Summer is a great time to watch a movie. One of the traditions my wife started with our family is watching a movie in our driveway. We project the movie onto our garage and then we invite the neighbors, have snacks, break out the lawn chairs, and enjoy a great night of fun. Summer evenings are perfect for sitting outside and watching a movie! It’s a great way to spend time with the family and to build some memories that will last well into the future. With that said, I’ve recently been thinking about my top ten all-time favorite sports movies. There are so many good sports movies that it was really hard to narrow the list down to ten! The only criteria I used to determine the top ten were that the movies had to have a rating of no higher than PG. The main point of these movies is that you can watch them with the whole family. So without further ado, here is my top ten.
- Brian’s Song (G – 1971)
This is a movie that kind of flies under the radar but is definitely worth watching. The movie details the relationship between Chicago Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Despite competing for the same position, Sayers and Piccolo developed a strong friendship that transcended the game of football. During the 1969 season, Piccolo begins to have trouble breathing and maintaining his weight and is eventually diagnosed with cancer. One of the best parts of the movie is when Sayers is awarded the “George S. Halas Most Courageous Player Award,” and he dedicates his speech to Piccolo and tells the crowd they selected the wrong person for the award. In the midst of Piccolo’s courageous bout with cancer, the movie shows what being a great friend and teammate is all about.
- The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend (G – 1991)
Another lesser known excellent movie that is definitely worth watching is The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. This movie details how Pete Maravich was encouraged by his dad to pursue his dream of becoming a great basketball player. I can always tell when my son has just watched this movie because I usually find him bouncing the basketball throughout the house!
- Seven Days in Utopia (G – 2011)
Okay, so I had to include at least one golf movie on my list since I am a huge golf fan! Seven Days in Utopia is based off the book Golf’s Sacred Journey. The movie is about a professional golfer who is struggling with his game. After having a bad round, he finds wisdom and guidance from an unlikely place. Overall, it’s a great family movie and the fact that it is about golf is an added bonus!
- The Sandlot (PG – 1993)
A list of the top ten sports movies would not be complete without The Sandlot. This movie is about a kid who moves into a new neighborhood and makes friends with some of the local kids by playing baseball on the sandlot. I especially love this movie because it always reminds me of growing up and playing baseball with the kids in my neighborhood. The Sandlot is the perfect blend of comedy and adventure and makes for a great summer movie.
- Field of Dreams (PG – 1989)
You know a movie is really good when the cast comes back to the site where it was filmed for a 25 year reunion. The one statement that really stands out from this movie is, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, decides to build a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. My favorite part of the movie is when Ray plays catch with his dad. Every time I watch this movie, I make sure my glove is ready because I always want to play catch with my son.
- Remember the Titans (PG – 2000)
Remember the Titans is an excellent example of how sports can break down some of the racial barriers we have in our culture. The film is based off a true story in 1971 of how a black man named Herman Boone was hired as the head football coach at the desegregated T.C. Williams High School. Soon after Boone is named head coach, racial tensions escalate not only throughout the community, but also amongst the players on the team. Through the coaching of Boone and assistant coach Bill Yoast, the players on the team are forced to get to know one another and eventually form solid friendships that help them go on to win the 1971 state championship. Along with a great story line, Remember the Titans reminds us of the value of all persons regardless of the color of their skin.
- Rudy (PG – 1993)
If you like rooting for the underdog then you will definitely love this movie. Even though I am not much of a Notre Dame fan, this movie gives a great glimpse of how hard it is to be a walk on college athlete. I especially love this movie because Rudy perseveres even in the midst of when everyone else said it couldn’t be done.
- Hoosiers (PG – 1986)
By now you’re probably noticing a trend. So far, I’ve only selected one movie that was made after the year 2000. This both shows my age and also the fact that they just don’t seem to make sports movies like they used to. Hoosiers is one of the all-time greats. There are not too many movies I can watch over and over again but this one falls into that category. It just never seems to get old. Hoosiers chronicles how a small school from Hickory, Indiana made an improbable run through the 1954 Indiana high school state basketball playoffs. This movie is so good that college coaches still play it for their teams on the night before big games.
- Facing the Giants (PG – 2006)
It’s hard not to put this movie number one because it really is that good. Facing the Giants does a great job of showing the connection between faith and sports. It shows how we can live out our faith on the athletic field. My favorite part of the movie is the appearance by Georgia coach Mark Richt towards the end of the movie when he tells Coach Grant Taylor that he already won the big one the day he accepted Christ.
- The Rookie (G – 2002)
The Rookie is based on the true story of Jim Morris who went from high school physical science teacher and baseball coach to big league pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. The movie shows how Morris promised his high school baseball team that he would try out for a Major League team if they were to win the District Tournament. Low and behold, his team wins the District championship and Morris tries out with the Tampa Bay Rays but he doesn’t expect to hear back from them. Eventually, he receives a phone call and starts his journey to the Major Leagues.
I have to admit, this movie gets me every time when Morris sees his family in the stands at his very first big league game. Overall, this is a great family movie and easily tops my list of all time sports movies.
So there is my list. What movies did I miss? Are there any movies on this list you haven’t seen? I’d love to hear what your top ten all-time favorite sports movies are! I know I left a lot of good movies off of this list too!