Fabulous Sports Films
Truly excellent sports movies share many common elements. Underdogs overcome obstacles to become winners. Athletes push the envelope to succeed and triumph. Human spirit reaches new heights. No matter what films you have in your video library, you’ll enjoy these sports-themed stories with backdrops of baseball, basketball, football and horse racing. Many are based on true stories. But what are the movies really about? Friendship, bravery, teamwork and courage.
Hoosiers (1986) PG
Showing the passion that small towns have for their local teams, Hoosiers tells the story of a 1950s coach (Gene Hackman) with a checkered past who takes a job at a small high school and manages to turn the basketball team into state champ contenders. Along the way he gets help from one of the player’s fathers, who is the local drunk (Dennis Hopper), and he falls in love with one of his fellow teachers (Barbara Hershey). The writing is so perfectly structured, from practice scenes to the triumph at the end, and with subplots sprinkled in to add to the depth, that the movie has become a standard-setter for all sports films.
Field of Dreams (1989) PG
An Iowa farmer (Kevin Costner) hears a voice that he thinks is telling him to build a baseball diamond in his corn field. “If you build it, he will come,” he hears. Who will come? Joe Jackson, known as Shoeless Joe, a member of the 1919 Black Sox baseball team, banned from the game for throwing the World Series. The movie poetically asks you to believe in beauty of a mitt and ball and the game that is America’s pastime.
The Sandlot (1993) PG
Scotty Smalls is the new kid in a 1960s neighborhood and he wants to play baseball at the local sandlot. He becomes the ninth kid on the team, taken in by the best player, Benjamin Rodriquez. Soon the gang of best friends is facing a summer of adventures including lusting after the lifeguard at the local pool, going to a carnival and faces a snooty rival ball team. The funniest moments, however, come from the baseball-eating dog called The Beast, who looms beyond the fence at the back of the sandlot. This movie isn’t about a team overcoming adversity; it’s about a team coming together to be a team.
Rudy (1993) PG
Earnest and hard-working Rudy, a high-school student played by Sean Astin, has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But his dream has always been to play for Notre Dame. Directed by David Anspaugh, who directedHoosiers, Rudy’s determined main character overcomes all the obstacles – and there are many – to finally get a chance to suit up and run out on the field he loves so dearly. Although you can guess where the story is headed at all times, the movie is so well-made that you get caught up in the emotion of the heartwarming tale.
Remember the Titans (2000) PG
Based on a true story, Remember The Titans follows the 1971 T.C. Williams High School Titans football team during its first season of integration. Denzel Washington is Herman Boone, the black coach who is brought in to oversee the team that struggles to play together. Will Patton the white coach he replaces, but who stays on to help smooth the transition. The story is as much about triumphing over racism as it is winning at football.
The Rookie (2002) G
“You don’t have dreams, you don’t have anything,” says Dennis Quaid, playing coach Jimmy Morris, in another true story. Morris gave up baseball because of an injury and became a teacher in Texas in 1999. But with some encouragement from his students, he tried out again for the big leagues – and made it, showing his students that if you try hard enough you can make your dreams come true.
Seabiscuit (2003) PG-13
Beautifully-filmed, Seabiscuit tells the true story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories surprise his owner (wonderfully played by Jeff Bridges), his jockey (Tobey Maguire) and a nation in need of triumph over adversity.