The 9 Most Highly Acclaimed Sports Movies of All Time
Last night was the 2015 Academy Awards. Hollywood gathered to honor the best, the brightest, and most profitable denizens of the Land Where Dreams Come True. (Which is to say, they gathered to pat themselves on the back.) Unfortunately, it was a weak year for sports movies unless you count Whiplash‘s drumming. But that’s okay. Today we’re going to take a look at the most highly acclaimed sports movies of all time anyway.
These are the cream of the sports movie crop. The titles that have survived the test of time and are watched and talked about today regardless of when they were actually released. So click on on the arrows and take a look. And if we left any of your favorite acclaimed sports movies out, let us know.
'The Pride of the Yankees'For whatever reason, boxing seems to be the sport of choice among filmmakers. One of the earlier and best boxing movies is Somebody Up There Likes Me, starring Paul Newman as Rocky Graziano. He's considered by some to be one of the chief real-life inspirations for a certain other boxer named "Rocky."
'Somebody Up There Likes Me'Up next we have yet another widely acclaimed sports movie that also stars Paul Newman. This time instead of a boxer Newman plays a hotshot pool player "Fast" Eddie Felson. The Hustler is an exploration of the exciting, sometimes seedy world of professional pool.
'The Hustler'It's a little hackneyed to describe any sports movie as being "a sports movie for people who hate sports movies," but in the case of The Bad News Bears it's pretty much unavoidable. Walter Matthau stars in one of his very greatest roles as Morris Buttermaker, the little league baseball coach/pool cleaner who won America's heart even if he didn't win the championship.
'The Bad News Bears'
Any list of the most acclaimed sports movies of all time pretty much has to include Rocky, which many people consider a favorite and which spawned approximately 8,000 sequels also starring Sylvester Stallone as the titular boxer. Ask anyone on the street to name a sports movie, and odds are pretty good they'll answer with "Rocky."
'Rocky'Slap Shot is the only hockey movie on the list, but the third from the late great Paul Newman. Slap Shot is the story of a down-on-his-luck hockey coach who encourages his team to resort to violence and dirty play in order to get ahead in hockey. You know, inspirational type stuff.
'Slap Shot'Seemingly everyone who has ever seen Bull Durham loves it, which might have something to do with why Kevin Costner has been making sports movies ever since. (He's been in even more than Paul Newman). In the end, Field of Dreams may be more cherished, but Bull Durham is more highly "acclaimed."
'Bull Durham'What? Of course professional wrestling is a real sport! If you don't believe me, just watch The Wrestler. If wrestling isn't a real sport, it still has all the heartbreak, misery, and physical jeopardy of a real sport.
Most sports movies are focused on the romance and drama of sports, with little attention going to the nuts and bolts that actually go into putting together a winning team. But one exception to the rule is Moneyball, one of the most acclaimed sports movies of the last five years. Very little conventional sports drama to be found here, but it's nevertheless riveting, whether you're a baseball fan or not.