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The top 20 sport movies of all time

The top 20 sport movies of all time

The world's greatest sporting tournament is about to commence this month in the form of the Fifa World Cup

With the world's greatest sporting tournament about to commence this month in the form of the Fifa 2022 World Cup, we decided to look at the most binge-worthy sports films that inspired us to get our sneakers on and break into a sweat.

The medium of film is so powerful, having the ability to awaken our senses to attempt new sports.

Who hasn’t shadowboxed after watching a Rocky film and gone to the local boxing gym thinking that one session would lay bare your talents for the world to witness, before deciding getting hit in the face wasn’t all Sylvester Stallone made it out to be?

Sports movies help us escape to that parallel dimension where we dream about the sports stars we always wanted to be, so sit back and binge on some of the greatest sports films of all time.

Without further ado, here are the top 20 sports films ranked by their Rotten Tomatoes scores:

20. The Mighty Ducks (1992), 21 percent


Who doesn’t love a movie about a group of no-hoper underdogs that come good at the end.

Emilio Esteves stars as Gordon Bombay, a washed-up ex-ice hockey player who gets a shot at redemption through coaching a group of misfits.

It really spawned a rollerblading hockey craze in every street.

Available to stream on Disney +

19. Rocky IV (1985), 37 percent


We could have had every Rocky movie in this list but we picked only one, the biggest and most over the top in the Rocky series to watch.

Rocky fights for democracy and crosses over the iron curtain to take on the formidable Dolph Lundgren.

The only boxing film with James Brown doing his thing.

Available to stream on DirectTV

18. Youngblood (1986), 44 percent


Rob Lowe stars alongside Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves in this little-known 80s ice hockey gem.

But it’s not all big hair and power ballads here as we get an intense well acted film following a rookie trying to make it in an ultra-tough sport.

You get blood, stitches and probably the strangest initiation hazing ceremony you will see.

Available to stream on fubotv

17. Any Given Sunday (1999), 52 percent

Warner Bros.

Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx star in Oliver Stone’s gritty drama showing how tough the NFL actually is - even your eyeballs aren’t safe playing this sport.

Stone makes you feel every bone-crunching hit all to a banging soundtrack.

Available to stream on Netflix

16. Top Gun (1986), 58 percent


Not a sports film, you might say…

Competition check, volleyball scene check, leaderboard chart check, Tom Cruise at his cockiest check, the late great Tony Scott’s Top Gun.

Available to stream on Paramount +

15. Escape To Victory (1981), 63 percent


Stallone, Caine, Pelé, even a feverish dream wouldn’t be able to fathom them sitting at the same table having dinner, but in Escape to Victory we get all three starring together in a version of The Great Escape with football.

Rent on Apple TV

14. The Running Man (1987), 67 percent

Tri-Star Pictures

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in a dystopian future ruled by corporations who run a reality tv show where criminals are forced to play blood sports games with a twist to survive.

Arnie ripping an ice hockey gladiator in half with his bladed hockey stick will make you cringe...

Available to stream on fubotv

13. Ali (2001), 68 percent


Michael Mann’s film about the G.O.A.T.

Will Smith gives a career-best performance playing Muhammad Ali showing the courage Ali had as an icon both inside and outside the ring.

A powerful movie about a truly great human being.

Rent on Apple TV

12. Tron (1982), 72 percent


Jeff Bridges is dragged into an alternate virtual world in this sci-fi sleeper from 1982 which everyone’s dads have seen but we might not have.

Players battle for their lives in neon future digital amphitheatres playing a version of the old spectrum game pong, almost a precursor to the Esports craze we have now where players are treated like rockstars by their fans.

Available to stream on Disney +

11. Cool Runnings (1993), 76 percent


Jamaican bobsleigh team in the Olympics? Yes there was, and this film tells the mayhem-filled true story with the legend John Candy at the centre. A hell of a feel-good movie.

Available to stream on Disney +

10. White Men Can’t Jump (1992), 77 percent

20th Century Studios

This explosively inventive take on the sports buddy movie works all down to the sublime chemistry between Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.

Watch these two hustle through the gritty basketball courts, trying to make their lives that little better.

Look out for the best 'yo mama' jokes put on film.

Rent or buy on Apple TV

9. The Longest Yard (1974), 79 percent

Paramount Pictures

We get Burt Reynolds but minus the tache in this American football film about a player sent behind bars and tasked with setting up a prison team. We truly have 1974 in a time capsule here.

Available to stream on STARZ

8. Bend It Like Beckham (2002), 85 percent


Set during the height of Beckham fever, Gurinder Chadha gives us a great coming-of-age movie where Parminder Nagra of ER fame plays a second-generation Asian girl battling to play football against her strict parent's wishes.

I bet Beckham himself would have jumped at the chance for a cameo in this smash hit.

Available to stream on HBO max

7. The Karate Kid (1984), 89 percent

Columbia Pictures

'Wax on wax off' - we all know the training quotes. This classic film should be watched by everyone making them believe waxing an old man's car can make you into a UFC beast.

Ralph Macchio stars in his career-defining role as Daniel Larusso who learns karate to fight off his tormentors.

Available to stream on fubotv

6. Million Dollar Baby (2005), 90 percent

Warner Bros.

Legendary Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood gives us this gritty drama about a waitress played by Hilary Swank who forcefully unearths a gift for boxing to escape her mundane existence. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman reteam again after their collaboration in the western Unforgiven.

All three lead stars won Oscars for this one. Enough said.

Available to stream on tubi

5. Shaolin Soccer (2001), 90 percent


From the wild Stephen Chow comes this mind-bending comedy combining the ancient arts of kung fu and soccer.

Not only one of the best sports movies but one of the best kung fu movies out there, where a gang of misfits learn to play a new sport, each bringing their own take to it.

Available to stream on Paramount +

4. Moneyball (2011), 94 percent


Brad Pitt stars in this true story of general manager Billy Bean who revolutionized how baseball teams operated.

Going against convention, his mantra spread into other sports such as football, influencing the likes of Jose Mourinho, signing players not just an on brand name but on their player stats became the norm. A must-watch for fans of any sport.

Available to stream on Netflix

3. Raging bull (1980), 94 percent

United Artists

Robert De Niro won his second Oscar playing the vicious and paranoid middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, teaming up for the first time with Joe Pesci playing his brother who he ritually belittles and humiliates.

Boxing is shown at its most brutal and beautiful by the consummate maestro Martin Scorsese - you can pause every scene, print it out and frame it on your wall as a work of art.

Available to stream on HBO max

2. Creed (2016), 95 percent

Warner Bros.

This flick brought Rocky back to a whole new generation and we all started shadowboxing in our living rooms to a music montage again.

Michael B. Jordan carves out a believable character that rivals Rocky, who mentors him to take the title.

1. The Wrestler (2008), 98 percent


Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is a poignant film depicting how wrestlers lead real lives away from the characters they portray in the ring, and when your glory years have passed you by leading a real life can be far crueller than the hits you take in the ring.

Mickey Rourke gives us an Oscar-winning performance tugging at the heartstrings as he tries to build a relationship with his estranged daughter.

Available to stream on HBO max

Featured Image Credit: Paramount

Topics: Sport, Entertainment