50 Films Featuring Football Action
If youre a football fan like me, then you always jump at the opportunity to see your favorite sport featured on the big screen. Thats why Ive compiled this list of 50 football movies that you may want to check out. Granted, every film may not feature on-the-field action, but beggars cant be choosers when it comes to sports movies
1. Rudy (1993) – Based on the true story of Daniel Rudy Ruettiger, this movie is designed to make football fans weep like uncontrollable fools. The first film to be shot on the Notre Dame campus since 1940, it features Sean Astin in a pre-Samwise Gamgee role. Also, be on the lookout for a very young Vince Vaughn as one of Rudys Fighting Irish teammates.
2. Semi-Tough (1977) – Burt Reynolds and the always-grizzled Kris Kristofferson compete for the affections of their female roommate, played by Jill Clayburgh. Theres some football thrown in for good measure (since both male leads play in the pros), but much of the movie makes fun of self-help movements from the 70s. If youre under 30, approach this one with caution.
3. The Best of Times (1986) – After dropping a key pass during a high school football game, the life of Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) has never been the same. Years later, he engineers a rematch to regain his dignity, calling on local hero Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell) to once again lead their team. I must admit that Ive been known to get a little misty-eyed during the films final minutes.
4. Friday Night Lights (2004) – Based on the book by the same name, this movie explores the fanaticism surrounding high school football in Texas. Later turned into a television series, this one has more than enough action to keep football fans satisfied. Its also got Billy Bob Thornton (nuff said).
5. The Game Plan (2007) – Dwayne The Rock Johnson plays a swinging football star who has his bachelor life ruined by an 8-year-old girl whos supposed to be his daughter. As the movie progresses, he slowly matures and tries to win the affection of his child. This is a Disney movie, so I dont have to tell you how it ends (hint: the kid gets flattened by a dump truck).
6. Forrest Gump (1994) – While being chased by rednecks, Forrest Gump is advised by his slutty friend Jenny to Run, Forrest, run!. He does, and his idiot-like speed allows him to capture All-American honors while playing for Bear Bryants Crimson Tide. Along the way, he also plays a little ping-pong and drinks some Dr. Pepper.
7. Brians Song (1971) – While playing fullback for the Chicago Bears, Brian Piccolo was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching tale combines James Caan as Piccolo with Billy Dee Williams as his friend, the legendary Gale Sayers. While Brians Song is a great film, dont watch this one unless you want to be depressed for the rest of the day.
8. The Waterboy (1998) – While he may not be exceptionally bright, waterboy Bobby Boucher is a tackling machine for the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. If youre a fan of either Adam Sandler or football, then youll want to watch this one. If not, then there must be something wrong with your medulla oblongata. Also stars Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk and Clint Howard.
9. Wildcats (1986) – I was never crazy about Goldie Hawn, but football fans will still get a kick out of this inner-city underdog tale. Hawn plays the daughter of a famous football coach who dreams of coaching her own team. Players on the team include Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.
10. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – Napoleons a weird dude, content to spend much of his time drawing ligers and practicing with a bo staff. The real star of the film, however, is his underachieving Uncle Rico. Convinced that he could have made it in the NFL with more on-the-field experience, Uncle Rico spends a disturbing amount of time filming himself throwing passes to nobody in particular.
11. Radio (2003) – Ya just gotta love films featuring simple people. While I normally prefer movies where simpletons whack Dwight Yoakam in the head with a lawn mower blade, Ill have to list Radio as an exception. In it, Cuba Gooding Jr. briefly halts his career death spiral long enough to star opposite Ed Harris. Based on a true story.
12. The Replacements (2000) – While the pampered NFL players are on strike, a team of misfits are put together to play. Led by ex-coaching legend Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) and washed-up quarterback Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), the team does not-so-surprisingly well. As the movie says, Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.
13. Any Given Sunday (1999) – Oliver Stone is crazy as hell, so youve gotta expect a football film directed by him to be equally over-the-top (including a player getting his eyeball knockout out onto the field). Great cast, though, as it stars Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, Charlton Heston, Aaron Eckhart, Lauren Holly, LL Cool J, Jim Brown, Matthew Modine and John C. McGinley.
14. Two For the Money (2005) – All about the world of sports betting, Two For the Money stars Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino as handicapping geniuses. Pacino chews up the scenery per usual, and his heart attack in the airport scene is not to be missed. Hoo hah!
15. The Last Boy Scout (1991) – Set against a backdrop of professional football and sports gambling, this film teams up former pro quarterback Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) and private detective Joe Hollenbeck (Bruce Willis) to solve a murder. The movies opening credits really set the tone, and the scene where a drugged-out player brings a gun onto the field is remarkably zany.
16. Paper Lion (1968) – Author George Plimpton tried out for the third-string quarterback position with the Detroit Lions and then wrote a book about it. That book was then made into a movie starring Alan Alda. If youve even wanted to see Hawkeye Pierce try to avoid the blitz, then go rent this film.
17. MASH (1970) – Speaking of Hawkeye Pierce, this classic comedy would later spawn the legendary television series of the same name. In the latter part of the movie, a friendly football game is organized between the boys of the 4077 and the unit of one General Hammond. Enter the ringer: Dr. Oliver Harmon Spearchucker Jones (Fred Williamson).
18. We Are Marshall (2006) – Following a 1970 plane crash which killed almost every player on Marshalls Thundering Herd football team, the community and new coaching staff band together to rebuild the team. Stars Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox.
19. All the Right Moves (1983) – Prior to getting caught up in Scientology, Tom Cruise played promising high school defensive back Stef Djordjevic in this early 80s gem. While he doesnt dance in his underwear or mix cocktails, we do get to see Tom make moves on the gridiron (all the right ones) and engage in numerous confrontations with his head coach (Craig T. Nelson).
20. Everybodys All-American (1988) – College quarterback Gavin Grey (Dennis Quaid) has it all: hes going to the pros, and hes banging Babs Rogers (Jessica Lange). But over the next 25 years of his life, we see that things dont go as smoothly as people might expect. Based on a book by writer Frank Deford.
21. Little Giants (1995) – Think pro football is tough? Then watch this film starring Rick Moranis and Ed ONeill and marvel at the brutality of the Pee-Wee league. Cameos from former NFL stars include: John Madden, Emmitt Smith, Tim Brown, Bruce Smith and Steve Emtman.
22. The Comebacks (2007) – Serving as a spoof of all those inspirational sports movies, The Comebacks stars David Koechner, Carl Weathers and Matthew Lawrence. Ultra-hottie Stacy Keibler also makes an appearance as All-American Mom. And what would a sports movie be without the inclusion of the always-masculine Andy Dick?
23. The Faculty (1998) – Directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Usher and Jordana Brewster, this horror flick concerns alien parasites taking over a high school. In a great scene, the local football players infect the visiting team during an especially violent game set to Another Brick in the Wall.
24. Reggies Prayer (1996) – Former NFL star and current dead guy Reggie White stars in this low-budget film which panders to the religious crowd. Not to be missed are Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren honing their acting chops as a pair of bumbling janitors.
25. Remember the Titans (2000) – If Denzel Washington is leading your football team, then you known youre going to come out on top. Oh, and apparently blacks and whites didnt get along in the South in 1971. Who knew? Considered by many to be the greatest sports movie ever made.
26. The Program (1993) – James Caan plays a hardass coach who leads his college football team towards a bowl game. Along the way, players struggle with jealousy, injuries and drug abuse. Note: after watching this film, do not lay down in the middle of the street as cars pass by.
27. Lucas (1986) – Corey Haim plays a nerdy kid named Lucas who wants to impress the new girl in town. This culminates in Lucas joining the football team and getting his scrawny ass sent to the hospital. What the hell was he thinking?
28. Flash Gordon (1980) – In this film version, Flash Gordon (Sam Jones) is a star player for the New York Jets. When Ming the Merciless and his minions come to conquer Earth, Flash is quick to use his football skills to knock bunches of them to the ground. The over-the-top soundtrack is performed by Queen.
29. Horse Feathers (1932) – While this Marx Brothers film may have been made in the 30s, its commentary on college football still rings true. Lots of zany gridiron action, and the final scene involving a horse-drawn garbage wagon is a must-see.
30. Gridiron Gang (2006) – Another football film starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Gridiron Gang concerns the efforts of Sean Porter (The Rock) to reform a group of juvenile delinquents through football. Hey, at least theyre not learning freakin poetry.
31. Fumbleheads (1999) – Listed as a football comedy, Fumbleheads stars none other than Ed Asner. Surely the thought of Lou Grant in a football movie is enough to get you headed straight for Blockbuster. Barry Corbin and Austin Pendleton round out this talented yet over-the-hill cast.
32. Necessary Roughness (1991) – After their whole team is scrapped due to various NCAA violations, the Texas State University Fighting Armadillos have to start the season with a wacky team of rejects. Players include middle-aged freshman Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), college professor Andre Krimm (Sinbad) and female placekicker Lucy Draper (Kathy Ireland). Hilarity ensues.
33. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – Not much football takes place in this Jim Carrey vehicle, but the Miami Dolphins are featured prominently (especially Dan Marino and their faux-mascot, Snowflake the Dolphin). Courtney Coxs fine ass provides the eye candy, and a transsexual kicker is provided to make us all feel sexually confused.
34. North Dallas Forty (1979) – Based on the semi-biographical novel by former Dallas Cowboys receiver Peter Gent, this movie follows the drug and alcohol-fueled exploits of receiver Phillip Elliott (Nick Nolte) and quarterback Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis). Its a classic sports film, and the non-traditional ending is a refreshing change of pace.
35. Invincible (2006) – Based on the true story of Vince Papale, a Philadelphia bartender who made the Eagles roster following an open tryout, this film showcases the charm of Mark Wahlberg and the hotness of Elizabeth Banks. Greg Kinnear plays Dick Vermeil, but he doesnt weep nearly enough to seem realistic.
36. They Call Me Sirr (2001) – This TV movie chronicles the life of Sirr Parker, a young man who overcame numerous obstacles to become a star running back at Texas A&M University. He would later go on to play in the NFL, CFL and Arena League. Michael Clarke Duncan plays his high school coach with the ability to bring dead mice back to life.
37. Heaven Can Wait (1978) – Warren Beatty comes back from the dead to lead the Rams to the Super Bowl. Whens somebody gonna do this for the Cardinals?
38. The Second String (2002) – When the entire Buffalo Bills offense comes down with food poisoning, its up to a group of misfits to lead the team into the playoffs. Ill bet thats the last time the players try some of Marv Levys special chili.
39. The Junction Boys (2002) – Based on the book by the same name, The Junction Boys focuses on Paul Bear Bryants insane 10-day training camp for Texas A&M players in 1954. In the middle of a Texas drought, players practiced all day without water in temperatures over 100 degrees. Somebody should have kicked Bear Bryants ass.
40. Angels In the Endzone (1997) – Christopher Lloyd and a gang of fellow angels appear to help out the crappy Westfield High football team. The next time you need an angel, youll know who to blame when they dont appear.
41. Jerry Maguire (1996) – Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who suffers a crisis of conscience. After losing most of his clients, hes only left with loudmouthed Cardinals receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). Things all work out in the end, and little Jonathan Lipnicki is so cute that you could smother him with a pillow. Fellow Scientologist Kelly Preston looks so hot that it hurts.
42. Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998) – What do you get when you combine a football-playing golden retriever with NFL stars Warren Moon and Joey Galloway? Pure movie magic.
43. Knute Rockne, All American (1940) – Ronald Reagan portrayed George The Gipper Gipp in this classic film about the life of Notre Dames most famous coach. While the film focuses on Rockne, the line Win just one for the Gipper, really steals the show.
44. Black Sunday (1977) – Bruce Dern plays a deranged blimp pilot who plans to stage a terrorist attack during the Super Bowl. Robert Shaw is the Mossad agent assigned to stop him. The final chase scene between a blimp and helicopter is certainly unique.
45. Leatherheads (2007) – George Clooney and John Krasinski play football during the 20s. Renee Zellweger plays at looking like a squinty-eyed woman/fish hybrid. You tell me which is more entertaining.
46. The Longest Yard (1974) – Eddie Albert does a nice job of playing the bastard prison warden. Other standouts include Burt Reynolds (Paul Wrecking Crewe), James Hampton (Caretaker) and Michael Conrad (Nate Scarboro). Like the remake, there are plenty of roles for NFL players, including Joe Kapp, Ray Nitschke and Pervis Atkins.
47. The Longest Yard (2005) – While its nowhere as good as the original, this Adam Sandler remake is full of stars. It features Burt Reynolds, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner, Michael Irvin, Bob Sapp, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Dan Patrick and many, many more. And dont forget to check out Courtney Coxs magnificent boobs in the opening minutes of the film.
48. Two-Minute Warning (1976) – A sniper has positioned himself inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and its up to Charlton Heston and John Cassavetes to stop him. Luckily, Chuck Heston has been known to carry a few guns of his own.
49. Varsity Blues (1999) – High school student-athletes in Texas deal with the usual teen angst issues. Jon Voight acts like a madman as their win-at-all-costs coach, and James Van Der Beek exudes the kind of brooding charm that once drove teens across America wild with lust. Amy Smart and Ali Larter provide the erections.
50. Johnny Be Good (1988) – Former movie geek Anthony Michael Hall suits up as a top high school quarterback in this film. His girlfriend is played by a young Uma Thurman (back when she was still hot), and his best friend is Robert Downey, Jr. (fresh off his 3rd stay in rehab). The title song is covered by none other than Judas Priest.