The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Top Ten: Sports Movies


By Ryan Murphy

10. Space Jam
Bill Murray: It’s ’cause I’m white, isn’t it?
Michael Jordan: No. Larry’s white, so what?
Bill Murray: Larry’s not white. Larry’s clear.
It has Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and the Looney Tunes. Enough said. It’s one of those movies from my childhood, and it gets a spot for that reason. A brilliant cinematic movie? No. An entertaining watch? Absolutely.


9. The Express
Texas Longhorn player: I’m gonna kick your black ass back to Africa boy!
Jack Buckley: Oh yeah? Too bad I’m from Philly.
The story of Syracuse legend Ernie Davis, it does a great job of depicting the racism faced by Davis, the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner. The Cotton Bowl game was shot at Northwestern’s Ryan Field, a personal bonus.

8. Remember the Titans
“I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated. That’s just the way it is.”
The classic inspirational sports movie. Not a perfect movie, but a great one.

7. Rocky
“You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!”
It’s Rocky. It has to be on a sports movie top ten list.

6. Any Given Sunday
“You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is.”
Another speech that makes you want to run through a wall. A great football movie with a great cast.

5. 61*
“And I’ll tell you something else, the right guy is going to break that stupid record!”
*The only non-big screen film on the list. Billy Crystal does a great job at telling the story of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s chase at the home run record of 1961.

4. Hoosiers
“Welcome to Indiana basketball”
Indiana basketball is portrayed brilliantly, and Gene Hackman as one of the greatest coaches in sport film history make Hoosiers an all-time classic.

3. Miracle
“Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”
First, if that speech doesn’t fire you up, check your pulse. A great movie about one of America’s greatest sports moments. Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Herb Brooks makes his movie great.

2. The Sandlot
“You’re killing me Smalls!”
It’s the most relatable movie on the list. Everybody could relate to one of those Sandlot kids. The Sandlot represents the purity and fun of baseball. Note: It’s no coincidence that both No.1 and No. 2 feature James Earl Jones.

1. Field of Dreams
“Is this Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”
Field of Dreams is my best sports movie of all time. From the opening “If you build it, he will come,” to the final scene, Field of Dreams is one of the greatest films ever.