When it comes to football movies, there are plenty out there that are truly some of the best you could ever experience. Sports movies in general often have great storylines, fun casts, and some cool, exciting sequences, but there’s nothing quite like football movies, and there are many that stand above the rest. And as the fall season approaches, another type of season is just starting up -- football, and what better way to celebrate it than watching some great football movies?
Some of these are classics featuring star actors, others are acclaimed features that you truly can’t pass up. But no matter what movie you end up picking as the leaves begin to turn colors and you hear the familiar whistle on the football field, we think you’ll enjoy any of the staff picks of great football films below.
If you’re looking for a fun sports comedy that will truly have you laughing for hours on end, check out THE REPLACEMENTS. In this underappreciated movie, starring two legendary actors, Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman, the audience gets to see what happens when a pro football team goes on strike. Instead of cancelling all games going forward, the owners decide to hire substitute players. In addition to Reeves and Hackman, the cast also includes Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton, Jon Favreau, Rhys Ifans and more.
Loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike, THE REPLACEMENTS is a heck of a fun time and, with a bit of romance and heart. Watching players who never really had the chance to play in a professional football game beforehand get the chance to do so is sweet, and it’s even better when you get to see them winning as a team. And while eventually all strikes come to an end, there’s no denying that there’s this sense of accomplishment that you feel for the players too. Also, Keanu Reeves is always a winner.
Adam Sandler has done numerous sports comedies, including HAPPY GILMORE and THE LONGEST YARD. But right now, we're talking about THE WATERBOY. Released in 1998, this comedy sports movie follows the titular waterboy when he discovers that he is great at tackling, and instead of handing out water, he becomes a member of the team.
There’s no denying that THE WATERBOY is funny, and Adam Sandler brings the laughs as you would expect. But truly, there’s nothing quite like THE WATERBOY, from its funny performances to its hilarious story to even the cast. Besides Adam Sandler, there are big names such as Kathy Bates, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed and so much more. Truly, a great sports film to get you in the mood for college football.
Any Given Sunday
With Oliver Stone’s ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, which is partially based on the novel “On Any Given Sunday” by Pat Toomay, the audience gets to follow the story of a fictional Miami Sharks as they try to rise up from the ashes in order to win more games after their first and second string quarterbacks are injured.
For anyone who has seen a football game, the possibility that both the first and second string quarterback can get seriously injured is a very big issue, which is why ANY GIVEN SUNDAY is such a great film. It shows how no matter what, even if there’s a third-string player put in there, or the whole team needs to be rebuilt, it’s game by game, day by day. You can win on “any given day.” The cast of the sports drama is nothing to sneeze at either, with names such as Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid and more among the ensemble.
The Blind Side
Now if you’re looking for an Academy Award® winning film, THE BLIND SIDE is the way to go. Released in 2009 and starring Sandra Bullock, this excellent movie is based on the story of NFL player, Michael Oher, who was able to overcome his life in poverty through the help of others and their compassionate hearts, going on to become a professional football player.
THE BLIND SIDE is a great football movie for so many reasons. Not only is the story of an underdog learning to overcome adversity always inspiring, but the performances itself are just outstanding. Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress in her lead role. The football scenes are also well choreographed, to the point where you might feel like you’re a player on the field while watching.
Remember The Titans
If you’re looking for a film that is truly legendary, REMEMBER THE TITANS is one that you won’t soon forget. Starring Denzel Washington, REMEMBER THE TITANS follows an African American coach who's hired to work with a high school football team, in his attempt to integrate the players and and bring the team together for victory.
REMEMBER THE TITANS is a very inspiring story, and based on the real-life tale of Herman Boone, showing just how much resilience he had so that both Black and white players could come together and play one game. It’s truly an amazing movie and one that you should definitely check out.
That’s right, there’s another underdog movie on this list but football movies and underdog movies just go hand in hand. AMERICAN UNDERDOG, released in 2021 and stars Zachary Levi, following the story of real-life quarterback, Kurt Warner, who started off his career as an undrafted player and ended up winning Super bowl XXXIV, showing his journey from an underdog to a legendary NFL football player.
Like THE BLIND SIDE, this movie is a biographical sports movie and tells a genuine story of overcoming adversity and proving to the world that you’re better than what they bargained for. Zachary Levi does an outstanding performance, alongside his co-stars, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid (with his second appearance on this list) and more.
Last but not least, you need to check out RUDY if you’re looking for a football movie - heck, you should watch RUDY just because it’s a great movie. In this classic sports film, which stars Sean Astin, the audience learns the story of Daniel Ruettiger, otherwise known as Rudy, who dreams of playing football at Notre Dame, despite not being as big or as fast as other aspiring players. But Rudy won’t let that stop him, and pursues his dream to attend the school and make the team.
This is the ultimate film for anyone who is looking for a true hero’s journey. Rudy is such a relatable person and the fact that he actually did get to play as a defensive end at Notre Dame is seriously so impressive. His story of resilience and bravery is one that has been passed down for generations to show that nothing should ever stop you from chasing your dreams -- this is one of the best football movies out there, and one you definitely need to see if you haven’t yet.
With football season right around the corner, what other movies are you excited to revisit in order to get yourself ready for football season? No matter what, you’ll surely get in the mood to toss around that ol’ pigskin at your next family event. Now huddle up!