Sports Movies The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch  

Ranker Film
216 votes 45 voters 31 items

List Rules Vote up the films that will inspire athletes.

There's something about a good sports movie that really gets the juices pumping. From inspirational sports movie to gripping documentaries, there are plenty of movies for athletes that can provide fantastic motivation. Below, you'll find some recommendations if you want a film that will encourage you to get out there and push yourself to your limits. 

When it comes to inspiring movies for athletes, many are based on true stories. From athlete biopics to films about a specific team during a point in history, these stories remind sports fans what can be achieved with drive and dedication. There are also plenty of fictional films that introduced characters - like Rocky Balboa - whose name are synonymous with athletic excellence. Whatever the central message, sports films are great for any aspiring athlete to watch because they teach us about struggling to overcome the limits we impose upon ourselves. Vote up the best movies for athletes below! 

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Rocky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Rocky Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an ...more

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Rudy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Rudy Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography 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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Hoop Dreams is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Hoop Dreams Hoop Dreams is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Steve James and written by James and Frederick Marx, with Kartemquin Films. It follows the story of two African-American high school ...more

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Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Remember the Titans Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington 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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The Natural is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Natural Kim Basinger, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall The Natural is a 1984 sports drama. It is a film adaptation of Bernard Malamud's 1952 baseball novel of the same name, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and ...more

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Hoosiers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Hoosiers Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey Hoosiers is a 1986 sports film written by Angelo Pizzo and directed by David Anspaugh. It tells the story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. It ...more

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A League of Their Own is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
A League of Their Own Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell 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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Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Raging Bull Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese 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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The Pride of the Yankees is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Pride of the Yankees Babe Ruth, Gary Cooper, Bill Dickey The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan. It is a tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman ...more

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Chariots of Fire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Chariots of Fire Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm 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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Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an ...more

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Bull Durham is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Bull Durham Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins Bull Durham is a 1988 American romantic comedy sports film. It is partly based upon the minor league experiences of writer/director Ron Shelton and depicts the players and fans of the Durham ...more

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The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Wrestler Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei The Wrestler is a 2008 American sports drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in ...more

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Field of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Field of Dreams Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, adapting W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy ...more

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Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Friday Night Lights Amber Heard, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw Friday Night Lights is a 2004 sports drama film, directed by Peter Berg, which documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is ...more

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The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Blind Side Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates 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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When We Were Kings is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
When We Were Kings George Foreman, B.B. King, Don King When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary film directed by Leon Gast about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The ...more

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Creed is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Carly Kiel added Creed Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson Creed is a 2015 American sports drama film directed by Ryan Coogler. The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson ...more

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Miracle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Miracle Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden 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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North Dallas Forty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
North Dallas Forty Nick Nolte, Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman North Dallas Forty is a 1979 film drama starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, and G. D. Spradlin set in the world of American professional football. It was directed by Ted Kotcheff and based on the ...more

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Any Given Sunday is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Any Given Sunday Cameron Diaz, Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx Any Given Sunday is a 1999 American drama film directed by Oliver Stone depicting a fictional professional American football team. The film features an ensemble cast, consisting of Al Pacino, ...more

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Tin Cup is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Tin Cup Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson Tin Cup is a 1996 romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Ron Shelton, and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo with Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in major supporting roles.

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Fat City is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Fat City Jeff Bridges, Stacy Keach, Candy Clark Fat City is a 1972 American neo-noir boxing drama film directed by John Huston. The picture stars Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, and Susan Tyrrell. One of Huston's later films, it is based on the ...more

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Without Limits is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Carly Kiel added Without Limits Donald Sutherland, Billy Crudup, Monica Potter Without Limits is a 1998 biographical sports film. It is written and directed by Robert Towne and follows the relationship between record-breaking distance runner Steve Prefontaine and his coach ...more

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Murderball is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Murderball Murderball is a 2005 American documentary film about physically disabled athletes who play wheelchair rugby. It centers on the rivalry between the Canadian and U.S. teams leading up to the 2004 ...more

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The Endless Summer is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Endless Summer Bruce Brown, Miki Dora, Robert August The Endless Summer is a seminal 1966 surf movie. Filmmaker/narrator Bruce Brown follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world. Despite the balmy climate ...more

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Senna is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Senna "The story of Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest race car driver who ever lived, is an epic tale that literally twists at every turn. In the mid 1980s, Senna, a young, gifted driver, ...more

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Blue Chips is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Blue Chips Shaquille O'Neal, Larry Bird, Kevin Garnett Blue Chips is a 1994 basketball drama film, directed by William Friedkin, written by Ron Shelton and starring Nick Nolte as a college coach and real-life basketball stars Shaquille O'Neal and ...more

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White Men Can't Jump is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
White Men Can't Jump Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, Rosie Perez White Men Can't Jump is a 1992 American sports buddy comedy film written and directed by Ron Shelton, starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as streetball hustlers. The film was released in ...more

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Escape to Victory is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Escape to Victory Sylvester Stallone, Pelé, Michael Caine Escape to Victory, known simply as Victory in North America, is a 1981 film about Allied prisoners of war who are interned in a German prison camp during World War II who play an exhibition ...more

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The Bad News Bears is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
The Bad News Bears Tatum O'Neal, Jackie Earle Haley, Walter Matthau The Bad News Bears is a 1976 comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie. It stars Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. The film was followed by two sequels, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training in ...more