Top 5 Inspirational Sports Movies of All Time

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The release of the Will Smith-led Richard Williams biopic King Richard is right around the corner. The story follows the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams as he works and struggles to coach his young and talented daughters the nuances of the game while navigating through a system that looks down upon them.

The film has garnered critical acclaim in early release and currently holds a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

As we know, the story ends in triumph with Serena and Venus Williams both growing up to be some of the greatest players in the history of the sport. It’s a truly inspirational story of a loving father’s determination helping to propel his daughters from the streets of Compton to the grass of Wimbledon.

King Richard draws upon a long history of inspirational sports movies that show us just how the games we love can teach us lessons that go beyond the Xs and Os. Let’s take a look at some of the most inspirational sports movies of all time.

  1. Moneyball – 2011

Based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book of the same name, Moneyball follows Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane as he attempts to pioneer a new way of team-building with his team’s limited budget.

While Moneyball is, on the surface, a story about a sports team pioneering advanced statistics to find bargain-bin players, there’s a lot more to it than just that. Brad Pitt does an excellent job portraying Beane as a man torn between his desire for success and his family ties keeping him in an unwinnable professional situation.

Moneyball was a critical darling and received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Pitt, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill.

  1. 42 – 2013

Jackie Robinson is without a doubt one of the most important cultural and societal figures of 20th Century America. By breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, he paved the way for the integration of professional sports in the country and helped bridge societal gaps.

42 follows Robinson as he is recruited by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey to become the MLB’s first black player. Effortlessly portrayed by the late, great Chadwick Boseman, Robinson endures racist abuse at the hands of fans and opponents but manages to keep a cool head and open the door for other people of color to play in the MLB.

  1. Rudy – 1993

In Rudy, Sean Astin portrays Rudy Ruettiger, an obsessive Notre Dame fan, whose dream is to don the solid gold helmet of the Fighting Irish. We see Ruettiger scratch and claw his way into the prestigious University and then onto the school’s football team.

It’s an incredibly inspirational story of a kid with no size and no talent who works his backside off to achieve his dream. A classic “guy cry” movie, Rudy showcases several moments that would make even someone with an incredibly tough outer shell well up.

  1. Remember the Titans – 2000

During a time of change in America, Remember the Titans portrays a high school football team encountering the trials and tribulations of a recently integrated school in 1971 Virginia. We see the team experience the ups and downs as they eventually come together and learn that their pre-conceived notions and biases were only skin-deep.

Led by an incredible Denzel Washington performance, Remember the Titans teaches audiences this lesson as well and has become a cable TV staple over the past two decades. While there are many liberties taken with real-life events, the lessons it teaches an audience and the inspiration one can glean from the film are well-worth experiencing.

  1. Rocky – 1976

The fictional tale of a down-on-his-luck Philadelphia boxer who gets plucked from obscurity to face the World Heavyweight Champion is the stuff of legend by now. Everything from Rocky’s practice of punching raw meat to train and, of course, his iconic run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum has been parodied to death.

But, there’s still a lot of inspiration one can take away from Sylvester Stallone’s breakout film. Rocky shows that, through hard work, grit, and determination, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve their dream. Although it’s the only purely fictional movie on this list, Rocky’s status as a modern American folk hero makes it well-worthy of inclusion.

At the time of its release, Rocky was acclaimed by critics, receiving 10 Academy Award nominations, including wins for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. It’s also spawned a major motion picture franchise, with four direct sequels and two spin-off films.

Of course, the legacy of these films cast an incredibly long shadow and we can’t wait to see if King Richard can match the critical and cultural success that they’ve enjoyed. If you’re interested in betting on sports (or even King Richard’s Oscar chances!) has breakdowns of many top betting sites in the US.