1. “Raging Bull” (1980)
This is definitely one of the more serious sports films ever made. “Raging Bull” isn’t necessarily about sports but about human nature. Lead character Jake La Motta, played by Robert De Niro, can’t control the fighting force that remains within him. In the ring, La Motta may be a winner, but in reality he’s a pure loser. The film makes for a brilliant character study about the man, and De Niro does an excellent job portraying La Motta. It may not be cheerful, but it’s not forgettable.
2. “Rocky” (1976)
Behind the scenes, the making of “Rocky” is truly a great underdog story, which allowed Sylvester Stallone to make the movie and earn many prospects from it. The movie does a great job of making us feel for the character and ultimately root for him in the final match when he goes up against a well-known boxer. It’s a fantastic story that gets better with each viewing, and you can’t listen to its great music score many people are familiar with and not feel excitement each time.
3. “Hoosiers” (1986)
This is easily the best basketball movie ever made. There’s a reason why many basketball coaches like to show their teams clips from this movie before big games. It’s the classic story of the underdog standing against overwhelming odds. It’s based on the true story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that surprised everyone by progressing to the Indiana State Championship and
winning. The game sequences are as exciting as watching a real high school basketball game.
4. “Bull Durham” (1988)
This could be taken as both a romantic comedy and a baseball movie, but the truth is it knows more about baseball than it does about love. It’s probably one of the better baseball movies I’ve seen. “Bull Durham” doesn’t merely have clear intelligence for the game, but also understands the players’ mindset. We even get into the inner thoughts of some of the players. And it makes sense why this is the case – the movie was written and directed by former minor league baseball player Ron Shelton. His experience shows.
5. “The Natural” (1984)
This baseball film is presented as a fable in how a heroic figure and would-be baseball player loses his way midway through life and then gets a second chance at playing the game he loves. Robert Redford owns his role as the main character; he looks like he is ready to play baseball and would even hit some balls out in his backyard. “The Natural” doesn’t just work as a baseball film. It is also an allegory for American life and how we can choose to live it. The film has a great music score from Randy Newman as well.