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The 5 Greatest Sports Movies

Sports provide the great drama that filmmakers and audiences crave: the stakes are high and everything hangs in the balance. For sports fans, movies about your favorite sport provide an extra special opportunity. Instead of merely observing the action from the stands or on television, the sports movie places the human element front and center.

People will always disagree about the exact order of the best sports films, but there are a select few that rise to the top of everyone’s list. Here’s our list of the five greatest sports movies, of all time.

1. Hoosiers

Gene Hackman stars in this 1986 movie of personal redemption and a team winning against the odds, set in the world of Indiana high school basketball. Coach Norman Dale winds up in a relatively random and very small rural town to teach high school and coach hoops. In the basketball-loving land of Hoosiers, the coach has a tough time winning the acceptance of students and parents. He inspires the students to grow as young people and athletes and end up making it all the way to the state championship against the big boys from South Bend.

2. Field of Dreams

America’s love affair with baseball comes with deep roots in family and history. The 1989 movie Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer whose cornfields become the source of imagination and hopes that baseball fans love to hold on to. The famous mantra “if you build it, he will come” inspires Costner’s character Ray to plow a field into a baseball diamond to call the spirits of long-dead ballplayers to the Iowa field. The story ends up fulfilling the dreams of everyone involved, from father and son connections to communities gathering around the ball field.

3. Caddyshack

Of the great sports comedies, Caddyshack ranks at the top for many. Harold Ramis directed this 1980 golf movie about a corrupt country club and the lower class characters that make the business go. For many fans, Bill Murray steals the show in Caddyshack with his inane gopher hunting, but there are more than enough shenanigans to go around while enjoying the rise to glory of the young caddy. Caddyshack is one of those movies you can pretty much always find on TV. Check your local listings at for the next showing.

4. The Natural

Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, epitomizes the image of the once and future hero for many sports fans. The drama is clear: Hobbs was a promising young pitcher until a crazed woman bent on murdering athletes shoots him the stomach. After disappearing for many years, Hobbs re-emerges as a home run hitting 39-year-old. While the team gets a new hero and Hobbs builds a new identity, he struggles with figuring out how to navigate love and emotions while still searching for greatness on the field.

5. Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese deftly tells the story of boxer Lake LaMotta in Raging Bull, starring Robert DeNiro. LaMotta’s temper and personal issues frequently stood in the way of his quest for glory in the ring, and DeNiro nails the character. As he works his way through temper flare-ups and family problems, LaMotta finds a way to channel his energy into being a better boxing while fighting to keep his loved ones by his side.

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