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The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time 

Ranker Film
Updated May 12, 2020 2.4k votes 302 voters 11.4k views 55 items

Camaraderie, heart, and a good underdog story are often at the core of a good sports drama. The top sports drama movies tap into a universal quest for greatness in the setting of a field, court, or track. This is a list of great dramas about athletes featuring everything from Field of Dreams to The Blind Side to Friday Night Lights.

What films will you find on this list of great dramas about sports? Of course, Rocky has to make an appearance here. The 1977 Academy Award winner had everyone rooting for the title character inside the ring and out while he rose up to fight adversity. Raging Bulldirected by Martin Scorsese – is another great sports drama about a tough boxer.

Many notable sports movies are about men, but women stepped into the spotlight, and up to the plate, with A League of Their Own. Other good movies featured on this top sports dramas list include The Hurricane, The Karate Kid, and My All American.

Do you have a favorite sports drama? Take a look at this list, vote your favorites to the top, and please add any good movies about athletes that are missing.

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1
Rocky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

Released: 1976

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

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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#30 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #91 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

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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#13 of 729 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #81 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #957 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

3
The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

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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#503 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #51 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Field of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner

Released: 1989

Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson

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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The Most Memorable 'Field of Dreams' Quotes #54 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #110 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

5
Rudy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography

Released: 1993

Directed by: David Anspaugh

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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6
Miracle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden

Released: 2004

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor

If you like this flick, check out our list of docudrama movies.

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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7
Hoosiers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey

Released: 1986

Directed by: David Anspaugh

Hoosiers is a 1986 sports film directed by David Anspaugh. A coach with a checkered past (Gene Hackman) and a local drunk (Dennis Hopper) train a small town high school basketball team to become ...more

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8
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

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#33 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #135 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #70 of 301 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

9
A League of Their Own is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell

Released: 1992

Directed by: Penny Marshall

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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10
Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter, based on the true story of the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter. Controversy ...more

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11
Brian's Song is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Dick Butkus, James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Released: 1971

Directed by: Buzz Kulik

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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#350 of 729 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #44 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #20 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

12
Cinderella Man is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ron Howard

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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#250 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #38 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #33 of 234 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

13
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank

Released: 2004

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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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14
Invincible is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg, Randy Couture

Released: 2006

Directed by: Ericson Core

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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15
42 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Helgeland

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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#203 of 729 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #29 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #4 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

16
We Are Marshall is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Matthew McConaughey, Kate Mara, January Jones

Released: 2006

Directed by: Joseph McGinty Nichol

We Are Marshall is a 2006 American historical drama biopic film directed by McG. It depicts the aftermath of the 1970 incident that 37 football players on the Marshall University Thundering Herd ...more

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#955 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #91 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #22 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

17
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
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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#126 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #284 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #43 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

18
Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1980

Directed by: 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
The Rookie is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox, Rachel Griffiths

Released: 2002

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

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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20
The Fighter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
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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#1,390 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #48 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #31 of 234 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

21
Southpaw is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
TerryLane added 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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22
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Amber Heard, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw

Released: 2004

Directed by: Peter Berg

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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23
McFarland, USA is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor

Released: 2014

Directed by: Niki Caro

McFarland, USA is an American 2015 sports drama film directed by Niki Caro and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly ...more

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24
The Hustler is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott

Released: 1961

Directed by: Robert Rossen

The Hustler is a 1961 American drama film directed by Robert Rossen from the Walter Tevis's 1959 novel of the same name Rossen and Sidney Carroll adapted for the screen. It tells the story of ...more

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25
Warrior is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time
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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