Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Favorite Sports Films ""

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Favorite Sports Films

This one came to me over the weekend, partially inspired by a recent viewing of VISION QUEST(which is on Netflix Instant right now btw) , which I hadn't seen in a long time and had totally underrated. I am a sucker for sports films and even the cheesiest of them tends to draw me in on some emotional level. Hard not to like a good sports film even if you don't love sports. Please remember that my ratings really have to do with my personal favorites and which films I'd rather watch if I'm gonna put something on. I'm not trying to say TEEN WOLF is a better crafted film than RAGING BULL. I'd just prefer to watch TEEN WOLF.

1. BREAKING AWAY(1979; Peter Yates)
2. HORSE FEATHERS(1932; Norman Z. McLeod)

3. FAT CITY(1972; John Huston)

4. VISION QUEST(1985; Harold Becker)

5. THE BAD NEWS BEARS(1976; Michael Ritchie)

6. TEEN WOLF(1985; Rod Daniel)

7. CADDYSHACK(1980; Harold Ramis)

8. THE LAST AMERICAN HERO(1973; Lamont Johnson)

9. THE LUSTY MEN(1952; Nicholas Ray)

10. RAD(1986; Hal Needham)
(1984; John G. Avildsen)
12. THRASHIN'(1986; David Winters)

13. ONE ON ONE(1977; Lamont Johnson)

14. RAGING BULL(1980; Martin Scorsese)

15. NORTH DALLAS FORTY(1979; Ted Kotcheff)
16. KINGPIN(1996; Farrelly Bros.)
17. THE BLACK STALLION(1979; Carroll Ballard)

18. HOOSIERS(1986; David Anspaugh)

19. EIGHT MEN OUT(1988; John Sayles)

20. ALL THE RIGHT MOVES(1983; Michael Chapman)

21. THE CROWD ROARS(1932; Howard Hawks)
22. THE LONGEST YARD(1974; Robert Aldrich)

23. PERSONAL BEST(1982; Robert Towne)

24. BIG FAN(2009; Robert Siegel)
25. ROCKY III(1982; Sylvester Stallone)
26. SLAP SHOT(1977; George Roy Hill)
27. MIRACLE(2004; Gavin O'Connor)
28. THE WRESTLER(2008; Darren Aronofsky)
29. HEART LIKE A WHEEL(1983; Jonathan Kaplan)
30. DIGGSTOWN(1992; Michael Ritchie)
32. THE LAST BOYSCOUT(1991; Tony Scott)

32. ...ALL THE MARBLES(1981; Robert Aldrich)

33. GREGORY'S GIRL(1981; Bill Forsyth)

35. DOWNHILL RACER(1969; Michael Ritchie)
36. THE BLOOD OF HEROES(1989; David Webb)



Morgan said...

Excellent list! I forgot how many sports films I loved and I totally agree with your pick for #1!

Unknown said...

Fantastic list. I really liked your inclusion of NORTH DALLAS FORTY (such an underrated film and right up there with SEMI-TOUGH for gritty '70s football flicks) and GREGORY'S GIRL, which is a wonderfully understated slice-of-life character study.

I would have to say that BULL DURHAM is probably my all-time fave sports film. Not a huge Kevin Costner fan at all but he is great in this film and has dynamite chemistry with Susan Sarandon (at her sexiest). Not to mention all the baseball truisms in this film.

And, SLAPSHOT is a close second. THE greatest film about hockey! Alto, the recent MIRACLE starring Kurt Russell about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team is right up there.

Hal said...

As always, a great list.

MIRACLE definitely makes my list. The hockey scenes are out of this world well done, and I think it is Russell's second best performance ever behind USED CARS.

Also glad to see ...ALL THE MARBLES get some love. I reviewed it a while back, before Warner Archive finally gave it a much deserved DVD release.

FAST BREAK (1979) would definitely make my list. The plot lifts more than a little from BAD NEWS BEARS, but they have some actual athletes playing basketball, including the pre-WNBA college superstar Mavis Washington, and hey, it is Gabe Kaplan's best big screen role! :) Also, Bill Simmons once said it might be the most politically incorrect sports film ever, which is saying something.

I am finishing a review of one not on this list, that would probably make mine in the 25-30 range, PAPER LION.

One other that deserves some love IMO: THE BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL-STARS AND MOTOR KINGS, from 1976.

SteveQ said...

Love this list! I would not have thought of Horse Feathers as a sports movie (favorite line is Chico's huddle: "hey diddle diddle, cat and the fiddle, this time I think we go up the middle... hike!"). Does that make Strange Brew a hockey film?

Rupert Pupkin said...

MORGAN-Thanks ma'am! Yeah I was just blown away seeing BREAKING AWAY again recently in a theater with a crowd. I'd seen it many times, but was floored by how effective it was, especially at the end!

JD-Yeah NDF really gets overlooked I agree. They covered it on the GGTMC podcast not too long ago, neat episode. Oh wow, I forgot SLAPSHOT! I don't love it as much as some, but it needs to be an honorable mention for sure!

HAL-Been trying to track down FAST BREAK for a few years. Need to make a better effort, I've heard good things(might have read about it on your blog first). Need to see PAPER LION too.
I added MIRACLE and BINGO LONG to the HMs. Both solid films for sure!

STEVE-Yeah I guess HORSE FEATHERS is a bit of a stretch, just love that film(my #2 Marx Bros after DUCK SOUP I think) and wanted to wedge it into a list. Thought of including STRANGE BREW as well, but I'll save that for my favorite beer movies list.

SteveQ said...

Tony Curtis just died, so I posted my list of favorite films of his at

deadlydolls said...

I feel like a list like this is so dependent on the sports you actually follow. That's why my faves will always be Field of Dreams, Major League, and A League of Their Own (see a trend?). Also, The Cutting Edge, because it is quite simply, perfect...for a chick flick.

Rupert Pupkin said...

STEVE-Love that Tony Curtis list! Had never really heard of BRAINWAVES, gotta see that one! And yeah you're right I don't often associate WINCHESTER '73 with Tony, and I don't know why. Great list of films though.

EMILY-yeah think there is certainly some credence to what you're saying. Though I don't follow almost anything related to sports myself, I can totally see how it could be a big influence on the sports films you like. Are you a fan of CENTER STAGE btw? That came up on the GGTMC podcast this week as we were discussing HEAVENLY BODIES...

deadlydolls said...

Oooh, Center Stage (the dance movie, yes?) filmed one scene in one of the theaters from my college, so I always feel a certain kinship to it (that's right: I wrote a play performed in the same spot that Peter Eyebrows Gallager sat, boo yah!). Also, I do LIKE that movie in a similar way to the later Step Up movies. All three get what dance means to the performers and conveys the rigorousness of it quite well.