TOP 20 MOVIES OF ALL TIME – SPORTS

Sports is one of the most useful activities around, that changes attitudes, discipline, makes you determined to aim for goal and achievement with dedication. It influences a lot on people’s character. Competition is one such aspect in sport as well as in life that pushes you to the boundary to overcome fear and ambiguity, withstand high pressure of emotions, stress, pain and devote yourself for higher ambition in order to succeed. Movies inspired from or based on sports, tend to be inspirational and could act as self motivating guide. I have made a list of best sports movies ever made based on its influence on audience, theme of the movie and how sports is used as medium to connect with audience. For more such articles visit www.filmygyani.com

Below is the top 20 list of best sports movie ever produced or movies based on Sports are as follows;

Worlds_fastest_indian20. The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)– When I first heard about the movie, I thought it was about an Indian guy or anything fastest related to an Indian but to my surprise it was all about speed and Indian Model motorcycle. It’s a true story about Anthony Hopkins, Burnt as in character leaves in New Zealand who had bought his first motorcycle, an Indian model that he fell  in love with. His passion grew and over the time & he made many modifications to his motorcycle and wanted to try how fast it can run. He just wanted to prove something to himself and to the world.

By the time he decides he is a retired old man living on pensions. He applies for the race to be held in US in Bonneville Salt Flats and starts his journey to the States. While on his journey viewers get to know more about his character, behavior, attitude towards life. In fact I have come across one very good gentlemen, a President of some premium brand, also a German whose ways of living life and attitude towards life were similar to the character played by Anthony Hopkins in this film such as never give up attitude, finishing off the task no matter how many difficulties you encounter, making an impression with your charm, knowledge, attitude, behavior and talking with respect no matter whether he is elder to you or kid etc…

More than his aim to run the fastest motorcyle, I liked the take on his character. It was lovable and damn you can learn so much from his character in the film. That’s why this film is at number 20 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

seabiscuit19. Seabiscuit (2003) – It is a 2003 American biographical sports drama film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is loosely based on the life and racing career of Seabiscuit, an undersized and overlooked thoroughbred race horse, whose unexpected successes made him a hugely popular media sensation in the United States during the Great Depression – (Wikipedia)”

“Three men, Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), Charles S. Howard (Jeff Bridges), and Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) come together as the principal jockey, owner, and trainer of the championship horse Seabiscuit, rising from troubled times to achieve fame and success through their association with the horse – (Wikipedia)”.

The film set up and cinematography is praise worthy and performance by Tobey Maquire is very good. The races are shot elegantly and the camera work in the race is handled with care and professionalism. The intensity it creates during the second half is worth mentioning and the sudden collapse of Seabiscuit was an emotional scene to digest in the movie. It leaves audience in despair which means the film connects with audience and their emotions that is why this film is at number 19 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

iqbal18. Iqbal (2005)A mute and deaf village boy named Iqbal (Sheyas) dreams of becoming a part of Indian Cricket Team & play alongside of the team. He works hard under the guidance and supervision of a drunkard Naseeruddin Shah (who was once a great cricketer) with discipline, determination and devotion towards the game. The movie is not as crazy as it sounds when you watch it onscreen or in your laptop.

Iqbal is not encouraged to take part in cricket, as his father is under the impression that Iqbal is chasing a dream that that may leave him in despair & broken and instead forces him to work with him in the farm to learn and develop skills for his future livelihood as a farmer. Iqbal’s sister helps him and gets him an admission in one of the cricket academy run by former cricket captain. However things turn out sour for the poor Iqbal and is thrown out of the team due to academy’s trustee’s interference.

He however manages to encourage Naseeruddin Shah to teach him the basic fundamentals of cricket and other aspects to improve his skills and overcome his birth right defects. He clicks and finds himself in the company of Andhra Pradesh Ranji Trophy team.

Shreyas Talpade as Iqbal and Naseeruddin as his coach have given a phenomenal performance and it won’t bore you even for a second. The screenplay is fantastic and there is not a slow or dull moments in the entire movie or things that sounds implausible like the crazy plot and that’s why this film is at number 18 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

moneyball-poster17. Moneyball (2011)– It is an American 2011 biographical sports drama film directed by Bennett Miller from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on Michael Lewis’s 2003 nonfiction book of the same name, an account of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s attempts to assemble a competitive team. In the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), faced with the franchise’s unfavorable financial situation, take a sophisticated sabermetric approach towards scouting and analyzing players, acquiring “submarine” pitcher Chad Bradford (Casey Bond) and former catcher Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), and winning 20 consecutive games, an American League record.

Columbia Pictures bought the rights to Lewis’s book in 2004.[4] After a number of years in development, the film was featured at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival[5] and was released on September 23, 2011 to a box-office success and positive reviews. The film was nominated for sixAcademy Awards including Best Actor and Best Picture. – Wikipedia.

Brad Pitt is excellent as a manager and the way he handles the team, his staff and player along with working on the new & innovative approach, developing new formula is what makes this film different compared to other sports movie based or inspired from true stories and that’s why this film is at number 17 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time..

wrestler16. The Wrestler (2008) – It is a 2008 American sports drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in January 2008 and Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired rights to distribute the film in the U.S.;[3][4]it was released in a limited capacity on December 17, 2008 and was released nationwide on January 23, 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 21, 2009 in the United States. It was released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2009.[5] Aronofsky considers The Wrestler a companion piece to his 2010 film, Black Swan, as both films feature a character with a demanding art.

Rourke plays an aging professional wrestler who, despite his failing health, continues to wrestle in an attempt to cling to the success of his 1980s heyday. He also tries to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter and to find romance with a stripper.

The film received universal critical acclaim and won the Golden Lion Award in the 2008 Venice Film Festival in August, where it premiered. Film criticRoger Ebert called it one of the year’s best films, while Rotten Tomatoes reported that 98% of critics gave the film positive reviews. For his role, Mickey Rourke went on to receive a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Tomei also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Wikipedia) & that’s why this film is at number 16 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

the blind side15. The Blind Side (2009)– It is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It is written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis.[2][3] The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for theBaltimore Ravens of the NFL. The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee),[4] his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football, then finally becoming a first-round pick in the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens.

Sandra Bullock stars as Leigh Anne Tuohy, alongside Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue.[2] The movie also features appearances by several current and former NCAA coaches, including SEC coaches Houston Nutt and Ed Orgeron(Oher’s coaches in college, though Nutt represented Arkansas at the time and therefore does so in the film) and Nick Saban (who was at LSU at the time and represents it in the film), former coaches Lou Holtz, Tommy Tuberville, Phillip Fulmer, as well as recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.[5]

The Blind Side was a box-office success, grossing over $300 million. The film was well received by critics, who praised Sandra Bullock’s performance. Bullock went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The film also received an Academy Award nomination for the Best Picture (Wikipedia) and that’s why this film is at number 15 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

invictus 14.Invictus (2009) – You know what, whenever there are differences between the countries like India and Pakistan, Political parties or other national advisory committees, they use sports as a tool to start negotiation and help improve the differences between them. Same way when there was political crisis in South Africa, battle between the blacks and whites, the financial crisis and innumerable other problems, Nelson Mandela prisoner turned President of South Africa used Sports i.e Rugby as a tool to eliminate the differences, discrimination, unemployment and years of violence to seeks world’s attention towards poverty driven country by hosting a Rugby world cup. The winning of Rugby team becomes a major task for Nelson Mandela as it gives him an opportunity to be viewed and heard by more than a billion viewers on TV live.

As he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to show the world that South Africa is United and to put forth the request one rich countries table to invest in the poverty driven country to help develop the nation. Morgan once again performs brilliantly as the character of Nelson Mandela that becomes synonym with his name & that’s why this film is at number 14 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

cinderella man13. Cinderella Man (2005)– Based on / Inspired from real boxer’s life story named Braddock who regains his heavy weight championship after going through sluggish life of a boxer in the ring as well as outside the ring & deprived of hunger due economic crisis or the great depression period around 1930′s. Russel Crowe is brilliant as an actor but not so satisfying as a boxer… There are some punches in the ring that looks very effective and real but unlike the real boxing matches. His role as a father and a husband is more important & better than as a boxer in the film. The final fight is kept as real as it should have been which is the best thing that a movie based on sports could manage…

The movie reminds you of Raging bull and Rocky series due to the similar pattern of adaptation and treatment. Since Russell Crowe is a brilliant actor, the director has used his acting talent to exploit his skills and has been successful in his attempts. The movie also depicts how economic crisis can affect anyone and everyone even if they belong to popular and superstars category. Russell Crowe has also showcased the discipline in upbringing of the children even during the crisis. It is a heartfelt story of a boxer and his life. It has emotions, performances, excitement, entertainment and excellent screenplay & that’s why this film is at number 13 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

rudy12. Rudy (1993) – Well I had never expected it to be a great movie when it started but got really surprised with the way it progressed and ended as a great product. The Last 45 minutes are so much inspiring that you may end up with tears or moist in your eyes against Rudy’s never die attitude and see him triumph in his goals.

Rudy has only one dream and one aim of playing for Notre Dame and to achieve that he need to have excellent grades (which off-course he doesn’t have) to get into university first and then into the team after the assessment of his capabilities. All his life he was told he can’t do it, his dream is same as of rich studs, which is out of his reach, which is not made for him etc… full of negative shit but his childhood friend had hopes in him looking at his passion and his love for the game. He realizes something after an unfortunate incident that kills his friend; he tries to overcome his shortcomings and decides to give a go.

Unless one tries or attempts he’ll never know about his capabilities and that’s what Rudy film is all about. Please watch this excellent piece on Rudy and that’s why this film is at number 12 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

remember the titans11. Remember the Titans (2000)– Inspiring movie about the football team that goes on winning undefeated state championship. When there was a terrible differences between blacks and whites, a school appoints a black football coach replacing some 11 time hall of fame white coach creating a rift between the school management and parents. The black coach is burdened not only with the team’s coaching but other external factors that are beyond one’s control. But he succeeds overcoming the external influences such as bringing in together the whites and blacks along with the former coach under his management as assistant followed by thumping victory both on and off the field.

There are many notable scenes in the movie and one such scene is when the coach takes his team to the graveyard and talks about it which was brilliant in every aspects. It creates a totally emotional ambiance even to its viewers. The other scene where white guy (player) breaks up with his girlfriend instead of the team and his black brothers is also fantastic. The only setback of the movie was cinematography else everything was inspiring and terrific. Visuals are good in few places but the performance of Denzel Washington stands out in this film and that’s why this film is at number 11 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

the natural10. The Natural (1984)The movie is based on Novel “baseball” by Bernard Malamud and hence the story is fictional, the team is fictional and the player itself is fictional. In spite of fictional theme the movie manages not only to hold the audience attention but it may even inspire the young baseball players. It is not about team, it is not about coach or team manager but it is only about a fictional charismatic character named “Roy Hobbs” and his performance as an actor as well as player performed by Charismatic actor Robert Redford.

A young Roy Hobbs while traveling in train encounters the most famous hitter known as “Whammer” and a sportswriter “Max Mercy”. He strikes out Whammer, 3 in a row, in a challenge that manages to get him full attention. However to some mysterious reasons, he is shot by the woman he was attracted to in a train. After 16 years he returns and finds a place in one of the clubs where he shows his skills and becomes one of the most famous hitter of all time. He sets many records for the team leading to final sets of play & due to some bad political and influential men he is threatened for wrong reasons to play well in the finals. For Confronting or protesting to the threat, he faces career ending situational threat that once long forgotten comes back to life haunting him again.

The movie is totally dependent on the performance of Roy Hobbs, his charisma and attitude towards the game along with some brilliant editing and screenplay. its a feel good movie with excellent performance and that’s why this film is at number 10 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

coach carter#9. Coach Carter (2005) – Coach Carter is inspired from two different movies but no matter what it is presented and treated differently with excellent editing, acting and direction along with some message to the youth. It is based on a true story of Coach Ken carter and high school basketball team Richmond Oilers. It’s all about how Coach Carter takes up the job as coach and change the mindset of losers into winning student athletes. He not only prepares them and develop their body, fitness and agility but also develop their mindset and broadens for their future benefit schemes coercing them to study well that can benefit them in their long careers. It tries to tell, Sport is not only “The Thing” for these students, Education is also damn so important to them as well.

Before he starts coaching he signs a contract with each student where every athlete agrees to score 2.3 GPA as an average in their studies. Though with coach’s guidance, this weakest team becomes strongest and undefeated team. except one rest all athletes fails to score in their GPA’s, breaking the terms and conditions of the contract. To teach them a lesson he boycotts matches and locks out the gym used for practice session. Parents and media depressed and angered with his decision calls for an immediate action from the university and the removal of ken carter as future coach. This movie comes with both happy and sad ending together. Expect the unexpected and that’s why this film is at number 09 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

Warrior_Poster#8. Warrior (2011)Movie is about two estranged brother getting into Mixed Marshal Art tournament for different reasons and issues going through their personal & professional life. One is a former marine corp escaped from Iraq and the other one a teacher who is running high on outstanding dues taken on refinancing house loans. They both face problems dealing with their father whose abusive behavior of the past, grown these son in hatred towards their father.

Since Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) and his wives salaries are unable to compensate the over dues & unable to accumulate enough sum for an open heart surgery of his daughter, Brendan decides to take part in amateur’s fight in a mixed martial art contest for money and soon the rumours spread among his students and colleagues. He gets suspended and that lets him with only one option to participate in a professional tournament called Sparta worth $5,000,000. He trains with one of his friends and with some luck gets to compete with professionals in the tournament.

The other brother Tommy (Tom hardy) takes his father’s help to train him to win the tournament for his friend. He beats one of the professional fighters named Mad Dog in less than 30sec that goes viral and becomes very popular among the Marine Corps. Soon people finds out his hand in saving lives of many naval marine corps and become instant hit among the US citizens. He also knocks off his opponents in less than a minute in 3 rounds of the tournament.

Loved every bit of the film and the fights in the tournaments is the highlight of the movie and the strange relationship they shared together, bonds the film emotionally to its audience. Fantastic performances from the actors and I especially liked Tom hardy’s approach in the ring – total fearless and that’s why this film is at number 08 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

Jo_Jeeta_Wohi_Sikandar_1992_DVD_cover#7. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)When someone comes across the name of this movie, first thing that comes to your mind is “Pehla Nasha” song and then “Bicycling Race” or may be both. It is one The Best Sports movie ever produced, directed and Performed in Hindi Cinema. The Songs are soulful, the performances are natural, and bicycle race competition staged exquisitely, shot elegantly and remained the focal point of the movie.

Movie is set in Dehradun which houses few exclusive top schools that are affordable to only people from affluent backgrounds and others are remained with options of local schools. The protagonist Aamir belongs to a local Model school and his rival, a bad brat belongs to one of the exclusive school called Rajput. The father of protagonist is somewhat obsessed in beating Rajput and trains his elder son to win. However results turn out in favor of Rajput when Mamik is attacked by bunch of crooked friends of antagonist. The task falls in the hands of younger son the main protagonist to compete and how he handles the task with pride and honor bringing back the lost joy of his family, elder brother and his love.

Aamir is exceptionally brilliant in the film and so is his elder brother in the movie performed by Mamik. He has done an incredible job as a supporting cast and his performance was impeccable. Highly recommended to those who haven’t seen this film yet and that’s why this film is at number 07 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

Chariots_of_fire#6. Chariots of Fire (1981)I was the best runner in my school days and district till 10th grade and after a leg injury I could never run so fast again, however there was neither any running race competition in our college nor participation for district or state championship. While watching Chariots of fire, I felt once again the same energy, the amount of practice needed before you could finish off the line and the elation & pleasure of the final victory. I was always fond of P T Usha, considered her as the fastest runner in the world during school days and was very proud of her being an Indian. She was an inspiration for my running.

Chariots of fire is sure to have huge amount of impact on the athletes and could be an inspirational film for the athletes. The running scenes in the film are captured beautifully and they are so vibrant that you feel as if you are watching a live race. This film is not just about running or about athletes, it is more than that. Two outsiders or rather protagonists in which one is a Jew immigrant who aims to run fastest to win an Olympic Medal from his college and the other one – son of Christian missionary who takes onto his father’s footstep preaching bible wants to run fast aiming for the same Olympic medal as he believes that God has given him special gift to run fast and that’s why he should run for the Olympic gold Medal. They both are very different in approach but aim is one.

As a movie it takes time to build up the plot in first half but second half is just outstanding with number of brilliant scenes and performances of offers. It has stood true in every essence of how a Sports movie should be made. Screenplay and Cinematography are the highlights of the movie, actors are brilliant as athletes and contests have been beautifully executed.  All in all it is a must watch for every sports fan or an athlete and that’s why this film is at number 06 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

million dollar baby#5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)– It is a painfully depressive movie about a female boxer who dreamed of becoming a champion only to later become the victim of Euthanasia after successfully wining several matches and also about a brilliant boxer trainer who has not much of success in his kitty is forced to commit a mortal sin to the person he emotionally bonded during the time of training.

A waitress tries to impress the boxer trainer in the gym she visits and asks him to train her. The trainer rejects her quoting he does not train female boxers. However with her hard work and dedication in the gym she earns the trust of the trainer and becomes one of the fierce opponent in the ring under the guidance of her trainer. They bond emotionally over the period of time as both are having troubled family issues.

The ever avoiding boxer-trainer (Eastwood) takes up title fight for $1 Million after one of his friend forces him to take up the fight. The opponent to his trained female boxer (Hilary Shank) turns out a dirty cum ferocious boxer who puts her down in a knock-out punch. Hilary falls on ground leaving her quadriplegic. Not able to bear the sufferings, she pleads her trainer to relieve her (kill her) from her misery.

Performances by Client Eastwood and Hilary Shank are outstanding, something that you never forget for a very long time. A simple and pure film beautifully executed without stressing much on other factors from box office point of view and that’s why this film is at number 05 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

cinderella man and chak de india#4.  Miracle (2004)  / Chakde! India (2007) – Chak De India is heavily inspired from this movie and Miracle is one of those films that really make you feel overwhelmed with joy or elates you during the Climax especially due to its Amazing Background Score, Whole Match watching experience that something I experienced when I Watched Rudy and Rise of the Titans or likes of Moneyballs (though its background music isn’t that good). One who enacted the character of Coach “Curt Russell” is one of the best in this kind of Genre or these kinds of movies. The movie is entirely based on team management, training, coaching and winning as a country, an out an out Sports movie and that’s why this film is at number 06 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

It is inspired from true story and you can read it on Wikipedia “Miracle is 2004 American biographical sports film about the United States men’s hockey team, led by head coach Herb Brooks, that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The USA team’s victory over the heavily favored Soviet team in the medal round was dubbed the Miracle on Ice.Miracle was directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by Eric Guggenheim”.

As far as Chak De India is considered not all remakes or movies that are heavily inspired from other movies tend to follow suite in terms of execution, direction and screenplay but Chak De India is one of those few exception that generated huge amount of applauses and appreciation towards its filmmaker, actors and Shah Rukh. He has done an incredibly satisfying job as a Coach and though Indian version is fictional it could have never looked as real as this movie. Shimit is a brilliant director and you won’t find even small elements of criticism. One of the must watch movie I say and that’s why this film is at number 04 alongside Miracle in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

rocky#3. Rocky (1976) – I have enjoyed and loved each part of the series but Rocky will remain the best of the series. Some may like part 2 and 4, some may say part 3 was the best and some may be inspired from Rocky balboa part. There are many thoughtful and inspiring elements in the movie that one can learn such as hard work, determination, discipline and focus thriving to succeed. The series is all about a boxer named Rocky balboa and his aim of going distance from what one can possibly believe. It is not just about winning or losing but going the distance, surpassing your expectations, standing tall facing all the adversities, pushing your limits and yeah it’s also about boxing. That’s why this film is at number 03 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

The highlight of the part 1 is the last half an hour. Part 2 continues with the fame he gathers after nearly defeating the world heavy weight champion but due to lack of his education and sensibilities he fails to keep up with the momentum of success and gets into financial problems. It deals about partly fame and partly struggle and how he overcomes it. Part 3 is a commercially successful series and it continues with the high success he gains from the part2 but again goes into depression due to loss of his trainer when he loses the title to a younger boxer. It’s all about how he regains his consciousness from the personal loss. Part 4 he challenges the opponent who killed the creed in a fight. Part 5 he was broke due the incompetent accountant and decides to run a mill/gym and train in order to survive where he trains a young talent who ultimately turn his back on his mentor which led to clash between mentor and the student. Part 6 – a final part returns back rocky from his retirement into the ring to face the heavyweight champion Mason. You might feel awkward before you the see the movie but it’s no embarrassment. It’s all about going the distance and becoming a symbol of hope to the young talents.

raging bull#2. Raging Bull (1980)– Robert de Niero is one of my favorite actors in Hollywood and I did not want to miss his classic film. At first I thought it’s a sport movie, as movie progressed I thought it’s a biopic on La Motta’s boxing career and then thought it’s all about the unfair game where you are forced to bend against your own set of rules and principles to achieve the ultimate goal but no, it was more than that. Mind blowing performance and totally engrossing movie that also reflects your own short comings, greed, ego and relationships. It has beautifully captured the two parallel sides of La Motta’s personal and professional life.

The plot is based on the La Motta’s biopic, his personal life and his professional life. Never seen Robet De Neiro so fat during the climax of the film and thought it is someone else performing his character on his behalf at first but later read about how he put up weight for the character. Like the saying, fortune favors the brave (bold), in his case it was quite the contrary. Even though no one was there to beat him, he could not manage his hands on the championship coz of his straight forwardness and not compromising his wins.

The movie covers his personal relationship with his wives and his brother and it also manages to show glimpses of his post boxing life about how the arrogance & greed takes over his subtleness & patience and humor nature of La Motta. That’s why this film is at number 02 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.
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And Surprise Surprise – The number one movie in my list is none other than;

Lagaan#1. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)When I went to watch this movie, I never had an iota of idea that I am going to watch a Cricket Match in this film. I really don’t know how Aamir kept that secret hidden until the release of the film. I didn’t have any clue regarding the cricket and expected to be some pre british era kind of film. The movie is more than just cricket; it is about a character named Bhuvan, his stand against British occupation, his views about free India, how he influences people to come together for a common cause, relieve the villagers from pain and sufferings due to heavy burden of Lagaan (Tax) and lead the people as a leader with his strategies, bold attitude and team playing. He was challenged to beat the British Cricket team by Captain Russell when confronted on the power and ability of Indians while comparing cricket to gilli danda. Accepting the challenge would mean 3 years of tax (lagaan) evasion to the entire area/city/village.

The movie is not only entertaining and engrossing but the whole setup of the movie was so intriguing and captivating that it enhances the pleasure of watching experience on the big screen exponentially. The script was fresh and totally original. The plots and scheme within the movie made it more interesting and engaging, the performances by the English actors is flawless, the team formations and story of each player made each one of them a king of enigmatic characters and Aamir’s brilliant performance as Bhuvan, his support in producing the movie without compromising on Quality makes it One of the finest and brilliant film from India. That’s why this film is at number 01 in my list of Top 20 Sports Movie of All Time.

If you need more information about the movie then click on the title of the movie that will take you to IMDB site. I hope you liked the list of Top 20 Sports Movie or movies based on sports IMO. The other list of good movies is provided in the comment section:

You can follow me @fearlesssoul 😉

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As long as it doesn't kill me, tanqeed is a lot of fun. I'll give you nothing if you keep this a secret. My twitter handle @fearlesssoul and website www.filmygyani.com

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57 thoughts on “TOP 20 MOVIES OF ALL TIME – SPORTS”


  1. Here are the movies that are Sports related and good to watch.

    IP Man 1 & 2 – This series based on the Master and trainer of famous Hollywood Marshal Art actor Bruce Lee and it is set during the pretext post and pre era of Japan’s occupation over China. As movie it is one of the best marshal art movie, the fights are excellently choreographed with swift and flexible moves performed by Donnie Yen.

    Undisputed Series – Part 1 deals with Boxing and the actors have shown some real boxing standards as the fights looked real. The actors must be trained boxer IMO. Part 2 deals with Mixed Marshal Art between Michael Jay White as Protagonist and Scot Atkin as Antagonist. Part 3 is MMA tournament where all the participants participate from around the world.

    The Fighter – Yet again you will see Christian Bale in a skinny avtar training his brother played by Mark Wahlberg

    42 – Since it is based on true story, certain things have to be accepted which seems implausible but apart from few minor mistakes/cinematic leverage, the movie is very good. The actor seems to be inspired from Denzel Washington and liked his display of controlled emotions.

    Shaolin Soccer – It is a comical take on Soccer with some special powers that you use to watch on Cartoons. Film is really funny and stylish.

    Days of Thunder – Tom Cruise’s talent in race track takes him to top level game.

    Bull Durham – Very Good entertaining comical movie. Recommended!!!

    Friday Night lights – Interesting movie with miscast star cast. Many things looked wanna be.

    We are Marshal – Thoroughly entertaining but could have been much better. Recommended!!!

    Brian’s Song – Regarded as an Epic sort, it is an interesting movie no doubt and the performances were fantastic but i think there was a lack of sync between the director and actors. Recommended!!!

    Hoosiers – Read a lot about this movie for being one of the best sports movie ever but the sports movies which I have seen till now are much better than this so called Classic. May be it is not equipped with enough emotions and performances to age well for today’s generation. Even Gene’s performances are better in other movies compared to this. Any how it is much disappointing to see people still rate this movie so high in ranking or may be they didn’t bother to check this movie once again before listing it above the deserved movies of our generation. Director tried to create some melodramatic scenes but it didn’t work out much neither it synced the flow of movie. Over all an average affair.

    Bend it like Beckham – This is the one film that liked most during my college days. It didn’t age well but still a nice take on football with mixture of cultures and tradition.

    Striker – Interesting movie based on Carom competition at the back drop of 1992 Hindu Muslim riots and curfews imposed. How Siddhart struggles to accumulate a large sum to apply for a passport and visa in order to go and work in dubai. Things change when carom competition changes into personal vengeance.

    Fearless – Good movie starring Jet lee who was previously a Master trainer in a Marshal Art school in china saddens to see Chinese Govt getting misled by the British alliance as they also threaten to seize & close all Marshal Art schools due to Chinese inability to produce tougher fighter who can withstand the power of British Trained Marshal artists. He takes pride to defend on behalf of the Chinese to revolt against the British abuses and laugher.

    Blood and Bone – If you not heard of Micheal Jay White then you must watch this movie. You will instantly become fan of his and his moves. It is one of the finest movies based on streets fighting tournaments produced by Hollywood. Well it has a good story as well

    Paan Singh Tomar – Everyone knows and by now might have heard about Paan Singh Tomar and what are the factors that transformed his life from an Athlete to a Bandith. Performance is fantabulous.

    Kai Po Che – It’s a good film and I really liked the movie except the ending which could have been a happy ending. These types of movies are good for a Home DVD watch rather than theatrical watch. Well I thought of skipping this movie after reading some lines of suprabh and sputnik’s reviews but on the contrary I liked it. Cinematography was good and both Rajput and Amit Sadh were brilliant. Rajkumar Yadav is very rigid and too fast while delivering the dialogues. His reactions to one of the collapsed building after Quake in which they had invested around 5 lakh were outstanding.

    Patiala House – One of the good movies of Akshay at the backdrop of Cricket. Nothing much to do with Sports even though sports plays a major role but its more about relationship between the father and the son. Both Akshay and Rishi Have performed well.

    Children of Heaven – It’s a beautiful Iranian film in which a boy tries his best to win a pair of shoes in a competition as both the sister and brother use one pair of shoes only. Children have performed really good and cinematography is excellent.

    The Hurricane – Based on the True Story of a Man who served half his life in prison for the crime he didn’t commit based on Racial discrimination, non-disclosure of facts tht wer hidden due to Corrupt Cops & personal Hatred. Daneil Washington is brilliant as Hurricane the prize fighter / boxer and even during the time he is in jail as a prisoner but the little part as a prisoner may bore you for 15-20 odd minutes (i watched Wild Orchid sensual scenes in lappy during that) but later half is very good. I Loved the actress who enacted the role of Lisa in it.

    Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – It was an average affair to me, certain parts are really great & certain too clichéd or cheesy. Farhan acted really good in major portion of the film but he too has limits in acting capabilities & expressions. He also managed to look exactly as Milkha Singh. Few things were implausible to digest for the fact this things could have happened in his real life and even if those are true then they made it very filmy or cheesy.

    Jerry Maguire – I am not sure whether i liked the movie overall but sure there were few very good scenes and good performances in the movie. Tom Cruise plays an Agent to the players for endorsing advertisements and he was really good but over acted too much in many scenes. Some scenes were irritating as well.

    Bllood Sports, Karate Kid and Peaceful Warrior

    Apne, Lahore and goal didn’t like it

    Want to watch Striker 2011, Invincible and Glory Road


  2. Excellent post FS. Thanks for this.

    Love Chak De! India, Iqbal, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and Lagaan.

    Have not watched Chariots of Fire yet. Same with Seabiscuit, The Natural and The Wrestler. Had started watching The Wrestler back when it released and felt the scenes of nails was too graphic.

    Had watched Cinderella Man in theater and had liked it a lot.

    Had watched Coach Carter on your recco and liked it. Same with The World’s Fastest Indian.

    Loved Million Dollar Baby. Love the way Clint Eastwood handles the whole relationship between his character and Hilary Swank’s character.

    ————-

    Had watched Moneyball last year and liked it.

    “Movie was pretty good and engrossing. Its a regular sports based movie. Did not like the ending though. Brad Pitt was excellent and deserved his Best Actor Oscar nomination. I always felt there is a facial resemblance between Brad Pitt and Robert Redford and that Brad Pitt copies Robert Redford and here it is even more apparent. Jonah Hill was good too.”

    Link

    ————

    Had watched The Blind Side and had liked it.

    ————-

    Had watched Warrior last year and liked it. My comment.

    “Saw Warrior and liked it. Tom Hardy was excellent and Joel Edgerton was decent. Fight scenes were exciting. Liked the whole family angle in the movie. Liked the scene of the first fight where the wife is restless waiting for the call. One thing I did not like was that they took rooting for the underdog to a whole new level. The underdog keeps getting pounded but he still wins. I wished that part was handled better.”

    Link

    —————-

    Had watched Raging Bull a few years back and had liked it specially for Robert De Niro’s performance and I am going to revisit it again. Same with Remember the Titans.

    Had watched Rocky many years back. While I liked it I think I would have loved it if I had watched it when it had released. I had watched so many movies which were inspirations/imitations of it.

    Did not like Rudy.


  3. I would have Any Given Sunday, The Greatest Game Ever Played and Glory Road in my list.

    Had liked The Fighter and Invincible. Had liked The Hurricane when I watched it many years ago but don’t remember much now.

    ———————-

    Had watched 42 earlier this year and liked it.

    “Very good movie. It shows the racial abuse that Jackie Robinson had to face and also how sports can bridge differences. Some of the scenes were very good like the scene where he is constantly heckled or the scene where his teammates start supporting him openly. While the scene where he breaks his baseball bat in frustration was very good it did not happen in real though.

    Chadwick Boseman was very good as Jackie Robinson. Harrison Ford was excellent as Branch Rickey who signs up Jackie Robinson. I hope he gets an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.”

    Link

    ———————

    Same with Days of Thunder.

    “Liked it – a typical feel good sports movie. Its Top Gun with race cars instead and the racing scenes were really good. Its not based on a true story but its characters are based on some real race car drivers and some real incidents are referenced in the movie.

    Tom Cruise looked very good and acted very well too. Nicole Kidman looked very pretty. Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes and Michael Rooker were very good too.”

    Link

    ————————

    My comment on Hoosiers.

    “The movie is based or inspired from a true story (with lot of changes) and is considered by many to be one of the best sports based movies ever. While I found the movie entertaining I did not like the movie that much. Its a 1986 movie so may be I have watched this too late after having seen similar themed movies.

    The movie starts off with the coach talking about playing as a team but they start winning only after the star player shows up and its pretty much all his show. There is a player’s drunkard father who later becomes the assistant coach angle which started off well but halfway into the movie his character suddenly gets hospitalized and there are cheesy scenes of him in a hospital. The speech scenes were too short and not that good. Background music was bad but surprisingly it was nominated for an Oscar.

    Gene Hackman was good as the coach. Did not like Barbara Hershey’s acting and her role. Dennis Hopper won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this movie. While he was good initially his acting was so cheesy and bad in the later parts. Performances by the rest of the cast were decent.”

    Link


    1. I used few of imdb & espn list to watch all the good one and believe me I still don’t understand why they rate Brians song, field of dreams, hoosiers, bull durham etc… On top. You watch those films & you will know it. They are nothing great at all. Few movies are really good but they are found between 15-25 ranks.


        1. Common hi there – field of dream? Total illogical plot. There is a movie itself on sox and their scandal of dismissing 8 member team squad. I wanted to watch tht but couldn’t, atleadt they could have chosen that instead of field of deams.

          Bull durham is good & i liked it. It is comicsl feel good movie cum seasoned sex 😉 liked the start cast & everything but dont think it can feature even in top 10.


    1. I had watched Hip Hip Hurray when I was a kid and liked it then. I want to watch it again. I think its inspired or remade from a Hollywood movie.


  4. Great post FS as usual . Never had any particular interest in this genre . Seen very few from your list . CDI is one of my all time favorite . Liked million dollar baby,JJWS,iqbal,Moneyball . Didn’t like invictus. haven’t seen rest of the movies from your list . I liked shaolin soccer which is not your list.Liked children of heaven too which has small sports angle.


  5. Looks like you guys haven’t seen Rush yet. It’s the best F-1 racing movie and the best sports movie I’ve seen since Warrior(2011). I love Moneyball and The Fighter, but to me they’re more of dramas within the sports framework than out an out sports movies. Loved Warrior since it balances emotions with action and is easily the best MMA film ever made. Rush is an adrenaline filled ride backed by Zimmer’s propulsive score and Daniel Bruhl’s superlative turn as Niki Lauda. Chris Hemsworth is also good as James Hunt, but too much muscled up considering Hunt was lean. But watching an old interview of the real Hunt made me think that Michael Fassbender would have been perfect for the role as his voice and natural accent resembles closely with Hunt.


      1. Yeah I have seen this …

        I recommend you to see Naya Daur as well. Lagaan is very much same .. only difference was instead of British it was Jameendar .. and instead of cricket match there was motor Race .. basic premise and idea was same. Otherwise even Love triangle was ditto same ..


  6. @FS

    Very Good Post on Sports and excellent selection my personal favorites are

    1. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander

    2. Lagaan

    3. Chak De India

    4. Iqbal

    5. Paan Singh Tomar

    6. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

    Here is the list i didn’t like much

    Jannat
    Striker
    Patiala House
    Goal
    Dil Bole Hadippa
    Ferrari ki Sawari
    Awal Number.


  7. Agree about Lagaan. We were watching first day and until the first bowl being bowled cudnt believe that cricket match is going to happen. We were expecting a revolt sort of climax, but was so engorssed in the atmosophere and build up.
    The Fighter was a very good movie too, liked it far more than MoneyBall.


  8. Yakuza :

    Naya daur ??? In which world

    Naya daur basic premises was Man vs Machine or Change (Tech & Urbanisation in crude sense) vs Status quo (Rural).

    FS :

    Nice post and list, FS.

    My only 2 picks

    Raging bull and JJWS, though seen many of your list and my picks are based only – Will I revisit movie again or had revisited them.
    Seen lagaan only once and couldn’t ever complete it 2nd time so far, except 2 songs ESP Bhajan.


  9. Excellent post. Am yet to see many of the films listed here. But as you have rightly observed ‘sports’ is one genre where our best films can compete with the best from anywhere else. Lagaan and JJWS are absolute favorites for me too, and Iqbal too I loved.

    I don’t know if you have heard of the movie ‘Dodgeball’. I found it quite hilarious and unique- because it introduced a new ‘sport’, and gave a really comic flavor to the usual underdog story- which is common across all sports films.

    Hoosiers also I liked, because I hadn’t seen any other basketball based film, and the film had other serious undertones as well- apart from the sport bit.

    Have been meaning to watch Raging Bull and ‘Chariots on Fire’ for quite some time now, this post is ample reminder.

    As a kid I really enjoyed ‘Awwal Number’ as well, haven’t seen it in years- so don’t know how it will stand today. But at that time I was mad about the film.


    1. I Loved Dodgeball. Good you mentioned it. I did not mention it before thinking others will not like it or just hate it. Its a comedy – very physical and some of the training scenes are hilarious.


  10. Nice post FS

    Have not seen most of the movies here except – Million Dollar Baby, Lagaan, JJWS and Chak De (in parts).

    Million Dollar Baby is my most fav in this genre.

    JJWS is next one.

    Lagaan – To begin with, I dont agree that it was a sports movie at all.

    Its one of my most fav – its IMO second greatest after Sholay in many things-
    but a Sports Movie?. Comeon …

    It is much much more than that…

    And NO – its not about Bhuvan also.


  11. Havent seen most of the them, except rocky , remember the titans , CDI, Miracle n JJWS and Iqbal .. and liked all of them but personally for me lagan surely is not no 1 even amongst the ones i have seen .. Rocky is better amongst the ones i have seen


  12. Yakuza – I remember few scenes from the film Naya daur as I had seen it long time back and I don’t think it has anything to do with Lagaan. The idea may seem familiar but the adaptation & treatment is entirely different in Lagaan. If you deduce such logic to other films then you won’t be able to find more than 20-30 films overall as fresh and new concepts.

    Ritz – We have used cricket as the focal point in many films but nothing like Lagaan. The film is not just about cricket, it is much more than that & I agree with you on that but Cricket remains the focal point or a medium to connect all the dots in the movie or one can even say that a medium around which the whole concept of Lagaan is developed. Fact is, Cricket (sports) has been used over 2 hours in the film and you can’t call it a sports movie or movie based on sports? common ritz. btw thanks :)

    Manish – I have known many people not liking lagaan, infact many even hate 3 Idiots and many told me they slept during taare zameen per or even said Chak De India is a blunder etc… Everyone has his/her opinion and I respect that. The movie may be based on thriller, suspense, drama, horror or sports but if you don’t enjoy or get satisfied with the movie as a whole (apart from what you were looking for) then that film isn’t good at all or may not be satisfactory. For me Lagaan is one of the finest film bollywood has ever produced & I would compare it with finest of Hollywood films as well on a overall satisfying level. I liked it more than the above mentioned films in the list and fortunately it happens to fall under Sports Category too & from Bollywood.

    dwnpiyush – Thanks a lot dear. No I haven’t seen the film dodgeball and thanks for recommending it, sputnik seems to have liked it as well. I have faint memories of Avwal number, isn’t that Aamir’s film in which he bats in white dress and looks so skinny and young? Have totally forgotten it.

    Cr – Yeah, Jannat is really a good movie and liked the heroine (Sonal Chauhan)as well. she looked damn pretty & hot and Emran has performed well in this movie. it was more of a betting thing than actual sports. Songs are very good too.

    Tulmul – thanks and seems like you have become very choosy now a days 😉 I have repeated many of the films in the list multiple times.


    1. FS- Who are the people hated TZP? I need to meet them . For a long time I was thinking I’m the only one and thought there must be something wrong with me 😛 . I found lagaan a good time pass.But it was way too long .I liked cricket match scenes .


  13. Downloading Chariots of fire and Cinderella man from your list .they look interesting .have already downloaded warrior .Will share my views on them later .


    1. CR – watch Warrior first followed by Cinderella man & then Chariots of Fire. Warrior starts off well & there are no dull moments in it. cinderella Man is little slow but you end up liking it very much. Chariots of fire is very slow in the beginning & sets its pace in the second half.

      Tzp – one was my cousin who slept during the film itself, second is my long distant relative.


  14. I don not like Lagaan at all. I cant stand the basic concept of playing cricket match for waiving off taxes, seems ridiculous to me.

    In sports movies, I like Rocky, Rocky II and Rocky Balboa, JJWS was OK.
    A movie named “Boxer” starring Mithun with boxing theme was released in 80s, has anyone seen that.


      1. Cant say Today I will like it or notbut when I watched it may be earlt 90s, I liked it. But, then my liking was quite different from what it is Today.


  15. Watched Dodge ball – Its a slapstick comedy movie in which dodge ball competition is used in a humorous way to entertain the audience. It was a good time pass movie and it is a very predictable movie as Cr said.

    I forgot to mention 3 more movie based on sports;

    Forever Strong – It is a nice flick on college rugby (New Zealand) in which the once drug addict protagonist learns the tough way to see through the game. It has some inspirational quotes and principles if followed diligently, might let you prosper and succeed in your real lives as well.

    Never Back Down 1 & 2 – Part one is all about mixed marshal art and more of a street fights than tournament. But the transition that takes place in college kids from being normal fighters to a highly trained fighters using technique and due diligence and trained by a professional trainer is what inspires you more than the motive of the movie but movie is also very good. Even part 2 has same efforts and training under new coach but movie is not so engaging other than fights and this time its a tournament fights.

    Playful Warrior – The movie has so many inspiring quotes and some good performance but the biggest drawback was the pathetic illusionary coach. There everything went wrong but overall movie was ok.


  16. Watched Any Given Sunday – Definitely one of the Best Sports movie I have seen and it will definitely find its place in my Top 20 which I am gonna update very soon. Al Pachino as a Coach has done an incredible job with his wits, his aggression and he never appeared as Super Coach or a filmy Coach but he was as real as a Coach of any Football can get.

    The movie begins with loss of four in a row in a football match & with the captain injured. It starts up slowly and the plots slowly unfolds showcasing the different layers of Coach failing aggression, managing losing its control over the games and sponsors, players having differences etc.. and how they come together when the need arises. Jamie Fox as a quarter back has done an excellent job and shown lot of reflexes in the movie. Cameron Diaz who takes up the management of Sparks Team also shown different shades in her performance.

    The movie also ends with a surprise 😉


  17. Watched Breaking away. Surprised that it was not mentioned in the post.
    A very well made film and i think JJWS was copied from this one.


    1. Reddemon – @hithere also told me about the same. I have not seen it. Any how there will be update on this post very soon. You will see many new movies added into it and If I see Breaking Away before I rewrite the post and like it very much, I’ll definitely include in it


    2. Yes JJWS is inspired from Breaking Away. I watched it back in 2002 or so but did not like it much. I liked JJWS more. But I want to re-watch Breaking Away and its in my queue for a long time.


      1. I am the one lucky who experienced JJWS in a cinema hall of 1100 odd ppl, whole theater was cheering up for Aamir in the final race – and they were like thinking this is a real race. Such was the cheering and noise all around !!

        PS: Same case was for Lagaan.


        1. Ab ye kitne baar bolega main?!?

          Dhoom3 ho gayi Sholay ke baraabar – Number one movie.

          ONLY Aamir breaks his records !!!!

          Tears are flowing down my eyes, I am speechless.

          All my prayers have been answered.

          Finally…

          All the detractors of THE ACE have been silenced ONCE AND FOR ALL !!.

          A tight slap on the face of the people who doubted the ACE !!


  18. JJWS and Breaking away are equally good for me.

    JJWS takes an edge with ‘Pehla Nasha’ and ‘Wo sikander hi doston’ but breaking away compensates it with its races.


      1. Its heavily inspired from Breaking Away. There are four teenagers who just while away their time similar to Aamir and his two friends in JJWS. They are known as “Cutters” similar to “Pyjama Chap” in JJWS. The lead character Dave pretends to be an Italian exchange student in order to impress a University student just like Aamir pretends to be a rich student from another college. And then there is obviously the cycle race similarity.

        The three friends aren’t sidekicks unlike Aamir’s friends in JJWS. They are not college students and there is no inter college rivalry. There is a whole Italian obsession that Dave has.

        But they added lot of masala with the inter college rivalry, the elder brother angle and the family drama.

        The cycle race is based on an actual race Little 500 held in Indiana where the movie is set and it is just going around laps in a stadium. I had once mentioned elsewhere that the inter college cycling competition in JJWS while good looked entirely made up in the Indian context.

        ——————

        Thanks to Reddemon for bringing up the movie here which made me revisit it so quickly. I had got bored by the initial Italian obsession scenes the first time I tried to watch back in 2002. I had some friends too for company and I guess I could never get involved in the movie much.

        But this time I liked the movie a lot. Its a very good movie – a very good coming of age movie with the four teenagers with working class parents who don’t know what to do with their life. The movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and won Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.

        Dennis Christopher was very good as Dave. Dennis Quaid was good but I thought he would have a more important part during the race. Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley were good too as his friends. Barbara Barrie was very good as the mother and she got a Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Paul Dooley was good as the father. Robyn Douglass looked pretty. Cinematography was very good. Use of classical music for Background music was very good and it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music Score.


        1. So this JJWS & Breaking Away combination is similar to CDI and Miracle you mean. Both are good in their own ways.


          1. Yes. Both JJWS and CDI are very good movies even though they are inspired and even copy a few scenes.


  19. What a brilliant post!!! Visited just now. There are some movies which I have not even watched. Filmygyani, proving your name :)


  20. Have seen all of the Indian movies listed above. Lagaan (one of my all time favorite movie), Chak De! India, JJWS & Iqbal are truly remarkable sports movie. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a good addition, so is Paan Singh Tomar.



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