Sports Movies That are Slam Dunks

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Nothing touches the heart like a great sports movie. From a riveting film documenting an intense tennis match that broke the gender barrier to a silent Soviet Union cartoon following a football team in its rise to the top, the Sports Department has you covered with some of our favorite sports movies. So grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

“My favorite sports movie is ‘McFarland, USA.’ It’s based on a true story about a high school cross country team from McFarland, California. A new coach arrives and quickly realizes that the team is exceptional. The team ends up being incredibly successful because of its great work ethic and dedication!” —Julianne Yotov, junior

“My favorite sports movie is ‘Battle of the Sexes.’ Billie Jean King has been the most influential sports icon in my life, as she has continuously fought for equal pay across all sports. This movie allows viewers to experience the events leading up to the historical tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs through the lens of someone in the 1970s. This movie transcends multiple decades and inspires me to continue King’s legacy.” —Shivali Korgaonkar, sophomore

“My favorite sports movie is a silent Soviet cartoon called ‘Football Stars’ in English. The cartoon is about a newly-hired young man coaching a failing soccer team. Through training, he transforms the team into champions. The majority of the cartoon focuses on the championship match, but what makes this film great is that everything—from the fans to the field to every time the soccer ball is passed—is hand drawn. Its creativity, along with its music, makes it my favorite sports movie.” —Rudolph Merlin, junior

"My favorite movie is ‘Moneyball.’ I might be biased because I studied this movie intensely during film class in middle school, but the movie just stuck. The sheer quality of this film undoubtedly makes it one of the best sports films. Based on a true story, ‘Moneyball’ shows how revolutionary sabermetrics was in baseball. The character arc of Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) brings joy and tears to anyone. Undoubtedly, this movie is more than just a sports film, which is why many people like it so much.” —Tausif Tamim, junior

“This question is difficult as ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Miracle on Ice’ are two of my favorite movies of all time. That being said, ‘Miracle on Ice’ is hands down the greatest sports movie of all time. This movie shows how passion and camaraderie can trump pure talent en route to the greatest upset in sports history. On top of that, the political friction between the U.S. and the Soviet Union at that time heightened the game to an even greater level of excitement. The movie shows the struggles and the sheer joy of winning, as well as the personalities of each of the characters. This movie left me in tears, and the best part is that it is all a true story.” —Ben Hamel, sophomore

"‘Miracle on Ice and ‘The Mighty Ducks’ are definitely the best sports films I’ve ever watched. Though I have only watched ‘The Mighty Ducks’ when I was younger, it’s definitely a feel-good movie, and it was so popular that Disney actually founded the current Anaheim Ducks the year after it came out. It’s about Gordon Bombay, an attorney-turned-hockey-coach, who is forced to coach the worst hockey team in a Minneapolis peewee league. Though he uses some questionable tactics to push the Ducks to playoffs, he learns the value of fair play and teamwork, and even stands up to the main sponsor and namesake of the Ducks, his boss Mr. Ducksworth, in order to promote fair play within the league. Though ‘Miracle on Ice’ is based on the true story of arguably the greatest hockey game ever, it also plays into the importance of teamwork within sports and truly displays what makes watching sports so entertaining.” —Kiki Caso, sophomore

“When it comes to sports movies, there’s definitely a lot to choose from for me: ‘Miracle on Ice, ‘The Longest Yard, ‘Creed,Moneyball’...but in the same vein as Rudolph, I’ll go with the Soviet silent cartoon ‘Shaybu! Shaybu!’ (which translates to ‘Puck! Puck!’) because of its sentimental significance to me. Its premise is simple: the new beginners overcome adversity to defeat the seasoned veterans. But I think that’s what captured my attention as a four-year-old and ultimately made me fall in love with the sport of hockey. Every time I return to it and see all those wacky animations that I took for granted as a little kid, I leave my world and become a four-year-old once again.” —Joshua Spektor, senior

“True to my roots, one of my favorite movies is ‘She’s the Man’ and ‘The Blind Side.’ ‘She’s the Man’ discusses the important theme of gender equality in the sports world while being comedic and romantic at the same time. A girl pretends to be a guy to make the rival soccer team after the girls’ team gets cut from the athletic program. The boys’ team is sexist and does not believe that girls are good enough at soccer to compete. ‘The Blind Side’ is based on a true story and is about the hardships of a homeless boy who goes on to win a scholarship with the help of a football family while finding his place and a family at the same time. Both movies are truly inspiring and show that with hard work, you can achieve your goals.” —Aki Yamaguchi, junior