The Top 10 Football Films of All-Time
As we approach and celebrate the annual tradition of the National Football League Super Bowl Championship game, here’s a look at the top ten highest-ranked football movies according to the users of Flickchart. Hundreds of millions of movie matchups from film fans worldwide have culminated to decide each film on this list’s ranking.
10. The Waterboy (1998)
Half slapstick and half fantasy, The Waterboy stars Adam Sandler as the simpleton Bobby Boucher who has an overprotective mother in Kathy Bates, a hallucinatory coach in Henry Winkler, and a sultry love interest in Fairuza Balk. It’s a goofy, playground-level comedy that wears its heart on its sleeve and asks the viewer to laugh alongside Sandler as he becomes the unlikely hero in a series of ever-incredible hijinks. If anything, the film firmly implanted the oft-repeated quote “You can do it!” indelibly into the minds of its fans to this day. – Nathan Chase
9. The Blind Side (2009)
The Blind Side is based on the true story of offensive lineman Michael Oher, a homeless and troubled young man whose life is turned around when he is invited to become part of the Tuohy family. Sandra Bullock turns in an Oscar-winning performance as the no-nonsense matriarch of the family who refuses to take no for an answer. There are a handful of entertaining moments of football action, but most of this movie takes place off the field. It draws some interesting parallels between the way Michael interacts with his new family and how he must perform when playing the game. The Blind Side is an emotional film that asks the audience to think about how we define the word “family.” – Ben Lott
8. Lucas (1986)
An innocent look at the teenage years, Lucas (played by a sensitive and nuanced Corey Haim) places the value of caring above all else as he navigates complex relationships with the people around him. His young love with Maggie (played by the adorable Kerri Green) and a protector and surrogate brother Cappie in Charlie Sheen, are the anchors of the film. The football game climax is an unpredictable, tear-jerking redemption as Lucas has his moment of vindication. – Nathan Chase
7. The Freshman (1925)
The Freshman is credited with being the first sports movie ever created. In the film, Harold Lamb, played by the legendary Harold Lloyd, wants nothing more than to be popular during his first year of college, so he joins the school football team. The film showcases some very comical scenes where Lloyd displays his trademark slapstick comedy. The coach has so many exaggerated reactions to all the plays, and ironically doesn’t act much different than any coach of today. Although this is a comedy, there is a lot of heart in this movie. It embodies the meaning of never giving up, and that’s the true spirit of football. A great start to a legacy of sports films. – Ryan Hope
6. Friday Night Lights (2004)
Friday Night Lights represents the small town where the biggest thing happening is Friday night at the football field. The players use it as a future to get out of town, to escape their harsh home environment, or because they feel like they aren’t good at anything else. Billy Bob Thornton masterfully plays the coach who has a hard time connecting to his players. Director Peter Berg films each shot with a documentary-style, unsteady motion to convey a gritty realism to each scene. There are people that just see football as just a game, but it’s more than that to this town’s characters. It’s a way of life where everyone can come together and just forget about their problems for one night a week. The film is actually based on a real-life high school football team, but the problems the team faced on and off the field could reflect any small town in America. – Ryan Hope
5. The Longest Yard (1974)
A mix of a prison film and sports film, Burt Reynolds plays ex-football star Paul Crewe that winds up balancing humor and violence in this unique comedy-drama. Eddie Albert plays the blackmailing Warden Hazen who forces Paul to form a team with a no-win scenario. It’s macho, it’s brutal, and it acts as a socio-political commentary on the Nixon administration simultaneously. It’s also got a lot of hard-hitting, high-stakes football action, which cements its place on the list. – Nathan Chase
4. Remember the Titans (2000)
What sets Remember the Titans apart from Disney’s numerous other sports films isn’t the athletic accomplishments it depicts. It’s the off-the-field impact that resonates most deeply in the film. The ability of a newly desegregated football team in the Civil Rights era to inspire acceptance, growth, and change amongst themselves, but also among their community, is the real story here. The fact that there is great on-screen football along the way is just a bonus. – Isaah Wright
3. Rudy (1993)
Rudy is based on the true story of a young man (Sean Astin) who had one lifelong dream – to play football for the University of Notre Dame. This film is an emotional roller coaster that shows how our dreams might be within reach when we put everything on the line and seek a little help from our friends. It’s also one of the most inspiring football films which goes beyond play on the field and gets to the heart of why we love the game. – Ben Lott
2. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career has become such a punchline since his Oscar win here, that it’s hard to remember just how good he was in Jerry Maguire, as the bold, brash Rod Tidwell. Tom Cruise shows us exactly why he is the world’s biggest movie star with his magnificent turn in the title role. This is the real strength of Jerry Maguire: two powerful personalities who had us at “Show me the money.” – Nigel Druitt
1. Horse Feathers (1932)
The Marx Brothers are at their very best here as the group takes over Huxley College, an underfunded school, and the only way for them to raise funds is to have a winning football team that hasn’t won a game in almost 50 years. Many of the jokes in the film are about the amateur status of college football players and how eligibility rules are stretched by athletic departments, both of which are relatable problems even today. The climax of the film is the big game between Huxley and their rival, Darwin College. You won’t see a classic football game, but what you will see is one of the funniest sports train wrecks on film. They do everything from use a football on a string, hide the ball, throw banana peels on the field, or even use a chariot to run in the ball just to get a touchdown – all things a football player only wishes they could do. – Ryan Hope
Looking for more great sports films?
What’s your favorite football movie? Let us know in the comments which films should have made the cut.