The Replacements too. The music is great! I actually purchased the sound track.

    Hoosiers is the best sports movie of all time. What else can I say!
    Rudy is a wonderful football movie, although maybe not as satisfying as some.

    Not sure if Ice Castles counts but the female figure skater movie was a favorite of mine 20 years ago. Don't know if it still holds up. The movie Miracle on Ice with the U.S. hockey team who beat the Russians is good.

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

  4. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Maria, my Jayhawks are in the Sweet Sixteen, too! So I'll be glued to the NCAA games (although we don't have a 47" TV! Your hubby must be a happy man!). "Bull Durham" and "Field of Dreams" are both on my favorite sports movies list. So glad you mentioned "Mystery, Alaska"–loved that. And I'm dying to see "Miracle," still. Need to buy that for Ed for Easter!

    Vicky, the only thing that comes to mind is "A League of Their Own," but I'm not sure if that's even what you're really looking for. (Sad that we can't think of more!)

  5. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    Susan, duh! Of course A League of Their Own (which is actually in the replay loop on Comcast cable lately) counts. I do like that one a lot (is the silly Jon Lovitz under-rated or what?).

    It is too bad we can't think of more, and it's worse that the reason is no doubt because there aren't more. Not yet, anyhow.

  6. Maria Geraci
    Maria Geraci says:

    Susan, yes! A league of Their Own is a fantastic movie. I always get teary eyed at the end!

  7. Bethany
    Bethany says:

    I am such a sucker for sports movies!! Yes, yes, and yes, on The Replacements and A League of Their Own and Mystery Alaska. But what about The Cutting Edge (ignore all B and C grade sequels) and Strictly Ballroom (don't tell me Ballroom isn't a sport)? Absolute classics!

  8. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Bethany, I loved "Strictly Ballroom," too! Wonderful, funny, and inspiring. I don't think I've seen "The Cutting Edge." Skating or hockey, I'm guessing? I'll have to look it up!

  9. Laura Spinella
    Laura Spinella says:

    I love this post, Maria! I'm with you on Hoosiers… Baseball: Field of Dreams, Hockey: Miracle, I just love that movie! When Kurt Russell keeps demanding, "Who do you play for!" And FINALLY, Mike Erizuone says, "USA" Football… hmm, I don't have a football movie, except my BFF's husband was George Clooney's double in Leather Heads. Does that count?

  10. Marilyn Brant
    Marilyn Brant says:

    Maria, I'm a total "Bull Durham" fan (and I don't even like watching baseball ;), but I have to agree with Bethany on "The Cutting Edge" — one of my favorite films of ANY genre, not just sports! (Susan, it has fabulous and funny dialogue — the woman is an ice skater, the guy is a hockey player, both Olympic level…and they end up skating together, but not necessarily liking it, LOL.)

  11. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Oh, Marilyn, I know exactly what you're talking about! I've just seen blips on TV when I'm clicking around (hate watching movies I haven't seen from the middle!). I'll have to watch the whole thing now that both you and Bethany have raved about it. I trust you guys! 🙂

  12. The Stiletto Gang
    The Stiletto Gang says:

    I saw "Bull Durham" a hundred years ago but remember getting hot and bothered by Kevin Costner, so obviously left an impression. And loved "A League of Their Own." All my favorites–Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna, Gina David, Tom Hanks–fantastic movie. Great post, Maria! Maggie

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