fictional characters The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film  

Ranker Film
1.1k votes 231 voters 2.1k views 32 items

Rocky Balboa. Jake LaMotta. Roy Hobbs. The names are familiar to movie buffs and sports fans alike.The greatest athlete characters in film triumphed in a number of different sports, including boxing, baseball, football, and wrestling. But all of these top athlete characters have won over audiences with their on-screen stories.

Who are some of the best athlete characters in film? Rocky Balboa poured his heart into training – and pummeled his fists into slabs of beef – in the 1976 classic Rocky. This film athlete proved to be so popular that he appeared in seven movies over the course of 40 years. Mickey Rourke's portrayal of washed-up wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler earned him a Golden Globe in 2009. Michael Oher from The Blind Side is another great movie athlete, as well as a real-life inspiration.

But sports films can also be funny, as proven by hilarious athlete characters like Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler), Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), and, of course, Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) from Caddy Shack.

Which movie athlete do you think deserves the number-one spot on this list? Vote the best roles up to the top, and add any characters missing from the list.
list ordered by

1
54 11
Rocky Balboa is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Rocky Balboa Rocky V, Rocky IV, Rocky II

2
43 15
Dottie Hinson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Dottie Hinson A League of Their Own

3
40 16
Michael Oher is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Michael Oher The Blind Side

4
38 16
Apollo Creed is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Apollo Creed Rocky IV, Rocky, Rocky II

5
31 13
Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez The Sandlot

6
27 12
Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughn is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn Major League II, Major League

7
27 13
Daniel Larusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Daniel Larusso The Karate Kid, Part II, The Karate Kid

8
31 17
Happy Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Happy Gilmore Happy Gilmore

9
26 17
Roy Hobbs is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Roy Hobbs The Natural

10
18 10
Ranker Video
carlybobarly added Gordon Bombay D2: The Mighty Ducks, The Mighty Ducks, D3: The Mighty Ducks

11
19 11
Shane Falco is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Shane Falco The Replacements

12
24 16
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull

13
28 20
Daniel E. 'Rudy' Ruettiger is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film

14
19 12
Jess is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Jess Bhamra Bend It Like Beckham, When Harry Met Sally...

The Greatest Female Athlete Characters in Film

15
18 11
Rod Tidwell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Rod Tidwell Jerry Maguire

16
18 11
Willie Mays Hayes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Willie Mays Hayes Major League, Major League II

17
21 15
Marla Hooch is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Marla Hooch A League of Their Own

18
19 14
Crash Davis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Crash Davis Bull Durham

19
24 20
Ricky Bobby is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Ricky Bobby Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

20
17 13
Ty Webb is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Ty Webb Caddyshack

21
5 1
Kit Keller is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Kit Keller A League of Their Own

Black Panther Movie Quotes

22
19 16
Adonis Creed is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Adonis Creed

23
18 15
Peter La Fleur is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Peter La Fleur Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

24
20 18
Johnny Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
carlybobarly added Johnny Lawrence The Karate Kid

25
12 14
Scotty Smalls is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Scotty Smalls The Sandlot

26
14 17
Randy Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Randy Robinson The Wrestler

27
5 8
Al Czervik is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Al Czervik Caddyshack

28
8 14
Minnesota Fats is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Minnesota Fats The Hustler

29
3 8
Judge Elihu Smails is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Judge Elihu Smails Caddyshack

30
5 16
Ranker Video
carlybobarly added Reggie 'Reg' Dunlop Slap Shot

31
7 20
Don Billingsley is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
Don Billingsley Friday Night Lights

32
3 19
Jimmy Chitwood is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Athlete Characters in Film
RobLein added Jimmy Chitwood