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The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated February 15, 2019 470 votes 77 voters 3.2k views 23 items

List Rules Vote up the most gripping thrillers about sports.

Sports movies are inherently exciting, but when you add an element of danger they become white knuckle thrillers. The top sports thriller movies combine the rush of competition with suspense and intrigue. This is a list of the best sports thriller movies, including everything from Point Break to Days of Thunder to Never Back Down.

What films will you find on this list of the best sports thriller movies? Steve Carell and Channing Tatum star in Foxcatcher, a 2014 film about a millionaire who invested in an elite wrestling team, with tragic results. The plot is based on the real-life story of John E. du Pont and Olympic wrestlers Dave and Mark Schultz. Director Tony Scott explores the dangerous obsession of one baseball enthusiast in his 1996 movie The Fan. Other good sports thrillers featured on this list include Premium Rush, Two for the Money, and Heart Like a Wheel.

Which of these thriller movies about sports is your favorite? Vote the best films up to the top of the list, and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

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1
Warrior is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jennifer Morrison, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte

Released: 2011

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor

Warrior is a 2011 American sports drama film directed by Gavin O'Connor and starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two estranged brothers whose entrance into a mixed martial arts tournament ...more

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#1,482 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #47 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #300 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

2
The Fighter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg

Released: 2010

Directed by: David O. Russell

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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#1,364 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 235 The Best Movies Based On True Stories #46 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

3
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei

Released: 2008

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

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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#305 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #128 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #43 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

4
Point Break is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1991

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more

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5
Foxcatcher is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Sienna Miller, Channing Tatum, Steve Carell

Released: 2014

Directed by: Bennett Miller

Foxcatcher is a 2014 American biographical drama film produced and directed by Bennett Miller. Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, the film stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark ...more

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6
Never Back Down is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Amber Heard, Djimon Hounsou, Evan Peters

Released: 2008

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow

Never Back Down is a 2008 martial arts film starring Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, and Djimon Hounsou. It was theatrically released on March 14, 2008. The film's tagline is "Win or ...more

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7
Kickboxer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lau Kar-wing, Haskell V. Anderson III

Released: 1989

Directed by: David Worth, Mark DiSalle

Kickboxer is a 1989 American martial arts film produced and directed by Mark DiSalle, and co-directed by David Worth. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and former world kickboxing champion ...more

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8
Southpaw is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Rachel McAdams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomie Harris

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Southpaw is a 2015 American sports drama film directed by Antoine Fuqua. A champion boxer (Jake Gyllenhaal) fights to get his daughter back as well as revive his professional career, after an ...more

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#1,252 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #124 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #21 of 55 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

9
Days of Thunder is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall

Released: 1990

Directed by: Tony Scott

Days of Thunder is a 1990 American auto racing film released by Paramount Pictures, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Tony Scott. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Nicole ...more

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10
Blue Chips is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Shaquille O'Neal, Larry Bird, Kevin Garnett

Released: 1994

Directed by: William Friedkin

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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11
Death Race is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez

Released: 2008

Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson

This film is a 2008 American science fiction action thriller film produced, written, and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson and starring Jason Statham. Though referred to as a remake of the 1975 ...more

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12
Rush is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
U;Nee, Lee Min-woo, Kim Seung-hyun

Released: 1999

Directed by: Lee Sang-in

Rush is a 1999 drama film written and directed by Lee Sang-in.
13
Donnybrook is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Frank Grillo, Margaret Qualley, James Badge Dale

Released: 2019

Directed by: Tim Sutton

Donnybrook is a 2018 American-French drama film, written and directed by Tim Sutton. A former soldier (Jamie Bell) competes against a violent drug dealer in a bare-knuckle fight, for a large ...more
14
The Fan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Ellen Barkin

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tony Scott

The Fan is a 1996 American thriller film directed by Tony Scott, and starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Abrahams. The Fan is a ...more
15
The Harder They Fall is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jersey Joe Walcott

Released: 1956

Directed by: Mark Robson

The Harder They Fall is a 1956 film noir directed by Mark Robson, featuring Humphrey Bogart in his last film. It was written by Philip Yordan and based on the 1947 novel of the same name by Budd ...more
16
Two for the Money is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo

Released: 2005

Directed by: D. J. Caruso

Two for the Money is a 2005 American drama-sports film directed by D. J. Caruso and starring Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Armand Assante and Carly Pope. The film is about the ...more

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17
Match Point is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Emily Mortimer

Released: 2005

Directed by: Woody Allen

Match Point is a 2005 drama film written and directed by Woody Allen which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, and Penelope Wilton. Rhys ...more

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18
Premium Rush is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Chung, Dania Ramirez

Released: 2012

Directed by: David Koepp

Premium Rush is a 2012 American action-thriller film directed by David Koepp and written by Koepp and John Kamps. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie ...more
19
Airborne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jack Black, Seth Green, Alanna Ubach

Released: 1993

Directed by: Rob Bowman

Airborne is a 1993 American comedy-drama film centered on inline skating, starring Shane McDermott, Seth Green, Brittney Powell, Chris Conrad, Jacob Vargas and a then-unknown Jack Black.
20
Heart Like a Wheel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Tiffany Brissette, Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia

Released: 1983

Directed by: Jonathan Kaplan

Heart Like a Wheel is a 1983 biographical film directed by Jonathan Kaplan and based on the life of drag racing driver Shirley Muldowney. It stars Bonnie Bedelia as Muldowney, and Beau Bridges ...more
21
Night and the City is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Eli Wallach

Released: 1992

Directed by: Irwin Winkler

Night and the City is a 1992 remake of the 1950 film noir of the same name, itself an adaptation of Gerald Kersh's novel of the same name. The film stars Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange and is ...more
22
The Recruiter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Viktor Sukhorukov, Olga Landina, Eduard Tabishev

Released: 2004

Directed by: Gulshat Omarova

Shiza a.k.a. Schizo is a 2004 Russian language film directed by Gulshat Omarova. The film was in the official selection from Kazakhstan for the 77th Academy Awards. It was also screened in the ...more
23
Fast Track: No Limits is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sports Thriller Movies, Ranked
Fast Track: No Limits Erin Cahill, Maurice Roeves, Andrew Walker

Released: 2008

Directed by: Axel Sand

Fast Track: No Limits is a 2008 independent film directed by Axel Sand. The film was written and produced by Lee Goldberg who is known for his work on Diagnosis: Murder and Monk, and was as a ...more