Before superhero movies were the biggest things to hit theaters, inspirational sports movies were all the rage. From Keanu Reeves to The Rock, these football-centered films have impacted, influenced, and motivated our lives for decades. They range from funny and heroic to sorrowful and inspirational, but we love them all the same. However, putting them in any sort of conditional order was a very difficult task to achieve -- but here's our best attempt at CoachUp's Best Football Movies Of All-Time!
7. Little Giants, 1994
OK, we couldn't resist putting on this fun family flick on the list -- since, you know, it actually stars some hard-working students. The film is centered around a pair of brotherly rivals as the coaches of two local Pee-Wee football teams in Urbania, Ohio. After Danny's older brother Kevin cuts his daughter from the team, along with several other lovable losers, the younger sibling is compelled to create a new team of ragtag players in order to take him down. Although the team is severely overmatched, they band together and bring out the best in each other. The Little Giants pull off a crazy 21-point comeback, defeat the evil older brother, and become legends in the town -- all because they just worked and trained really hard. It almost sounds like a CoachUp story, doesn't it?
6. The Replacements, 2000
Is there a better pick-me-up Keanu Reeves performance than his role as Shane Falco in 2000's The Replacements? Even better, Gene Hackman, deliverer of many epic, inspirational sports speeches, is the team's coach. Hackman, hired to create of team of replacement players thanks to a strike in the NFL, eventually convinces Reeves' Falco to return to the game. At first, the team struggles, gets arrested, and they doubt their decision to play football once again. But as the team develops chemistry, Falco regain his confidence before the final win-or-go-home game. In a way that almost mocks the cliched speeches of sports movies, Falco ends up delivering the film's most memorable lines -- Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever!
5. We Are Marshall, 2006
Described as a historical drama biopic, We Are Marshall focuses on the recovery after a 1970 plane crash that killed the entire Marshall University football team. Not only does this great film feature Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey, but it teaches our children, friends, and family about the impact of sports in our communities. Similarly to Remember The Titans, the film helps explore this role at-large and how important it is to band together when times are tough. Ultimately, the movie is a good reminder to not take things for granted and that we must work hard for the things we want.
4. Any Given Sunday, 1999
Al Pacino's stunning performance as Tony D'Amato, coach of the Miami Sharks, still resonates over fifteen years later. In fact, we would be willing to bet that his climatic final speech is used in 95% of pump-up videos on YouTube. Although D'Amato helps motivate the team to greater levels, this is one of the few timeless sports movies that doesn't culminate in championship glory. However, this star-studded cast comes together, works hard, and listens to many wonderful rants by Pacino as they grow up and learn the sport in front of our eyes.
3. Gridiron Gang, 2006
Who doesn't love The Rock? Dwayne Johnson stars as Sean Porter, coach of the Kilpatrick Mustangs, and follows his attempts to create yet-another ragtag team of athletes that don't belong together. However, this time, we focus on gang violence and the ability to overcome such a powerful thing in the face of friendship. This is another example that features team growth and understanding, but ultimately doesn't result in glory. At the movies climax, they defeat their rival that crushed them at the beginning, however, they lose the finals. But, at the end the day, the movie makes it clear that winning is not the most important thing in life. Instead, forming relationships that last forever as some of the most worthwhile things you can do as a human.
2. Remember The Titans, 2000
This may be a controversial #2, but Remember The Titans is an absolutely timeless movie -- we promise, you'll be showing this movie to your children and your children's children as well. Remember The Titans tackles issues of racism, violence, and acceptance head-on. Denzel Washington's performance as Coach Herman Boone is as memorable as they come and the rest of the cast is just as wonderful. Hailed as a flick that defeats the usual sports movie cliches, Remember The Titans is an emotional and uplifting look at the ability of sports to change lives in many important ways.
1. Rudy, 1993
For obvious reasons, this has to be CoachUp's favorite sports movie as Rudy overcomes and defeats obstacles over and over in order to chase his dreams. Near the end of the film, Rudy is attempting to quit the team before Fortune, one of Norte Dame's groundskeepers, reminds Rudy that he's already defied the odds by earning his spot on the field. Rudy found something he wanted and worked his butt off until he got it -- an overwhelmingly positive message for any generation of young athletes. If you give up, you never really had a chance at all -- so work until you find success and then work even more!