Sports

The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch  

Ranker Film
589 votes 85 voters 2.3k views 33 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! 

list ordered by
1
Rocky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith
Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion (Carl Weathers) in ...more

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#29 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #10 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Rudy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#97 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #287 of 304 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timefeaturing Things About The Real Rudy That The 'Rudy' Movie Purposely Misrepresents

3
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#88 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #12 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #802 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

4
The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#702 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Quietly Racist Things You Probably Missed In The Blind Sidelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Bull Durham is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#112 of 440 The Funniest '80s Movies #194 of 1,204 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #225 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

6
Chariots of Fire is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#51 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies #137 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#112 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #212 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #123 of 307 The Best Movies for Men

8
Creed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Carly Kiel added 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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#694 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #151 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #203 of 217 The Worst Sequels Of All Time

9
Hoosiers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#647 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #103 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #106 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

10
The Natural is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#715 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #192 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #128 of 307 The Best Movies for Men

11
Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#19 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starsfeaturing Behind The Scenes Of 'Raging Bull,' The Masterpiece Scorsese Never Wanted To Makelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
The Pride of the Yankees... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#62 of 241 The Most Inspirational Movies Ever #31 of 40 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Any Given Sunday is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#199 of 265 The Best Ensemble Movies #29 of 40 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time #42 of 180 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

14
A League of Their Own is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#52 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #325 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #105 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

15
Field of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#87 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #242 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #15 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

16
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#34 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies #1,080 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
When We Were Kings is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#110 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #14 of 396 The Greatest Documentaries of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Hoop Dreams is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#258 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #336 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #34 of 396 The Greatest Documentaries of All Time

19
Tin Cup is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#176 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #377 of 1,204 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #609 of 992 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

20
North Dallas Forty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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
21
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#978 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #212 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #28 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

22
Miracle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#895 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #121 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #95 of 307 The Best Movies for Men

23
White Men Can't Jump is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
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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#144 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #61 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #806 of 1,204 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

24
Free Solo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Alex Honnold
Free Solo is a 2018 documentary directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high El ...more
25
Overcomer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies for Athletes to Watch
Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Ben Davies
Overcomer is a 2019 American Christian drama film directed by Alex Kendrick. John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) is a high school basketball coach whose state championship dreams vanish when he ...more