more by MaryAnn

hail HYDRA | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What’s your favorite sports-related movie?

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What with football-themed The Blind Side doing gangbusters at the box office and the rugby-will-save-the-world-themed Invictus just opening, the members of the Online Film Critics Society recently picked our top 5 favorite sports movies. Raging Bull came out on top; go to the OFCS news blog for the rest of the top 5, and other films that ranked.

I picked The Rookie as my very favorite, followed by Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams, and Rocky.

What’s your favorite sports-related movie?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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  • LaSargenta

    Pride of the Yankees

  • iakobos

    The Rookie is definitely a favorite. It’s a toss-up between that one and The Sandlot. The scene where the boys from the two teams were insulting each other still cracks me up. Especially the final winning insult, “You throw a ball like a girl!” As we say down south, Them’s fighten’ words. Then there’s the scene where one of them stole his dad’s chewing tobacco and they all got sick while riding the Ferris Wheel at the fair. Been there, done that.

  • allochthon

    Robert Redford’s The Natural.

    And just to plug it, on TV my favorite ‘sports show’ was Sports Night. Aah, it ended too soon…

  • Bill

    Gotta go with “Major League”. “Bull Durham” is a close second. Then “A League of Their Own”.

  • http://www.themoviescene.co.uk Andy

    The Rookie is definitely up there for me but I also like For Love of the Game.

  • Dart

    As a Canadian I’m expected to like hockey and just about all hockey-related movies. But I didn’t care much for any of the, what, six “Mighty Duck” movies. The Quebec turd “Les Boys” tries for the exact same thing as “Slapshot” and only comes off as a knock-off.

    Honestly? There is rarely an original sports-related movies. Even in terms of plot, there seems to be only a handful of patterns sports movies can follow. For example, washed up athlete gets a second chance, practices regardless of personal obstacles, overcomes and gains the respect of himself and everyone around him. Or team of underdogs without talent gets an inspirational coach, and they practice regardless of personal obstacles, overcome and gain the respect of themselves and everyone around them. Etc. Etc.

    Best sports movie? “Raging Bull”: raw, powerful, ugly (regardless of its gorgeous cinematography), with Robert De Niro’s greatest performance.

  • JoshDM

    Happy Gilmore.

  • Brian

    Does Gladiator count? How about Rollerball?

    No? Well, Grandpa says that The Princess Bride has sports in it. Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge . . .

  • JoshDM

    Seriously. You should see me play Tiger Woods 10 on the Wii from 10 feet away.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Raging Bull, The Great Ecstacy of Woodcarver Steiner, When We Were Kings, Touching the Void and The Damned United for me.

  • Bluejay

    Though I haven’t seen it in a while: Escape to Victory.

    Also, Space Jam. ;-)

  • Alli

    Dart, former hockey player here. For every major tournament my team would watch 3 movies on the bus: Mighty Ducks, A League of Their Own (it’s a chick athlete thing), and Mystery Alaska. I still enjoy watching the last two…the mighty ducks, not so much.

    My favorite all time is probably Field of Dreams. I always cry like a baby at the end when he plays catch with his dad. I’ve also discovered that I am not compatible with any man who does not like the film (or Bull Durham for that matter).

  • Bluejay

    Honestly? There is rarely an original sports-related movies. Even in terms of plot, there seems to be only a handful of patterns sports movies can follow. For example, washed up athlete gets a second chance, practices regardless of personal obstacles, overcomes and gains the respect of himself and everyone around him. Or team of underdogs without talent gets an inspirational coach, and they practice regardless of personal obstacles, overcome and gain the respect of themselves and everyone around them. Etc. Etc.

    How about: Allied POWs use soccer game as ruse to escape from German camp?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_to_Victory

  • http://meaning-seeker.blogspot.com/ Erica

    The first one that popped to my mind was “Cool Runnings.” I’m generally a serious film buff and the Disney movies are a little too wrapped up in deus de machina for me. This film, however, had great characters and a unique approach to the underdog theme.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106611/

  • David

    The original Bad News Bears
    Bull Durham
    Friday Night Lights (both movie and tv series)
    Caddyshack
    The Longest Yard (original)
    North Dallas Forty
    Varsity Blues

  • Cori Ann

    Man, what’s with all the hate for The Mighty Ducks? Either you loved them, and would therefore list them in your favorites, or they weren’t your thing and you would therefore just not mention them at all. MaryAnn didn’t ask for your least favorite sports movie folks. I’m just saying.

    Of course, I may only be riled because The Mighty Ducks was the first thing that popped into my head when I read today’s question. It came out when I was a kid and right when I was getting into hockey, so for me, that movie will always be inextricably wrapped up together with my love of the sport. The other two weren’t nearly as good as the first but still light-hearted fun.

    Closely following TMD are Field of Dreams, The Sandlot, and Bend it Like Beckham.

  • http://postitnotesfromhades.blogspot.com/ Persephone

    Horsefeathers with the immortal Marx Brothers, especially the bits that are not about football…

  • markyd

    The first movie to pop in my head was The Natural. Great movie.
    I am ashamed to say that I have to see Raging Bull. It’s in my Queue, though!

  • Mo

    Bend it like Beckham. ^.^

  • Hdj

    at #1 Rocky, its motivational and just a great movie involving drama and sport

    Friday night lights ( the movie only, not the tv show) It didn’t feature that predictable sports final seconds slow mo mircale ending . The drama was true to life, such as the NFL bound student who has a turn of fate.

    Growing up I was a big fan of ” The Sandlot” , and it still has a place on ” movies I grew up with” but being older I’ve grown to like the ” Major League” movies and its sequels. The ” Major League” movies are like “Airplane” and ” Hot shots” you can watch and laugh at them over and over.

  • Dr Rocketscience

    There are two kinds of men: Those who cry at the end of Field of Dream

    …and those who lie about it.

  • markyd

    I would admit if I cried at the end of Field of Dreams. But I can’t admit that, as I haven’t seen it(besides bits and pieces over the years).

    Yeah, I know. 0 for 2.

  • JoshB

    Field of Dreams (“Maybe this is heaven.” sniffle ), The Sandlot, Tin Cup.

    The only sport that I actually enjoy consistently is basketball, but I don’t really like any basketball movies. Hoosiers is OK, but not a favorite.

  • http://bzero.livejournal.com Bzero

    Whip It!

    Of course, roller derby is the only sport I like…

  • http://www.dubhsidhestudios.com bronxbee

    *The Rookie
    *A League of Their Own#
    *Bull Durham#
    *Major League
    *Caddyshack

    # tied

  • Jester

    Bull Durham.

  • Shaun

    Sandlot kids for sure. Who could forget The Beast?

  • Paul

    Ah, “Karate Kid” was the movie that instantly came to my mind, probably because my other main sport is weight lifting and I can’t think of any movies about that at all. But I did enjoy the majority of Rocky movies, A League of Their Own, and, to my surprise, Space Jam. That was the one with Bugs Bunny, right?

  • Stefanie

    Bull Durham, by a mile. The dialogue is classic, and the baseball is fun too.

  • Bluejay

    … and, to my surprise, Space Jam. That was the one with Bugs Bunny, right?

    Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. That’s the one. Saw it in a mall just to kill time, and had an unexpectedly good time.

    … my other main sport is weight lifting and I can’t think of any movies about that at all.

    What, you don’t like Pumping Iron? ;-)

  • Jurgan

    Definitely Sandlot. The truth is sports movies are so formulaic- underdog team gets inspired by something and go on to win The Big Game. It’s not only predictable, but it’s depressing, especially when applied to kids’ movies. The message is that the only thing that matters is winning, and kids are inculcated early with the idea that competition is the highest value. The Sandlot kids didn’t even play competitively, except in that one game that was barely even a plot point, and were instead caught up in the joy of being kids and having fun. It’s a nice message to counteract the win-at-all-costs attitude so prevalent in our society.

    Admittedly, though, most of the sports movies I’ve seen were kids’ movies from the 90′s (Mighty Ducks- fine, but fits the formula to a T). I haven’t even seen Rocky- I understand he loses? That’s at least different. Same with Cool Runnings, which I saw but barely remember.

  • iakobos

    posted by Paul — my other main sport is weight lifting and I can’t think of any movies about that at all.

    In that case I have a favorite weight lifting movie for you. Disney’s 1975 “The Strongest Man in the World” starring Kurt Russell. It’s campy and slap stick and funny.

  • Paul

    Kurt Russell? The strongest guy in the world? That would be campy. But thanks for the suggestion.

    No, can’t say I never saw “Pumping Iron” but now having read about it, I think I’ll stick to websites for my advice instead of movies. Thanks anyway. ;)

  • Christina

    I’m a sports-free zone most of the time, but I have to say, I really enjoy watching THE REPLACEMENTS – I even bought the DVD (cheap, but still…). It’s funny and self-deprecating in the right measures, and the “color commentary” cracks me up every time.

    And yes, whoever that was up there – SPORTS NIGHT was one of the best shows on television ever.

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