Because this is a movie list, there are no TV movies, and nothing rated Rotten — even fan favorites. The most recent updates by the Rotten Tomatoes of the Best Sports Movies Of All Time include new popular hits like Ben Affleck’s The Way Back, Best Picture nominee Ford v Ferrari, wrestling family drama Fighting With My Family. We have picked up the top 25 best sports films out of 150.
Best Sports Movies Of All Time
1. THE WRESTLER
This is a drama about an aging professional wrestler, decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows in VFW halls and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring: by working full time at the grocery store, trying to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned in childhood and forming a closer bond with a stripper he has romantic feelings for. He struggles with his new life and an offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, which may be his ticket back to stardom.
Adonis Johnson is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV (1985). Adonis wasn’t born until after his father’s death and wants to follow his fathers footsteps in boxing. He seeks a mentor who is the former heavyweight boxing champion and former friend of Apollo Creed, the retired Rocky Balboa. Rocky eventually agrees to mentor Adonis. With Rocky’s help they hope to get a title job to face even deadlier opponents than his father.
3. FORD V FERRARI
As Enzo Ferrari’s fast Rosso-Corsa racing cars dominate the mid-1960s motorsport world, the American car designer, Carroll Shelby, is forced to retire after winning the demanding 1959 ’24 Hours of Le Mans’ endurance race. But, before long, an unexpected proposition by the Vice President of Henry Ford’s motor company, Lee Iacocca, will offer an opportunity to beat the Italians at their own game. Now, under those pressing circumstances, the British sports car driver and racing engineer, Ken Miles, reluctantly agrees to lend a hand and improve the firm’s image, as Ford’s race team has less than ninety days to rewrite history.
4. I, TONYA
Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.
5. NATIONAL VELVET
Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney) was a young wanderer and opportunist whose father had given him “all the roads in the Kingdom” to travel. One of the roads, and a notation in his father’s journal, leads him to the quiet English countryside home of the Brown family. The youngest daughter, Velvet (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), has a passion for horses and when she wins the spirited steed Pie in a town lottery, Mi is encouraged to train the horse for the Grand National – England’s greatest racing event.
6. FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
Former wrestler Ricky and his wife Julia make a living performing with their children Saraya and Zak. When brother and sister get the chance to audition for WWE, they learn that becoming a WWE Superstar demands more than they ever imagined possible.
7. FREE SOLO
Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.
The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
9. THE HUSTLER
“Fast” Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary “Minnesota Fats” to a high-stakes match, but he loses in a heartbreaking marathon. Now broke and without his long-time manager, Felson faces an uphill battle to regain his confidence and his game. It isn’t until he hits rock bottom that he agrees to join up with ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon. Gordon agrees to take him on the road to learn the ropes.
Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.
11. THE ENDLESS SUMMER
The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.
12. BULL DURHAM
Crash is an aging minor league ball player, brought up from another team to mature a young pitcher with maturity problems. Both of them become involved with Ann, a baseball groupie with her own perspective on the game.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
14. HOOP DREAMS
This documentary follows two young African-Americans through their high school years as they perfect their skills in basketball in the hopes of getting a college scholarship and eventually play in the NBA. Arthur Agee and William Gates both show great potential and are are actively recruited as they look to enter high school. They start off at the same high school but unable to pay an unexpected bill for tuition fees, Arthur has to withdraw and go to the local public high school.
Rocky Balboa is a struggling boxer trying to make the big time, working as a debt collector for a pittance. When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed visits Philadelphia, his managers want to set up an exhibition match between Creed and a struggling boxer, touting the fight as a chance for a “nobody” to become a “somebody”. The match is supposed to be easily won by Creed, but someone forgot to tell Rocky, who sees this as his only shot at the big time.
16. HORSE FEATHERS
Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff has just been installed as the new president of Huxley College. His cavalier attitude toward education is not reserved for his son Frank, who is seeing the college widow, Connie Bailey. Frank influences Wagstaff to recruit two football players who hang out in a speakeasy, in order to beat rival school Darwin. Unfortunately, Wagstaff mistakenly hires the misfits Baravelli and Pinky. Finding out that Darwin has beaten him to the “real” players, Wagstaff enlists Baravelli and Pinky to kidnap them, which leads to an anarchic football finale.
17. RAGING BULL
When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he’s a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he’s a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family’s love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it’s his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.
18. NEXT GOAL WINS
In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, garnering headlines across the world as the worst soccer team on the planet. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of FIFA’s World rankings, having scored only twice in seventeen years. They have lost every competitive game they have ever played. Against this backdrop of serial underachievement, the team face the daunting prospect of a qualification campaign for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
19. WHEN WE WERE KINGS
It’s 1974, Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator of Zaire and the “Rumble in the Jungle” is set. A musical festival, featuring the America’s top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King, is also planned.
20. THE BAD NEWS BEARS
Former minor leaguer Morris Buttermaker is a lazy, beer swilling swimming pool cleaner who takes money to coach the Bears, a bunch of disheveled misfits who have virtually no baseball talent. Realizing his dilemma, Coach Buttermaker brings aboard girl pitching ace Amanda Whurlizer, the daughter of a former girlfriend, and Kelly Leak, a motorcycle punk who happens to be the best player around. Brimming with confidence, the Bears look to sweep into the championship game and avenge an earlier loss to their nemesis, the Yankees.
21. THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS
In the early 1980s, legendary Billy Mitchell set a Donkey Kong record that stood for almost 25 years. This documentary follows the assault on the record by Steve Wiebe, an earnest teacher from Washington who took up the game while unemployed. The top scores are monitored by a cadre of players and fans associated with Walter Day, an Iowan who runs Funspot, an annual tournament. Wiebe breaks Mitchell’s record in public at Funspot, and Mitchell promptly mails a controversial video tape of himself setting a new record. So Wiebe travels to Florida hoping Mitchell will face him for the 2007 Guinness World Records.
A documentary that follows the Manassas Tigers football team, a severely underfunded and underprivileged football team — who were even hired out as a practice team for more successful schools — as they reverse their fortunes, thanks to coach Bill Courtney.
23. WIN WIN
A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach’s chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he has double-crossed comes into his life.
24. MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Wanting to learn from the best, aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) wants Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to train her. At the outset, he flatly refuses saying he has no interest in training a girl. Frankie leads a lonely existence, alienated from his only daughter and having few friends. Maggie’s rough around the edges, but shows a lot of grit in the ring and he eventually relents. Maggie not only proves to be the boxer he always dreamed of having under his wing, but a friend who fills the great void he’s had in his life.
25. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG
The story of Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg is told through archival film footage and interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish fans, his former teammates, his friends, and his family. As a great first baseman with the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg endured antisemitism and became a hero and source of inspiration throughout the Jewish community, not incidentally leading the Tigers to Major League dominance in the 1930s.