Entertainment

The Best Athlete Biopics 

Ranker Film
1.3k votes 181 voters 6.2k 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.
list ordered by
1
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Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm
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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#120 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #136 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
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Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden
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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#11 of 80 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time #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
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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#55 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Booksfeaturing 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
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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#244 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #812 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

5
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Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde
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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#12 of 155 The Greatest Car Movies Ever Made #3 of 22 The Best Chris Hemsworth Movies

6
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Dick Butkus, James Caan, Billy Dee Williams
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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#228 of 722 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #52 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #45 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

7
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Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti
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 #42 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #16 of 52 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

8
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Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography
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 #285 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timefeaturing Things About The Real Rudy That The 'Rudy' Movie Purposely Misrepresents

9
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Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington
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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#810 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #358 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #74 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

10
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Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell
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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#58 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #696 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

11
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Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie
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 722 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #9 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics

12
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Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates
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 Moviesfeaturing Quietly Racist Things You Probably Missed In The Blind Sidelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
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Elizabeth Banks, Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire
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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#47 of 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #60 of 82 The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

14
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Anthony Michael Hall, Thomas Jane, Christopher McDonald
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
15
I, Tonya is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Athlete Biopics
I, Tonya
Margot Robbie, Caitlin Carver, Sebastian Stan

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 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
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Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood
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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#64 of 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #25 of 52 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time #18 of 41 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories

17
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Jared Leto, Ed O'Neill, R. Lee Ermey
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
18
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Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger
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 722 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #93 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg, Randy Couture
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 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #12 of 52 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

20
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Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell
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 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

21
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Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox, Rachel Griffiths
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 #16 of 52 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

22
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Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg
 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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#195 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suck #34 of 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

23
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Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
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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#96 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #10 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics

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Carrie Underwood, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb
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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#127 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #109 of 179 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #27 of 60 The Most Entertaining Awful Shark Horror Movies

25
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John Goodman, James Cromwell, Kelly McGillis
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.