1. Remember The Titans (2000)
The race relations film, "Remember the Titans" uses music and acting to perfectly portray an American era.
It follows Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, coaching a newly integrated high school football team in Virginia during 1971. The diverse cast is stacked with talent including Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panettiere. Each character has its light aspect and dark moment that treat racial discrimination with comedy and drama.
The true story shows that sports can unite people of all backgrounds.
The soundtrack is pop music from 1969-1971 with songs like "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum, "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" by the Hollies and "Spill the Wine" by Eric Burdon & War. The era appropriate music gives the film an authentic early 70s feel.
2. Rudy (1993)
The ultimate underdog tale, "Rudy" is the best story of a fan trying to fulfill his lifelong dream to play his favorite team.
Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger, played by Sean Astin, aspired to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, but after high school he didn't fill any requirements to attend the famed university. This film gives every young man hope that if they work hard, they could accomplish anything.
The film, based on a true story, had some great quotes such as: "You're 5 foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability," said Rudy's friend Fortune.
"As long as my brother talks this crazy Notre Dame shit, he deserves anything that comes his way!" said Rudy's brother Frank Ruettiger.
3. Brian's Song (1971)
The true story about Chicago Bears Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, "Brain's Song" is easily one of the saddest sports movies ever.
Sayers, played by Billy Dee Williams, and Piccolo, played by James Caan, both struggle with health issues throughout the film. At every turn their story gets sadder and sadder.
The movie uses a lot of actual game footage, but the shots of actors are not filmed at Wrigley Field. It also has appearances from Bears from that era like Dick Butkus, Ed O'Bradovich and Jack Concannon.
It was a made-for-TV movie, so the quality of the film isn't great but the story and actors make up for it.
4. Jerry Maguire (1996)
The lone movie about a sports agent, turns out to be a gem. Although "Jerry Maguire" doesn't have many on-field moments, it has some of the best off-the-field scenes in football movie history.
It follows Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, and his relationships with his last two clients. One is a hot shot college QB, Frank "Cush" Cushman played by Jerry O'Connell, and his other client is an undersized wide receiver, Rod Tidwell played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Half of the film is about football and half is about Maguire's love life, making "Jerry Maguire" the best sports movie for couples. The movie could even be classified as a romantic comedy, which hurts its top 10 football movie status.
5. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Oliver Stone's epic football tale, "Any Given Sunday" shows that the sport is dirty in many ways.
The film has every controversy a team could go through during a season. It's interesting to see all the player's problems evolve but Stone went a bit over-the-top as he usually does. When one player got his eyeball ripped out during the game, the movie went over that edge of realistic to exaggerated.
Stone used many NFL veterans like Lawrence Taylor, Jim Brown, Dick Butkus, Y. A. Tittle, Pat Toomay, Warren Moon, Johnny Unitas, Ricky Watters, Emmitt Smith, Terrell Owens and Barry Switzer. The rest of the cast had many great actors including two Oscar winners in Jamie Foxx, the cocky QB, and Al Pacino, the grumpy old coach.
Pacino's famous speech is one of the greatest given in movie history. 6. Friday Night Lights (2004)
"Friday Night Lights" is a great representation of the frantic lifestyle of famous high school players.
It details the 1988 season of the real-life Permian Panthers, a Texas high school football team. The film depicts the lives of students, players, coaches and families that participate in this high stakes football life. The pressure put on these kids is magnificently presented and felt by the viewer.
The cast was put together very well, it reunites Oscar winning "Sling Blade" co-stars Billy Bob Thornton, the father figure head coach, and Lucas Black, the broken QB. Their connection in "Sling Blade" is just as good in "Friday Night Lights."
The fans of the team are so intense, it is a bit unbelievable without any real explanation.
7. The Blind Side (2009)
"The Blind Side" is another true story but it is the premier feel-good movie on the list.
The film details the relationship between the talented offensive lineman Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. Oher came from a broken home and was not going to make it through high school without help. The Tuohy family offered the help he desperately needed and Oher flourished.
It focuses on his relationship with Mrs. Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock. Oher needed an academic overall to achieve his football dreams, Mrs. Tuohy forced him to succeed just like a mother would. Bullock won an Oscar for her performance.
There were appearances by NCAA coaches like Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Tommy Tuberville. The movie exaggerates an already interesting story, which hurts its credibility.
8. The Program (1993)
The most extreme football movie of all, "The Program" shows that a powerful college football program can have plenty of off-the-field issues without anyone finding out.
The movie picked out almost every problem in college football, then threw in a romance with Halle Berry. It points out that young players have too much pressure, steroids is a problem, injuries can leave young student athletes broke and recruiting is a skeptical business.
The head coach James Caan seemed more like a parent dealing with a troubled child instead of coach. This point is probably true, most coaches in the NCAA have to deal with serious problems of 100 college students and their own coaching staff. Parents having to deal with one college student's problems is tough enough, dealing with 100 is a daunting task.
This movie was just too over-the-top and poorly edited. One deleted scene, which is in trailers for "The Program," shows the players defying death by laying in the middle of a busy road. The scene was removed because teenagers imitated it and some died. 9. North Dallas Forty (1979)
Loosely based on the 70s Cowboys, "North Dallas Forty" is an over-the-top portrayal of pro football.
The forgotten film starring Nick Nolte shows the toll football takes a player's body. The athletes play hard and party even harder in this football flick. The film shows how players would use booze and meds to drown out the pain. It is the first movie to shed light on the subject, when the public didn't know in the 70s. The movie is much like "Any Given Sunday," except there is less front office action and play isn't as vicious.
It isn't very focused and not very well made. "North Dallas Forty" is another made-for-TV movie that is low quality but the characters over come. The film touches on some interesting sports topics, the mental and physical pain that the characters endure is eye opening. Nolte was fantastic and clearly the best actor in one of his earliest roles.
10. Varsity Blues (1999)
"Varsity Blues" is a cross between "North Dallas Texas" and "Friday Night Lights." It follows the frantic lifestyle of famous high school players who play hard and party even harder.
The MTV film was chalk full of music from the 90s, highlighted by Foo Fighters' "My Hero." Starring James Van Der Beek, Paul Walker and Scott Caan "Varsity Blues" had a great up-and-coming cast but the best performance was Jon Voight as Coach Bud Kilmer. The intensity and hatred that he brings to the film is unmatched, without Voight this movie would have suffered horribly.
It tried too hard to be "Animal House," some of the scenes are too ridiculous to have no repercussions. Did they really need to steal a police car?
Knute Rockne All American
The Longest Yard
All the Right Moves
We are Marshall