Top 20 football movies of all time

Sports movies usually aren’t ones to grip us at our very core or ones to win major Academy Awards. However, there are some movies that we remember fondly because it shows us the off-field struggles that teams and players may face on their way to greatness.

From racial tensions to dealing with the tragic loss of a family member to overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, these movies have done a great job warming our hearts in the past, regardless of if you are a sports fan.

What are the top 20 football movies of all time? Let’s check out our own list.

20. The 5th Quarter (2011)

The 5th Quarter tells the story of Wake Forest’s improbable 2006 season that saw them go 11-3, win the ACC, and play in the Orange Bowl. It also gives the emotional tale of linebacker Jon Abbate, who struggled with the death of his younger brother just weeks before the start of the season.

Ryan Merriman plays Abbate and does a terrific job showing the true emotion the real-life athlete must have felt after this horrific accident. It’s a story that will warm anyone’s heart and inspire us for years to come.

19. Black Sunday (1977)

You usually don’t describe a football movie as action-packed, that is exactly Black Sunday is. The movie was inspired by the real-life terrorist group, Black September, who organized the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

It shows us the story of former American pilot Michael Lander, who was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. He conspires with Palestinian terrorists to blow up a Goodyear Blimp, which Lander flies, over the Super Bowl, where more that 80,000 people are attending.

18. Jerry Maguire (1996)

What is better than having Tom Cruise play a struggling sports agent trying to regain his fame in the business? Putting a loud-mouthed, obnoxious, Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr. alongside him.

This movie is better known as being a romantic comedy, but it also shows the bond that a sports agent and superstar athlete can truly have.

17. Gridiron Gang (2006)

Dwayne Johnson does a terrific job of playing Sean Porter, a real-life juvenile detention center guard who proposes a football team being the best option for many of the young men in the facility. This movie shows fans that all anyone really needs is a second chance.

The team overcomes all odds and it ends with many of the members of the team being released from the center and going on to turn their lives around.

16. Undefeated (2011)

This documentary follows Manassas High School football coach Bill Courtney as he tries to keep his kids out of jail, off the streets, and from getting killed. He takes the team, who was notoriously one of the worst programs in the state of Tennessee and turns them into a surprising Cinderella story.

Undefeated is a heart-warming story that anyone can enjoy. It even won an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature.”
15. Woodlawn (2015)

Woodlawn tells the inspirational tale of a high school football team overcoming racial tensions during the 1970’s and bonding through not only football, but through Christ as well.

More than 20 years after his last football role, Sean Astin comes in as an outsider to speak with the team, inspiring them to give their lives to God and that, in turn, helps the town realize that their team is connected in a special way.

14. Varsity Blues (1999)

If you ever wondered what high school football was like in the state of Texas, you could watch this comedic tale of a high school quarterback who overcomes his father trying to live vicariously through him.

The team overcomes their dictator-esque coach (Jon Voight) to win the state championship, all while having some crazy adventures along the way.

13. Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008)

This documentary tells the story of Harvard and Yale, two bitter rivals, meeting up in 1968 as undefeated teams for the first time in 60 years. The latter was heavily favored and it showed in the game as they got up 22-0 on the Crimson.

Alumni from the game, including former Harvard guard Tommy Lee Jones, reminisce on the game, which ended in a 29-29 tie, but with the Crimson declaring victory after scoring 29 of the last 36 points.

12. Invincible (2006)

This film tells the inspirational story of real-life man Vince Papale, played by Mark Wahlberg. He just wants more in his life and when he sees that his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, are holding open tryouts, everyone encourages the bartender to take the chance.

He does so and goes on to have a short-lived career with the Eagles as a special teams player, which is highlighted by him returning a fumble for a touchdown against the favorite team of the women he later falls in love with, the New York Giants. This helps him realize that he is truly successful in his own eyes.

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