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10 Best Football Movies for Sports Fans

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The 21st Century TV Guide

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Watching football is a great Thanksgiving tradition, and if you can’t get enough of the game why not also feast on some football movies too?

Football movies have it all; with stories about camaraderie, inspiration, underdogs upsetting the odds and packed with more drama than The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

So if you’re looking for something to watch keep reading for 10 great films about football! (By the way, if you are staying somewhere where they are not so keen on the game check out our blog for some other ideas.)

1. Remember the Titans (2000)

This film takes place in the 70s in Virginia. The head coach of the high school team, Herman Boone, faces the challenge of racism with his team. 

After being integrated recently, the football team has tension internally and within the town. 

Coach Boone does his best to keep the team together despite the negativity. However, can he and the team succeed when it seems like the authorities are conspiring against them?

2. Friday Night Lights (2004)

3. Rudy (1993)

Rudy is about a kid who isn’t particularly good at anything. Meaning, he’s not very athletic and not the best student academically. However, he doesn’t let that stop him from making his dream come true. 

Somehow with his hard work and dedication, he makes the Notre Dame football team. Uncertain about the newcomer, his teammates eventually want to see him succeed once they realise how driven he is. Where does his path lead? Find out by watching this inspiring film.

4. The Longest Yard (1974)

Starring the legendary Burt Reynolds, as a former professional football player who finds himself on the wrong side of the law and serving prison time. While there, he reluctantly agrees to play in an exhibition game for the inmates against the guards.

The inmate’s team, known as the Mean Machine are forged from a motley crew who have to overcome a tragic event as well as deal with the corruption and provocation from the guards. Setting up an epic and bruising finale – can the Mean Machine take on and beat ‘The Man’?

This movie was also remade in 2005 and stars Adam Sandler.

5. Invincible (2006)

Based on a true story, this movie stars Mark Wahlberg who plays a football hopeful, Vince Papale. Vince is a regular guy, who is down on his luck and loves football. 

When the Eagles appoint Dick Vermeil who announces open tryouts for the team, Vince is convinced by his friends to follow his dream and go for it.

You can probably guess what happens next…but even so, this film is by far one of the most inspirational sports movies of all time. Not to be missed.

6. We Are Marshall (2006)

Another football movie based on a true story, around the tragic events of November of 1970, in which a plane crash took the lives of almost the entire Marshall University football team and coaches. Leaving the town and community devastated. 

Initially, the University President wants to suspend the football programme, but following the pleas of the students, residents and a handful of players who didn’t get on the plane, he is persuaded otherwise. A new head coach is hired; Jack Lengyel. 

Lengyel works hard with the few that remain after the disaster. As well as dealing with issues from the NCAA and doubts over whether he can succeed.

Probably the most heart-wrenching sports movie based on a true story.

7. Gridiron Gang (2006)

Gridiron Gang takes place as a movie at the Kilpatrick Juvenile criminal detention centre and this is where the counsellor of the centre, Sean Porter, was a former football player.

Porter sees how misguided these kids are and how little respect they have for anyone and feels that their redemption lies in football. So he decides to put together a team.

After training and helping the kids athletically, Porter starts seeing results. The team’s self-esteem, discipline, and unity grow substantially thanks to him. They then come up against a real test against a fantastic team. 14-0 down at half-time all looks lost – but is it?

8. Undefeated (2011)

Undefeated in an Oscar-winning inspirational documentary that follows the North Memphis Manassas High School football team in 2009. 

This school’s students were from harsh, underprivileged and poor backgrounds. Plus, the football team has never had a winning season at all. With those negativities, a winning season was out of sight for this team once again. 

However, Bill Courtney volunteers to be the head coach and teaches the kids to turn their situation around. He teaches them discipline, selflessness, and positivity. 

Courtney tells them embracing these new values will make a positive impact on the rest of their lives. A heart-warming tale with some great football game scenes.

9. Brian’s Song (1971)

Brian’s Song is a film based on true events. It features two teammates, Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, who overcome hardships to become best friends. 

They were the first black and white athletes to room together on the 1960s Chicago Bears team. Leading them to develop a deep bond while enduring a typically tough season. 

However, the true test of their friendship comes when Brian is diagnosed with cancer. Here is where they truly turn to each other for strength. Simply inspirational.

10. Any Given Sunday (1999)

Perhaps saving the best ’til last, this film certainly has a huge pedigree. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx we follow the trials and tribulations of the Miami Sharks. As with a lot of Oliver Stone movies, this looks at the power dynamics between the ambitious owner (Diaz) and veteran coach (Pacino) as well as the players with each other. This makes for a very wide-ranging, but hugely entertaining character study that you must watch.

And if you don’t know the “Inch by inch” speech – a) you are in for a treat, and b) where have you been?

Best Football Movies

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Football movies are full of determination and believing in your teammates. That’s why important life lessons can come from the best football movies and they do from many of our top 10. In fact, many of these sports movies only use the sport as a vehicle. The movies are, more often than not, about life lessons, motivation and success of the underdog.

So if you’re looking for an inspirational movie and love football, check out one of these films to enjoy on your next movie night.