We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 football movies of all time. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. The Replacements (2000) 41% at Rotten Tomatoes
When the professional football league goes on strike, the owners scout and hire substitutes that never made it pro. Among them is former college great Shane Falco, a former Ohio State All-American who fell apart after the Sugar Bowl.
Director: Howard Deutch
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton
9. Friday Night Lights (2004) 81% at Rotten Tomatoes
Football is everything in Texas. Friday Night Lights is everything about high school football in Odessa, TX. It’ll remain relevant so long as Texas is around.
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke
8. Wildcats (1986) 13% at Rotten Tomatoes
Long before Dangerous Minds, Hawn played a football coach trying to whip a group of inner city kids into shape. It’s a very 80s movie, but one that’s still watchable today.
Director: Michael Ritchie
Starring: Goldie Hawn, Swoosie Kurtz, Robyn Lively
7. Big Fan (2009) 86% at Rotten Tomatoes
Football fans are serious fanatics. Paul from Staten Island watches every Giants game from the parking lot and constantly argues with Philadelphia Phil. After meeting the Giants star linebacker, he’s beaten and chooses the good of the team over his own well-being. Phil calls him out, so he hunts him down to seek revenge for being revealed instead of beaten.
Director: Robert D. Siegel
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport
6. Little Giants (1994) 40% at Rotten Tomatoes
Even peewee football is serious business to the parents and coaches involved. Danny O’Shea always lived in his brother’s shadow, so when he’s given a group of misfit kids to challenge his brother’s championship team, the result is an underdog story for the ages.
Director: Duwayne Dunham
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ed O’Neil, Shawna Waldron
5. Draft Day (2014) 59% at Rotten Tomatoes
Football fans are rabid about even the most minuscule events, like the draft. Draft Day follows Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr., as he wheels and deals to secure the best draft picks possible for his team. It’s like fantasy football: the movie.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner
4. Any Given Sunday (1999) 51% at Rotten Tomatoes
Few movies actually look at the business of football, and Any Given Sunday is the best of this pack. The Miami Sharks aren’t what they used to be, and the coach and owner don’t get along. The quarterback is a narcissist, but eventually gets his shit together and unites with the coach to give a middle finger to the owner.
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz
3. The Waterboy (1998) 35% at Rotten Tomatoes
Bobby Boucher is a simple man with the mentality of a child (a character Sandler plays to perfection throughout his career). His mama taught him everything he knows, most of which is questionable. While he’s happy just being the football team’s water boy, he also has the uncanny ability to tackle players. So the coach uses him as their secret weapon.
Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Henry Winkler
2. Remember the Titans (2000) 73% at Rotten Tomatoes
Football is a team sport, and integrating a high school team in 1971 isn’t easy for black coach Herman Boone. Based on a true story, this movie is an inspiring look at how teammates can begrudgingly become unified and triumph, even when the entire system is seemingly rigged against them.
Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris
1. We Are Marshall (2006) 49% at Rotten Tomatoes
Football is important to the town of Huntington and Marshall University in 1970. But when 37 members of the football program are killed in a plane crash, the athletic program struggles to recover. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better movie to show the healing power sports can have on people.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie