The Cardinal’s top 15 sports movies since 1980

By on January 31, 2006

 The Cardinal's top 15 sports movies since 1980By

Hundreds of movies have been made about sports, but only a few stick with you. Members of The Cardinal editorial and sports staff voted on our picks for the top 15 movies in the last 25 years. “Hoosiers” edged out “Rudy” in the end for our top spot. Each selection was given points, 15 for first and one if it was selected last. The points totals as well as the number of first place votes are listed after each movie title. Charles Westmoreland, Chris Brown, Glypie Grider, Matt Thacker, Andrew Krumme, Chuck Stinson, Terra Simms, Catherine LaRoche, Zach Kenitzer, Chris Hill and Matthew Adkins voted in this survey.

1) Hoosiers, 97(3) â?” The classic small-town sports drama, “Hoosiers,” tells the story of the tiny underdog high school basketball team, the Hickory Huskers. They must overcome adversity, under the leadership of a rejected coach played by Gene Hackman, on their way to the Indiana state championships. The brilliant acting and directing makes “Hoosiers” a classic tale about triumph and overcoming the odds.

2) Rudy, 96 (3) â?” In the ultimate underdog story, Rudy dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame, but he lacked the talent to play major college football. His drive and determination has inspired people for years and helped to increase the mystique of Notre Dame football. The “real” Rudy still works as a motivational speaker.

3) Field of Dreams, 76 (1) â?” An Iowa farmer hears voices coming from his cornfield, saying the now-famous line, “If you build it, he will come.” The farmer, played by Kevin Costner, believes the voices are telling him to build a baseball field, and so he does. Ghosts of baseball legends gather on the field at night, proving that fantasies to come true â?” at least in Hollywood.

4) Remember the Titans, 72 (1) â?” Two football teams, one black and one white, are forced to merge when Virginia employs forced integration in the high schools. The tensions increase as the white and black players must compete for starting positions, but the team gels together, overcoming outside distractions, and makes a run in the state tournament. The movie successfully takes on a sensitive issue and did so in a way that has inspired millions.

5) Bull Durham, 62 (1) â?” Kevin Costner makes his second appearance in our top five, this time as a minor league baseball player. With humor and wit, “Bull Durham” reveals the unglamorous life of the players who aren’t making the millions. Some do it in hopes of making the Majors, while other just do it for the love of the game.

6) The Sandlot, 56 (1) â?” There have been countless sports movies featuring kids, but The Sandlot stands above the rest. Scotty Smalls is the new kid who can’t play baseball as well as the others, but he tries out for the sandlot team and they take him. The movie is humorous as the team’s biggest challenge ends up being their own imagination.

7) A League of their Own, 55 â?” While baseball players went off to fight in WWII, women began stepping in and playing and the first women’s professional baseball league forms. The movie focuses on two sisters who fight a lot but end up uniting to try and help the league as the women must overcome the pressure placed on them.

8) Million Dollar Baby, 50 â?” Hilary Swank plays a waitress who decides she wants to become a boxer. She must convince Clint Eastwood’s character to coach her despite that she seems to be past her prime. She works hard and begins winning, but her biggest challenge would come later in the movie. showing the balance between sports and life.

9) Raging Bull, 45 â?” Jake La Motta, played by Robert De Niro, is a tough and unlovable boxer who must fight off his personal demons to try and become middleweight champion of the world. De Niro’s character won’t win any personality awards, but his tragic life has captured the attention of viewers for 25 years.

10) Jerry Maguire, 35 â?” Tom Cruise plays a swindling sports agent who will do anything for his clients, and in turn his own pocketbook, until he begins to question the way he does his job. When he voices his uncertainty, he loses his clients and must restart his career. The movie is a vivid portrayal of the side of professional sports few ever get to see.

11) Rocky IV, 35 â?” Rocky I and II couldn’t make the list because they were made prior to 1980, but that didn’t keep Sylvester Stallone’s legendary character off our list. In the fourth movie of the series, Rocky seeks revenge against Russian fighter Ivan Drago for killing Apollo Creed.

12) Friday Night Lights, 34 â?” The poor town of Odessa, Texas, lives for its football team, and the Permian Panthers football team knows that and takes advantage of their fame. They begin the season expected to win the championships, but when things turn sour, they must question everything they believe and try to battle their way to the championship game.

13) Chariots of Fire, 30 â?” Based on the true story of Eric Liddle, a Scottish missionary, and Harold Abrahams, a Jewish student at Cambridge, two runners must overcome personal obstacles to compete in the 1924 Olympics. Liddle runs to please God, while Abrahams runs for fame and to escape persecution. While the movie is simple in many ways, it gets at the heart of what truly motivates athletes to perform.

14) Caddyshack, 29 â?” Considered one of the greatest comedies of all time, Caddyshack is full of laughs from beginning to end. It’s a humorous portrayal of the haves and the have-nots at an exclusive golf club that has a major gopher problem.

15) Major League, 29 â?” Another comedy rounds out our list. James Gammon is hired to manage the Cleveland Indians, the worst team in the league. He hires a roster full of rejects and then restores pride in the team. Nothing is sacred in this film about Major League Baseball.

Did we miss your favorite movie? Did you agree with our list? Send your responses to sports@louisvillecardinal.com, and we’ll print the best comments in next week’s issue.

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