Sports is one of the best forms of entertainment and is the center of many traditions and important moments in people’s lives. As the pandemic showed, it is also a key to the morale of the United States and other countries alike. Considering this, it is inevitable that sports made their way off of the field and onto the screen and became a spotlight in more than one way for entertainment purposes.

Considering this, I have compiled a list of the top 5 sports movies of all time.

1. Miracle

This 2004 cinematic masterpiece tells the story of the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team’s quest for gold and their astonishing defeat of the almighty Soviet team. The story of underdogs overcoming insurmountable odds is the key to this film set with the backdrop of the Cold War.

Top 5 Sports Movies Miracle at 1

The film highlights how the team’s victory reinvigorates and unties a broken America and reminds the country to dream again. The movie focuses on the relationship between the coaching staff, especially Herb Brooks, and the players and how his unconventional methods and refusal to give up led to the greatest moment in U.S. hockey history. It is presented flawlessly and was even awarded the 2004 “Best Sports Movie ESPY” award.

2. Field of Dreams

This staple in every sports fans watchlist has become a part of American culture. Most famous for the lines, “If you build it, they will come”, this movie has been referenced on many other TV shows and films with the understanding that a majority of people are familiar with the quote. Nominated for three academy awards, the story of Ray and his ghost baseball team is one that has a place in the hearts of many baseball fans.

Top 5 Sports Movies Field of Dreams at 2

The movie was adapted from a novel, “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella, which the movie pays tribute to by having “Shoeless” Joe Jackson lead the greats of baseball through the field and onto the diamond. For anyone who grew up loving baseball and admiring all of the past players, this is the perfect film to watch before heading out to the ballpark.

3. A League of Their own

Sports hasn’t always been inclusive and is still largely looked upon as a “man’s world”. This trailblazing movie, although fictional, is based off of the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and highlights the adversity women faced as they made their way into the world of professional athletics.

Top 5 Sports Movies A League of Their own at 3

In this film, the men are away fighting in World War II and the women come out to play, literally. The team is mocked, treated harshly by spectators and cast aside as simply a joke when they first take the mound. However, as they start to succeed and show their talent, the world starts to pay attention.

With Tom Hanks and Madonna in the cast list, this film quickly became a classic. It’s a perfect reminder of the difficulties women had to go through and how far sports has come in terms of treating every player, regardless of gender, with respect.

4. Rocky

Moving on with our list of the top 5 sports movies of all time, we have everyone’s favorite – the Rocky series! This singular movie generated five sequels because of how much the fictionalized story of Rocky Balboa’s boxing career captivated audiences. A film focused on proving one’s worth, the tale speaks to the wannabe champion in all of us and reminds viewers that anything is possible, as cliché as that may be.

Top 5 Sports Movies Rocky at 4

The first of the series is included on this list because it is the starting point of the incredible journey. However, the entire Rocky series is one that has become ingrained in American culture. Specifically, the iconic scene of the boxer raising his arms at the top of the steps is one that every movie or sports fanatic is familiar with.

5. Rudy

I discovered this movie while in quarantine and appreciated watching something related to sports while actual games took a pause. I was desperate for any football and Rudy helped ease the pain of isolation and missing out on live game experiences.

Top 5 Sports Movies Rudy at 5

Notre Dame has a cult following, much like any school with a decent football program, and this film follows Rudy Ruettiger as he fights his way into the prestigious university and out of the mill. Rudy faces obstacles of an unsupportive father, no money, bad grades, dealing with the loss of his best friend and dyslexia as he tries to gain admission to the school. Once on campus, Rudy works his way up the ranks and eventually makes the football team.

This story is one of hope and hard work and how when put together amazing things can happen. In this particular film, it happens to be all because of the love of sports.

Movie Night Set

Settle in sporting your favorite jersey and your go-to streaming service queued with these iconic flicks and get ready for a night of inspiration, heartfelt moments and a reminder as to why you are a sports fan.

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Amber is a student at Virginia Tech majoring in Sports Media and Analytics with a minor in Creative Writing, expecting to graduate in May 2023. At Tech, she is a sports editor for the Collegiate Times and a production assistant with the ACC network. Her career goals involve being a sports reporter/writer. In her free time she enjoys photography, writing poetry, watching hockey, swimming and yoga. She is a current intern with Knup solutions.

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