It’s no secret how football is a big deal in America. Fans take their team loyalty very seriously. The sport has even been described as the ‘closest sport to war’ as playing or even just being a fan of it, it involves intense physicality, fierce competition, and even drama. We bet you’ve heard of fist fights between opposing teams’ fans outside football arenas.
To pay tribute to one of America’s favorite sports, here are 10 of the best football movies of all time.
10 Best Football Movies of All Time
The Blind Side (2009)
The Blind Side (2009) tells the true story of Michael Oher, an NFL lineman who has an inspiring story from being homeless to being a football star.
Although the film was criticized for being just a tad too embellished for being based on a true story, even Oher expressed his disappointment at the film’s portrayal of him, The Blind Side still a very inspiring movie to watch showing us the wonderful things that leaving our comfort zones will lead to.
Undefeated (2011) is an Academy Award-winning documentary about the North Memphis Manassas High School football team and their 2009 season.
The film presents a classic underdog story with the school football team having a reputation for being composed of poor kids who lose year after year. Their lives are changed when Bill Courtney volunteers to coach the team showing them the importance of discipline, teamwork and character development in succeeding in the field.
Although the film refrains from providing us with easy happy endings, the team’s labor would eventually bear fruit.
Brian’s Song (1971)
Often dubbed as Beaches for men, Brian’s Song (1971) is one of the best sports film about the true to life story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. The two were friends as well as teammates in the Chicago Bears. Their interracial friendship served as a beacon of hope for the civil rights movement which is still trying to solve the problem of racial segregation. Unfortunately, their friendship is tested when Brian is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Better get the tissues out before you sit down to watch this heartwarming tale of friendship.
Knute Rockne: All American (1940)
Knute Rockne: All American (1940) is a biographical film about the titular Knute Rockne, a young Norwegian immigrant who would, later on, join the Notre Dame University football team and go on to become a sports legend.
Here we see Knute as a young boy who loves football until his career highlights as a player and as one of college football’s best coaches. As Notre Dame’s head coach, he led the team to five undefeated football seasons and six national championships. He is played by former President Ronald Reagan.
North Dallas Forty (1979)
While the previous films focussed on the more positive side of the sport, North Dallas Forty (1979) presents a grittier side to football.
It shows unethical practices such as the exploitation of players by football team owners and the drugging of athletes so that they could continue playing. The events in the film are based on Peter Gent’s semi-autobiographical book discussing his experiences playing as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys during the 1960s.
It’s also considered to be one of the best films in the sports genre.
Here’s another film about Notre Dame University’s famed football team.
This time we see underdog Rudy, an underprivileged kid who dreams of playing for the legendary Notre Dame team despite not having the grades nor the money to get into the expensive school in the first place. But he didn’t let his unfortunate circumstances stop him.
Overcoming his learning disability, he gets into the university and must now fight tooth and nail to make it onto the football team he’s dreamed of playing for.
Rudy (1993) is definitely the film to watch when you’re facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles in achieving your dreams.
The Freshman (1925)
One of the earliest football movie in history, The Freshman (1925) is a silent comedy film about a first-year college student who decides to try out for the football team to become more popular on campus.
It stars famous comedy actor Harold Lloyd in the titular role as the freshman. A fair warning though, this is a silent film, as mentioned above, so it may not be everybody’s cup of tea.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Any Given Sunday (1999) is a film which meditates not just on the sport but how politics, business interests, and even culture affects it and the people who participate in it.
The film follows a fictional American football team struggling to win games due to internal problems such as aging players, after enjoying previous success on the field.
It features a star-studded cast with the likes of Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid and Jamie Foxx in the lead roles.
Another film based on a true story, Invincible (2006) tells the story of Vince Papale, a middle-aged teacher who finds his dreams come true when he qualifies to play for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The film offers an amazing message of it never being too late to chase your dreams no matter how impossible they may seem.
Aside from its uplifting story, the film is also praised for its realistic and gritty portrayal of the sport during the 1970s. Not to mention, it features a great cast of actors particularly Mark Wahlberg who played Papale.
Friday Night Lights (2004)
Topping our list of best football movies is Friday Night Lights (2004).
Utilizing a handheld camera technique, the film sought to show us an intimate look at a high school football team’s game season and endeavored to capture the entire affair including the players’ behind the scenes drama both on and off the playing field.
Director Peter Berg documentary-like take on the film matches well with its original source material– a nonfiction account by Buzz Bissinger. The film is also notable for Billy Bob Thornton’s performance as the team’s dedicated coach.
What do you think of our list of the 10 best football movies of all time? What other movies would you have added on our ranking? Share your ideas in the comment section below!