Football is more than just a sport. It’s a passion, a culture, a way of life. And for many fans, it’s also a source of inspiration and entertainment. That’s why there are so many movies that celebrate the beautiful game, its players, its teams, and its stories.
But which ones are the best? How do you choose from the hundreds of films that feature football in some way? Well, I’ve done some research and compiled a list of 10 great football movies that you should watch. These are not ranked in any order, but rather grouped by theme. Here they are:
These movies tell the stories of unlikely heroes who overcome the odds and achieve their dreams of playing football.
- Rudy: Based on a true story, this film follows Rudy Ruettiger, a small and determined young man who dreams of playing for Notre Dame, one of the most prestigious college football teams in America. Despite his lack of talent, size, and support, Rudy never gives up and eventually earns a spot on the team.
- The Blind Side: Another true story, this film depicts the life of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who is adopted by a wealthy family and becomes an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick. The film explores the themes of family, race, and social class, as well as the power of football to change lives.
- Undefeated: This documentary follows the Manassas Tigers, a high school football team from a poor and violent neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee. The team has never won a playoff game in its history, but with the help of a dedicated coach and a charismatic leader, they strive to make history and break the cycle of poverty and violence.
These movies pay tribute to some of the greatest football players and coaches of all time, and show how they influenced the sport and the world.
- Pelé: This biopic chronicles the life and career of Pelé, the Brazilian football legend who is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. The film shows his humble beginnings, his rise to fame, his triumphs and challenges, and his role in Brazil’s World Cup victories.
- Diego Maradona: This documentary uses archival footage and interviews to portray the complex and controversial figure of Diego Maradona, the Argentine football genius who led his country to World Cup glory and his club Napoli to unprecedented success. The film also explores his personal struggles with fame, drugs, and politics.
- Jerry Maguire: This comedy-drama stars Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire, a sports agent who has a moral crisis and decides to start his own agency with the only athlete who stays with him, Rod Tidwell, a flamboyant and underrated football player. The film explores the themes of love, friendship, and business in the world of sports.
These movies focus on the dynamics and drama of football teams, both on and off the field.
- Remember the Titans: Based on a true story, this film depicts the integration of a racially divided high school football team in Virginia in 1971. The film shows how the team’s coach, played by Denzel Washington, unites the players and the community through football and mutual respect.
- Friday Night Lights: Based on a book by H.G. Bissinger, this film portrays the pressure and passion of a high school football team in Odessa, Texas, where football is a way of life and a source of pride. The film follows the team’s season, as they deal with injuries, rivalries, expectations, and personal issues.
- The Damned United: This film is based on the book by David Peace, which fictionalizes the turbulent 44-day tenure of Brian Clough as the manager of Leeds United, one of the most successful and hated football teams in England in the 1970s. The film shows Clough’s clash with the players, the fans, and his own assistant, as well as his rivalry with his predecessor, Don Revie.
These movies use football as a backdrop for hilarious and heartwarming stories.
- Shaolin Soccer: This film is a martial arts comedy that combines football with kung fu. The film follows a former Shaolin monk who forms a football team with his fellow monks, using their skills to play the game in a spectacular and unconventional way. The film is full of action, humor, and special effects.
- Kicking & Screaming: This film stars Will Ferrell as Phil Weston, a mild-mannered man who becomes the coach of his son’s soccer team, only to find himself in a fierce competition with his father, Buck Weston, who coaches the rival team. The film is a family comedy that pokes fun at the intensity and absurdity of youth sports.
- The Waterboy: This film stars Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher, a socially awkward and timid water boy who discovers that he has a hidden talent for tackling people. He joins the football team of a struggling college and becomes their star player, while also dealing with his overprotective mother and his love interest. The film is a slapstick comedy that features Sandler’s trademark humor.
These are just some of the many great football movies that you can enjoy. Whether you are looking for inspiration, entertainment, or drama, you will find something that suits your taste and mood. Football is more than just a sport, it’s a way of life. And these movies capture that essence in a captivating way. So, what are you waiting for? Grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch these amazing football movies. You won’t regret it.