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The Best Athlete Biopics 

Ranker Film
Updated June 22, 2018 1.3k votes 181 voters 6.3k views 38 items

List Rules Sports biopics. Vote up the best biopics about athletes and sports stars.

There are many biopics that have been made about athletes and the world of sports. What are the best sports biopic movies? This list includes titles such as A League of their Own, Chariots of Fire, Brian’s Song and Cinderella Man. Men and women have voted on the films below to rank the best sports biopics.

Movies have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. Sports have the ability to to the same and often we are enchanted about the lives of our sports heroes. Movies that tell the story of Ernie James, Jake Lamotta, Muhammed Ali, and James Braddock are all incredibly fascinating, tumultuous, and inspiring.

It is with a peek into the lives of these individuals that we can understand their motives and drives that helped them become the greatest of their time. By understanding sport’s greatest, we will hopefully take some of that inspiration into our own lives. These movies vary in their genre but they all equally fascinating.

Vote up the greatest sports biopic movies ever made below or add on you think is great that isn't already on the list.
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1
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Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

Released: 1981

Directed by: Hugh Hudson

Harold Abrahams Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of ...more

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#136 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #120 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remadelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
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Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden

Released: 2004

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor

Herb Brooks Miracle is a 2004 American sports docudrama about the United States men's hockey team, led by head coach Herb Brooks, that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The USA team's victory ...more

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#895 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #235 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

3
Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Athlete Biopics
Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1980

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Jake LaMotta  Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical black-and-white sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik ...more

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#64 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked Behind The Scenes Of 'Raging Bull,' The Masterpiece Scorsese Never Wanted To Makelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright

Released: 2011

Directed by: Bennett Miller

Billy Bean Moneyball is an American 2011 biographical sports drama film directed by Bennett Miller from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on Michael Lewis's 2003 ...more

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#812 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #244 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books

5
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Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ron Howard

James Hunt Rush is a 2013 biographical sports film directed by Ron Howard. The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).

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6
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Dick Butkus, James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Released: 1971

Directed by: Buzz Kulik

Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers  Brian's Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian Piccolo, a Wake Forest University football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro, ...more

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#320 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #58 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #45 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

7
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Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography

Released: 1993

Directed by: David Anspaugh

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger Rudy is a 1993 American sports film directed by David Anspaugh. It is an account of the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football at the University of ...more

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#430 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #130 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys Things About The Real Rudy That The 'Rudy' Movie Purposely Misrepresents

8
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Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ron Howard

Jmaes J. Braddock Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by ...more

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#282 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #36 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #13 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

9
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Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell

Released: 1992

Directed by: Penny Marshall

All American Professional Girls Baseball League A League of Their Own is a 1992 American comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Directed by Penny Marshall, the ...more

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#113 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #696 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

10
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Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Michael Oher The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael ...more

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#703 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #389 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
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Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

Herman Boone Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The screenplay, written by Gregory Allen Howard, is based on the true story of ...more

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#88 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #802 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
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Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Helgeland

Jackie Robinson 42 is a 2013 American biographical sports film written and directed by Brian Helgeland about the racial integration of American professional baseball by player Jackie Robinson, who wore jersey ...more

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#167 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #9 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics

13
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Elizabeth Banks, Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire

Released: 2003

Directed by: Gary Ross

Red Pollard and seabiscuit Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical sports psychological-drama thriller film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is ...more

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14
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Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Francois Pienaar "From director Clint Eastwood, “Invictus” tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar ...more

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#14 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories #45 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time #18 of 43 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories

15
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Jared Leto, Ed O'Neill, R. Lee Ermey

Released: 1997

Directed by: Steve James

Steve Prefontaine Prefontaine is a 1997 American biographical film chronicling the life of the American long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine. Jared Leto plays the title character and R. Lee Ermey plays Bill ...more
16
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Anthony Michael Hall, Thomas Jane, Christopher McDonald

Released: 2001

Directed by: Billy Crystal

Roger Marris 61* is a 2001 American sports drama film written by Hank Steinberg and directed by Billy Crystal. It stars Barry Pepper as Roger Maris and Thomas Jane as Mickey Mantle on their quest to break ...more
17
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Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg, Randy Couture

Released: 2006

Directed by: Ericson Core

Vince Papale Invincible is a 2006 sports film directed by Ericson Core set in 1976. It is based on the true story of Vince Papale, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978. Mark Wahlberg ...more

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#94 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #12 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

18
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Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger

Released: 1999

Directed by: Norman Jewison

Rubin Carter The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical film directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Denzel Washington. The script was adapted by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon from the books Lazarus and the ...more

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#59 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #77 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox, Rachel Griffiths

Released: 2002

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Jim Morris The Rookie is a 2002 sports drama film directed by John Lee Hancock and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who had a brief, but famous Major League ...more

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#1,279 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #101 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies

20
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Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell

Released: 2010

Directed by: Randall Wallace

Penny Chenery and Secreteriat Secretariat is a 2010 biographical sports drama film produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Randall Wallace. The film chronicles the life of thoroughbred race horse ...more

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#159 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #70 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

21
I, Tonya is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Athlete Biopics
I, Tonya Margot Robbie, Caitlin Carver, Sebastian Stan

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Tonya Harding

I, Tonya is a 2017 American biographical sports black comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie. The film tells the story of the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan orchestrated by Tonya ...more

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#17 of 20 The Best Sports Movies Streaming on Hulu #160 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
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Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg

Released: 2010

Directed by: David O. Russell

 Micky Ward The Fighter is a 2010 American biographical sports drama film directed by David O. Russell. Fledgling boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled ...more

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#1,280 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #34 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #108 of 210 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

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Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

Released: 2001

Directed by: Michael Mann

Muhammed Ali Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of the boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964-74 featuring his capture of the heavyweight ...more

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#332 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #10 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics

24
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Carrie Underwood, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2011

Directed by: Sean McNamara

Bethany Hamilton Soul Surfer is a 2011 American biopic drama film directed by Sean McNamara. It is a film adaptation of the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back ...more

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#109 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #147 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #31 of 60 The Most Entertaining Awful Shark Horror Movies

25
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John Goodman, James Cromwell, Kelly McGillis

Released: 1992

Directed by: Arthur Hiller

Babe Ruth The Babe is a 1992 biographical drama film about the life of famed baseball player Babe Ruth, who is portrayed by John Goodman.