Maybe it’s the awe that comes with watching an athlete or team triumph over the odds and come out winning, but there’s just something empowering about a good sports movie. They can give us hope and show us that we’re not all that different – we all just want to find our place and succeed.
With football and hockey season ramping up and baseball season drawing to a close, now is the perfect time to kick back and enjoy some of the best sports movies out there. From inspiring true stories to ridiculously goofy sports comedies, here are 10 great sports films that will have you feeling like a champion – even if it’s only from the comfort of your recliner.
The Natural – Crackle
With four Oscar nominations and a legendary Hollywood cast that includes Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, and Glenn Close, this movie is about the ups and downs of life, just as much as it is baseball. Redford plays a baseball prodigy who has a promising career sidelined after being shot and makes desperate attempts to reclaim his glory and love lost.
Goon – Tubi | Netflix | Hulu
Goon’s Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) might not be the best player on the ice, but he’s really good at punching people. Spoiler alert: it’s something he does a lot in the movie. The movie tells the story of a bouncer who doesn’t have much going for him but somehow finds himself being recruited as the secret weapon for a semi-pro hockey team. It’s not so much a movie about who scores the winning goal, but who delivers the most black eyes.
Miracle – Netflix
The second hockey movie on our list, Miracle is based on the real-life story of the U.S. men’s hockey team who faced down the nearly invincible and heavily favored Soviets at the 1980 Olympics. Kurt Russell plays team USA’s coach and delivers an impassioned performance that’s sure to have you chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” by the time the credits roll.
Talladega Nights – Hulu | Crackle
Whereas Miracle is all about the glory of a team accomplishing the impossible, Talladega Nights is the total opposite. Will Ferrell is all ego in this hilarious spoof on stock car racing with Ricky Bobby doing whatever it takes to beat his Perrier-drinking nemesis, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen). The movie is jammed full of quotable lines and is best viewed with a friend and a “bountiful harvest of Dominoes and the always delicious Taco Bell.” Shake ‘n bake!
Trouble With The Curve – Netflix
While most sports movies understandably tend to place the focus on an athlete or team, this Clint Eastwood-directed flick aims to tell the story of a baseball scout in the twilight of his career. Amy Adams plays Eastwood’s daughter who tags along with him as he tries to make one last great recruiting trip, despite his failing eyesight. The movie is sure to tug at your heartstrings as a father and daughter come to grips with their differences, all while sharing everything they love about the game.
Kingpin – Tubi | Crackle | Epix
Sports movies about a onetime great athlete shooting for a comeback are a dime a dozen, but few movies turn the trope on its head quite like this 90s movie by the Farrelly brothers. Woody Harrelson plays a washed-up bowling champion with a hook for a hand who sets his sights on helping an Amish man rise to the top and defeat his arch-rival (Bill Murray). There aren’t a lot of bowling movies out there, but this is without a doubt the funniest.
42 – Netflix
This powerful biopic tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first athlete to break the color barrier when he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The film centers on Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and the backlash he faced when former ballplayer turned sports executive, Branch Rickey ultimately signs him to the team in the face of controversy. It’s a powerful movie that encompasses the spirit of sports and giving it one’s all, even when the odds are stacked against you.
The Karate Kid Trilogy – Vudu | Crackle
If you’ve never seen the original Karate Kid movie from 1984, then you owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss was about. Just about everyone knows what it can feel like to be an outsider and this movie tells the story of Daniel, (Ralph Macchio) a teenager from New Jersey who is struggling to fit in at his new Southern California high school. If you’re in need of a movie that will have you rooting for the underdog, this is it!
Friday Night Lights – Netflix
It might only be small-town high school football, but the stakes are just as high as any Super Bowl game for the teenagers in this true story sports drama. The movie takes place in Odessa, Texas and tells the story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers who push through both sports and personal obstacles for their shot at the state championship. The film was a hit with critics and audiences alike and of course, led to the popular TV show a few years later.
Cinderella Man – Netflix
Director Ron Howard and Russell Crowe tell the story of James Braddock, an Irish immigrant who’s at the end of his rope and struggling to support his family. The film takes place during the Great Depression and follows James as he revisits his boxing career in the last ditch effort of taking home the heavyweight title. The movie would go on to get multiple Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and is arguably one of the best boxing films ever made.