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Top 10 Best Football Movies

Now that the NFL is back in full force, football is on the minds of millions of people all across the United States.  Over the years, Hollywood has shared this fascination of the country’s most popular sport by producing many wonderful football films.  To celebrate another season, let’s take a look at the best football movies of all-time.  As a note, Rudy will not be on the list because he was offsides.  Anywho, let’s see what films made the list:

#10: We Are Marshall (2006)

It’s most certainly trite and cliche, but McG’s We Are Marshall (remember McG?) pays ample respect to the 75 lives lost in the tragic airplane crash back in 1970.  Considering the subject matter, glorifying the story and making the film “Hollywoodized” was maybe the only realistic way to take the film without it becoming a true downer.

The film is headlined by Matthew McConaughey’s charismatic performance as Jack Lengyel, the coach of the team.  His character had quite a battle ahead of him in attempting to rebuild an entire football program.  Luckily, McConaughey’s performance powers We Are Marshall to a moderately enjoyable ride.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 49%

Metacritic Score: 53

MovieBabble Score: C+

#9: The Blind Side (2009)

In what will be an occurring remark in this list, The Blind Side is incredibly cliched and filled with schmaltz, but that doesn’t mean that the film can’t be enjoyed.  Sandra Bullock remains likable as a wealthy Southern woman that helps Michael (played wonderfully by Quinton Aaron) get off the streets and find a loving home.  The film feels almost like a fairytale considering its subject matter, but that only helps to make you feel even better as the end credits come over the screen.

However, it doesn’t help that the real figure behind the story, Michael Oher, says that his NFL career was negatively affected by the film in the long run.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 67%

Metacritic Score: 53

MovieBabble Score: C+

#8: The Waterboy (1998)

The Waterboy may be stupid, crass, and possibly even annoying, but one can’t help but have an odd attachment to this film.  Adam Sandler‘s screwball comedy manages to remain as quotable as ever as the decades have passed.  If you’re on a college campus, it be tough to get through a week without someone yelling one of Bobby Boucher’s barely understandable lines of dialogue.

The Waterboy perfectly classifies as a cult classic.  It may not have the broadest appeal, but those who get it absolutely adore the film.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 35%

Metacritic Score: 41

MovieBabble Score: C+

#7: Any Given Sunday (1999)

Oliver Stone’s foray into sports is widely uneven.  Although it sometimes has some intriguing commentary on the life of an NFL player, it routinely becomes absurd.  You’ve probably taken it too far when a player gets his eyeball torn out during a game.

However, even with all of its deficiencies, one can’t help but fall in love with this movie for some odd reason.  There’s a strange kinetic energy to the film that envelopes you, winning you over by the time the film is compete.

It also helps that the film hosts a few great performances, most notably from Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato and Jamie Foxx as Willie Beamen.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 51%

Metacritic Score: 52

MovieBabble Score: B-

#6: North Dallas Forty (1979)

Although it may not be the most memorable sports film, North Dallas Forty contains what many sports film do not: a sense of extreme realism.  Many NFL players have commented about how real the film is whether its on the field play or off-field drama.  When your film has athletes lauding its strenghts, you must have done something right.

The film does nothing to glorify the sport, almost acting as a cautionary tale to those who wish to make football into a living.  Nick Nolte is superb as the antihero-like Phil Elliott, channeling his inner roughness for the role.

If North Dallas Forty were to be described in one word, it would probably be “destructive.”

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 87%

Metacritic Score: N/A

MovieBabble Score: B+

#5: Friday Night Lights (2004)

Although many might gravitate more towards the television series that came about because of this film, there’s no denying the serious dramatic heft in Friday Night Lights.  Peter Berg captures the love for high school football that swells all over the middle of the country, showing an atmosphere that can be more cutthroat than college football in the same area.  Many fail to realize how realistic the sensationalism of football is in the Southwest is in Friday Night Lights.

The film is powered by a standout performance from Billy Bob Thornton, the coach in the middle of the chaos.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 81%

Metacritic Score: 70

MovieBabble Score: B+

#4: Invincible (2006)

Depicting the true life underdog story of Vince Papale, Invincible shines despite its inherent cliched story.

Invincible peels back the onion of life in the NFl for those who struggle to stay on a roster.  These athletes will go to great lengths to stay employed, even if it means a greater risk of injury.

Mark Wahlberg is incredibly likable as the 31-year old bartender turned football player, adding all the charm and grit that is necessary of the role.  Although the film becomes a tad “Disney-fied” in its execution, there’s not doubting that the film is a triumphant filled with a ton of heart and charm.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 71%

Metacritic Score: 63

MovieBabble Score: B+

#3: The Longest Yard (1974)

Many people these days know of the remake of The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler (which has its moments), but most would agree that the original is on another level that can’t be reached.

Burt Reynolds shines as Paul Crewe, an ex-football star turned convict, powering the film to a gritty yet incredibly funny ride.  A special shoutout goes to Eddie Albert as the warden who performs admirably as an easily hated human being, giving the convicts extra motivation to beat the guards in the final showdown.

Like every other movie on this list, The Longest Yard has some cliches, but there’s too many memorable characters to cast the film aside.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 81%

Metacritic Score: N/A

MovieBabble Score: A-

#2: Jerry Maguire (1996)

Somewhat of an outlier on the list, Jerry Maguire depicts the business side of the sport with undeniable charm and wit.

Tom Cruise remains as likable as ever as the title character, letting loose while still managing to play it cool.  However, the showstopper of the film will always be Cuba Gooding Jr. who uses the film to display his eccentric, energetic nature which would later get him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Jerry Maguire will always be rememebered for the famous “show me the money” scene, but the film is populated with a ton of heart from director Cameron Crowe and a lovable relationship between Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger that’ll keep you smiling long after the film is over.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 83%

Metacritic Score: 77

MovieBabble Score: A-

#1: Remember the Titans (2000)

Is Remember the Titans predictable and cliched?  Absolutely.  There’s no denying the fact.  However, unlike many other sports film, Remember the Titans contains enough social commentary and dramatic heft to transcend the term “crowd pleaser.”

Denzel Washington once again proves why he’s one of the best in the business, providing an outstanding performance as Coach Herman Boone.  He commands the screen, giving the characters in the film ever reason to strive for greatness.  There’s so many likable relationships in this film that all feel fully fleshed-out.  It’s actually pretty amazing that the film remains cohesive with all its lovable characters that get screen time.

Remember the Titans is one of those films that’ll make you cheer no matter what.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 73%

Metacritic Score: 48

MovieBabble Score: A-

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Thanks for reading!  What are your personal best football movies?  Comment down below!

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Nick Kush

A current college student, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 in order to provide insightful film analysis that is meant to educate and entertain. Nick is also a member of the Internet Film Critics Society.

19 Responses

  1. I gotta agree on Rudy and The Replacements. Two of my favorites. I’ve always felt Jerry Maguire was a rom-com and not really a football movie, but that’s me. I’d also have to add some of my other favorites Varsity Blues and Gridiron Gang. Great list!

    • Nick Kush says:

      Thanks so much! Jerry Maguire can definitely be taken as a rom-com, but it’s also pretty fun to see the people that aren’t on the field.

  2. csheldonblog says:

    When I was this come up in my mail, I was like I can only think of 2 football films and they are filled with violence! Then I was like ohhhh American football!

  3. I’ve only seen The Blind Side and Invincible.

    What did you think of Brian’s Song?

    • Nick Kush says:

      I really don’t have an opinion on it. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it and it hasn’t really left an imprint on me.

  4. Agree, love the Replacements–especially the line dance to “I will survive.”

  5. Jason says:

    Definitely agree with you…Remember the Titans is the absolute best. Although, I would include the film Draft Day on your list as its about the fictional NFL draft day with the usage of the league teams and real life football broadcasters and players.

  6. Bryan Caron says:

    I don’t know. Most of your picks are great, but in what world is there a top 10 best football movies list that doesn’t include “Rudy”?

  7. fivezero says:

    Of your list, I’ve only seen Jerry Maguire; I’ll have to put Remember the Titans and Any Given Sunday on my watchlist.

    Also, it’s not a “great” movie by any means, but I enjoyed The Replacements!

  8. Great list. Now which of these do I watch this weekend..

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