Gaming Today’s Favorite Sports Movies

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

A few weeks ago, the GamngToday staff assembled to share their favorite sports documentaries. Today, we’re back with a slightly different approach. Here’s a round-up of our favorite sports movies!

Seabiscuit

Who doesn’t want to root for an underdog? A shrimp? A runt? Well, Seabiscuit was all of those, and he might have been the greatest racehorse, pound-for-pound whoever stuck his nose in an oat bag.

Seabiscuit is actually a story of three figures who faced great adversity to become champions. First, there’s the horse, a short, squat, unimpressive four-legged creature that didn’t look like it could outrun the farm mule. Then there was the jockey, Red Pollard, who left home when he was a knee-high to a bicycle and struggled to stay fed. He used his fists and keen mind to stay above water, but he was never much of a jockey. Lastly, there was the owner, a man named Charles Howard, who had everything until his beloved son was killed in an automobile accident. Howard’s world was ripped apart, and it took Seabiscuit and the rascal Red Pollard to put it back together. Those three: a triumvirate of sad souls, combined to form a great racing team. In the depths of the Great Depression, their triumphs lifted a sagging nation. This movie, which tells each of the three stories wonderfully, and climaxes with one of the greatest sports races in history, is a treasure. 

-Dan Holmes

He Got Game

If you just watched the documentary Hoop Dreams (1994) because it was recommended in our favorite sports documentaries, then you have to put He Got Game (1998) on your list too. 

This Spike Lee Joint stars Denzel Washington as a dad who receives a temporary release from prison to convince his son, a basketball prodigy played by Ray Allen (yes, THE Ray Allen), to join the college basketball team of the prison warden’s alma mater. On top of the prison warden being played by Ned Beatty, Ray Allen’s girlfriend is played by Rosario Dawson, and Denzel’s parole officer is played by NFL legend Jim Brown.

For some reason, He Got Game has become a somewhat obscure sports movie, but it should be right up there with the go-to classics. It has tons of heart, lots of basketball playing, Spike Lee’s signature look and feel, and Denzel Washington’s god-like acting ability. What’s not to love?

He Got Game is streaming on HBO Max.

-Mike Epifani

Space Jam

The NBA’s greatest player of all time teams up with… Bugs Bunny? Shortly after his first retirement, Michael Jordan took on Hollywood like few could. 

The story is a fictional tale built around Jordan’s first retirement and his time playing baseball. It also features some of basketball’s brightest stars of the 90s. Players such as Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Larry Johnson are featured as basketball players who have had their talent stolen. 

The thieves in the movie are known as the “Monstars.” They are from a fictional universe attempting to enslave the Looney Tunes. When the Monstars attempted to take over, the Looney Tunes challenged the much smaller Monstars to a basketball game. If the Looney Tunes lose, they would have to go to “Moron Mountain” as slaves. 

The Looney Tunes offer should be a walk in the park for them, the Monstars are very small whereas the Tunes are about half the size of a normal human. However, the Monstars would go to a series of basketball games to take the talents away from some of the best NBA players in the league. 

With Monstars taking the talents (and gaining a massive height advantage) from the best players in basketball the Looney Tunes are doomed. They will be forced to go to Moron Mountain and work for the Monstars…unless the best player of all time can save them. 

Michael Jordan is playing golf one day where he is pushed into the Looney Tunes universe. While the rest of the world goes on looking for Michael – Michael begins training the Looney Tunes in basketball. 

Michael shows his wittiness, competitive fire, and greatness in this film as he drives the Looney Tunes to a come-from-behind victory. This includes a role from the great Bill Murray – who laughably turns down an NBA contract offer from Jordan at the end of the movie. 

This movie is age-appropriate for all and is funny as it is clever. One of the best sports movies of all time is going to get a sequel as well. This time with LeBron James as the star instead of Michael Jordan. It is set to debut on July 16th, 2021.

-Erich Richter

The Damned United

I’ve never met an American who’s seen The Damned United (2009). But as a lonely fan of the Premier League and the Champions/Europa League, that’s par for the course. If you relate to that, or if you’re a soccer fan with a lot of soccer-loving friends, or if you’re in a country that respects the world’s most popular sport, then you’ll love The Damned United.

And if you’re not a soccer fan, you’ll still love it, because it’s a damned good movie, only further validated by its 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The hero of the story is the new manager of Leeds United in 1974. Prior to him joining, the club was massive, having just won the league the year before and seeing great success all through the 1960s and early ‘70s. However, during that time of glory, the former coach competed against our hero’s team in an FA Cup match – and snubbed him. 

From then on, our hero criticized the team’s methods. And when he joins Leeds as head coach, he even threatens punishment to anyone who utters the former manager’s name. The result is disdain from the players, former employees, and the fans, especially when the best player on the team is suspended for two months, resulting in a disastrous start to a season that, as history tells us, leads to decades of lower-division football (soccer).

Interestingly, we may be seeing the opposite of The Damned United play out right before our eyes. Leeds was just recently promoted to the Premier League, and at the time of writing this, sat mid-table between Arsenal and Wolverhampton. This could mark a run of successful seasons for a once-giant organization.

We’ll see how the rest of the season plays out. In the meantime, check out The Damned United, streaming free on Amazon Prime.

-Mike Epifani

Dodgeball

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story could’ve been subtitled “A True Underdog Movie.” There’s no way a film about teams battling it out for supremacy in a sport inspired by gym class filler should have worked. But writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber pulls it off, creating an absurd cult-comedy masterpiece in the process.

Vince Vaughn stars as Peter Le Fleur, a struggling gym owner who has thirty days to raise $50,000–or else lose his business to White Goodman (played to skeevy perfection by Ben Stiller), the cartoonishly evil head of corporate chain Globo Gym. On a lark, Pete forms a ragtag dodgeball team that includes a lawyer, a scrawny nerd, and a pirate. They wind up at the National Dodgeball Championships and face off against…you guessed it: Globo Gym!

(Spoiler Alert?)

Dodgeball’s story is pure playbook, but its bizarre characters and sharp writing place it right up there with classics like The Bad News Bears and Slap Shot. From Rip Torn’s guest appearance as a cranky, wrench-throwing dodgeball guru to the championship’s televised theatrics on ESPN 8 (“The Ocho!”), Dodgeball hits every sports movie cliché in the face, while artfully dodging the boredom that implies.

You can stream Dodgeball on CINEMAX GO and DirecTV, or rent it on most major digital platforms.

-Ian Simmons

Shaolin Soccer

Shaolin Soccer (2001) is about kung fu masters using their martial arts skills to win a soccer tournament’s $1 million grand prize. It’s an outrageously funny, action-packed, criminally underrated sports movie that’s as much for sports fans as it is for fans of action movies.

Shaolin Soccer was written and directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow, who also stars in the film. This is the same guy who wrote, directed, and starred in Kung Fu Hustle (2004), which is a 10 out of 10 action comedy that’s another essential watch.

If you like over-the-top action, impressive visual effects, and genuinely funny moments, you’ll love Shaolin Soccer. If you like soccer too, that’s a nice bonus.

Unfortunately, Shaolin Soccer is only available via rent on all the major services. But it’s worth it, and not just because I say so: the film has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

-Mike Epifani

Slap Shot

The 1970s was the golden decade of sports movies. Before the sanitized mainstream fare of The Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans, and Whip It, Hollywood reveled in ‘Nam-era grime, hedonism, and general distrust of polite society. This confrontational spirit was most evident in hugely popular comedies and dramas like The Longest Yard, The Bad News Bears, and the original Rocky.

In the realm of out-there sports flicks, George Roy Hill’s definitive hockey epic Slap Shot takes the cup, hands down. Paul Newman’s Reggie Dunlop is a grumpy, alcoholic, divorced coach (a genre staple) who aims to boost his failing team’s profile by recruiting the Hanson Brothers–a trio of savage, sub-literate goons who draw crowds as big as their penalties record.

If you’ve never seen Slap Shot, keep in mind that it’s from an era when “PC” was just the word “puck”, minus a couple of letters. Doused in wall-to-wall beer, blood, and bad behavior, this celebration of working-class antiheroes will make sensitive viewers hemorrhage from their eyes, ears, and possibly nose. But for fans of “old time hockey” (and old time sports movies), this is one high-sticking good time.

You can stream Slap Shot on Peacock, or rent it from most major digital platforms.

-Ian Simmons

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]