From Jerry Maguire to Moneyball: The top ten sports films of all time

Sport360 staff 20:30 26/02/2017
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With Oscars fever at a high ahead of Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, we take a look at some of the best sports films of all-time.

What do you make of our choices?

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An early Martin Scorsese film, Raging Bull dramatises the true story of Italian-American boxer Jake LaMotta, played by Robert DeNiro. Although it was only a minor hit at the box office, it is now regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. DeNiro won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.


While most sports films focus on the stars behind the great moments, Jerry Maguire is about the people behind the stars. Tom Cruise plays sports agent Jerry Maguire in a film full of sporting drama and iconic dialogue, along with a classic tale of redemption. Cruise earned a Best Actor nomination.


The true story of one of the greatest upsets in sporting history – Team USA’s win over the mighty USSR in ice hockey at the 1980 Olympics. Kurt Russell plays legendary coach Herb Brooks, who united an underrated USA team to win Olympic gold.


The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless boy, who became a first round pick in the NFL draft and now plays with the Carolina Panthers. Sandra Bullock  – Oher’s adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy in the film – won the Oscar for Best Actress.


Ron Howard’s biopic about the epic rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt has become an instant classic. You don’t need to be a die-hard Formula One fan to watch this film, which shows the Lauda-Hunt rivalry from its early days to the chase for the 1976 World Championship.


Widely considered the best sports film of all-time, Rocky is the story of a down-on-his-luck boxer who goes toe-to-toe with the world champion. It has been immortalised in pop and sporting culture as the ultimate underdog story. The film won the Best Picture award in 1976 and is arguably the movie most synonymous with Sylvester Stallone.


Brian Clough’s ill-fated, 44-day reign as manager of Leeds United was first made into a best-selling novel, which was then adapted into this film starring Michael Sheen. The film is fictional but based on true events, and Sheen delivers an excellent performance in depicting Clough’s outsized personality.


The film centers on the lives of a professional boxer and his half-brother, played by Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo also star in the film, with Leo winning the Academy Award for Supporting Actress. Bale won Supporting Actor.


A cast featuring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, Invictus tells the story of how the South African rugby team brought the nation together during their 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph, with Damon playing captain Francois Pienaar and Freeman playing Nelson Mandela.


Another sports film which won an Oscar for Best Picture, Chariots of Fire tells the true story of Jewish athlete Harold Abrahams and Scottish Christian athlete Eric Liddell, both of whom represent Great Britain at the 1924 Olympics. In different ways, both athletes had to overcome obstacles due to their religion, but they found a way to make it to the top.


One of the more famous sports films, Moneyball tells the story of the strategy to build competitive sports teams using statistics and player analysis. Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, who became one of baseball’s best teams based on their sabermetric approach to scouting players.

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