In celebration of football season, I decided to compile a list of the Top 10 Football Movies. Surprisingly, it was difficult to narrow the list down to just ten since there have been a number of great movies about football, (which also happens to be one of my favorite sports. Go Ravens!) I tried to pick movies from different eras, some of which you may not have seen before and some you may have seen a million times. Rest assured, none of the films are crappy remakes starring George Clooney or Adam Sandler, although he does make an appearance on this list. Either way, there’s no better way to get fired up about the season than pairing a great football film with the evening’s game! (And a beer, of course.)
1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Remember this movie? Based on a true story, Remember the Titans stars Denzel Washington as a coach who’s hired to unite a team that is divided by racial differences. (You’ll notice that race pops up a lot on this list. Such is the nature of many a football film.) Washington gives another flawless performance as a man who is passionate about his sport and the individuals who play it.
2. Brian’s Song (1971)
A testament to the power of sports bringing people together, Brian’s Song is a movie about unlikely friends during a time when racial tensions still ran deep. This movie could be one of the world’s greatest bromantic tragedies, and actors Billy Dee Williams and James Caan pull it off with believability and sincerity.
3. The Blind Side (2009)
I swear I didn’t put this movie on the list because it mentions the Baltimore Ravens! Actually, this fairly recent film won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy, a woman who defies to adopt one of her son’s classmates, Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron). Through some tutoring from Kathy Bates and a lot of encouragement from his adoptive mother, Oher is finally able to realize his dream of playing football and is eventually drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, the best team ever.
4. Horse Feathers (1932)
A Marx Brothers classic, Horse Feathers is a hilarious movie about a professor and his son unknowingly recruiting two bootleggers to play on the university’s football team. I don’t want to spoil the greatest and most famous scene in the movie in case you haven’t seen it, so I’ll just say it involves all four brothers, a football, and a horse-drawn wagon.
5. The Freshman (1925)
Quite possibly the first football picture to ever come out, The Freshman chronicles the common struggle of every athlete through its comic hero, Harold Lamb. This film can be difficult to get your hands on since it’s a silent film, but it’s worth it to see actor Harold Lloyd’s screen antics like standing in for the team’s practice dummy or finally getting to participate in the game.
6. The Longest Yard (1974)
I know a lot of football films don’t always appeal to the female population, so this one’s for the girls. Burt Reynolds. In prison. Wearing tight pants. Need I say more?
7. Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Warren Beatty plays the star quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams until he’s mistakenly hit by a car while riding his bike through a tunnel. After chatting with the higher-ups in heaven, he convinces them that this was all a misunderstanding and is allowed to inhabit the body of a millionaire named Leo Farnsworth. He then buys his way back onto the team and goes about the task of convincing his teammates that he is, indeed, the quarterback that they lost.
8. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Even though this movie is more about the business of football than the actual sport itself, it deserves a spot on this list, even of only for the iconic line, “Show me the money!”
9. The Waterboy (1998)
Although not the most politically correct film on this list, The Waterboy will forever be appreciated for its brilliant display of Adam Sandler’s capacity for silliness and Rob Scneider’s all-too-quotable “You can do it!” Another flick that has rooting for the underdog, this movie really embodies what sports are all about in the first place: having fun.
Like Brian’s Song, Wildcats also deals with the issues of race and equality, but on a much lighter note. Goldie Hawn stars as a girls’ high school track coach who eventually takes over the football team. The film also features the acting debuts of Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes along with the Chicago Bears’ 1985 “Super Bowl Shuffle”.