The 12 Best Sports Movies Based on True Stories

Fire up your surround sound system and enjoy these hard-hitting films.

We all know how exciting watching sports can be. But when you pair up that energy with a great movie, viewed on a big screen TV and enjoyed over a quality surround sound system, you’re really hitting a home run! Here’s a list of twelve of the best sports movies based on real-life stories.

1. King Richard

This biopic made a lot of headlines at the 94th Academy Awards® — though perhaps more for the actions of Will Smith, who stars as Richard Williams, the coach and father of tennis phenom sisters Serena and Venus Williams. Nonetheless, Smith took home the Oscar® for Best Actor, and the American Film Institute named King Richard one of the best movies of 2021. Find out where to stream it here.

2. Rudy

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger had dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite not having the money or grades to attend the school, nor the talent or size needed. Yet through sheer determination, he ended up playing the final game of the 1975 season. Rudy tells that story, accompanied by an uplifting score by Jerry Goldsmith, and was the first film made on the campus of Notre Dame since 1940’s Knute Rockne All American. Your subwoofer will allow you to literally feel the roar of the crowd as they chant “Rudy, Rudy!” when he finally steps onto the field. Find out where to stream it here.

3. Remember the Titans

Based on the true story of coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), this inspirational film portrays his attempt to integrate a high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971, in the process overcoming both race issues and emotional clashes. With a great score by Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin and a soundtrack that features songs from Bob Dylan, The Hollies, Marvin Gaye and James Taylor, your speakers will thank you. Find out where to stream it here.

4. 42

Jackie Robinson was, of course, the first Black player in Major League Baseball — not just a superb second baseman, but a hero who had to fight both his temper and other players to make his mark on sports history. The title of this 2013 film starring Chadwick Boseman (with Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie and Christopher Meloni in supporting roles) is a reference to Robinson’s jersey number, which was retired by all MLB teams in 1997. Find out where to stream it here.

5. A League of Their Own

Directed by Penny Marshall, this hilarious flick stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna in a fictionalized look at the real-life All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Not only was the movie selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” the soundtrack (by Hans Zimmer) peaked at #159 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in July 1992. Find out where to stream it here.

6. Moneyball

Author Michael Lewis’ bestseller Moneyball – The Art Of Winning an Unfair Game has been called “the single most influential baseball book ever.” It took a closeup look at a revolutionary statistical approach to the game adopted in 2002 by the Oakland Athletics and their general manager Billy Beane, portrayed in the movie version by actor Brad Pitt. Filmed at various stadiums, including the Oakland Coliseum and Dodger Stadium, Moneyball garnered six Academy Awards and four Golden Globe® nominations. Your surround speakers will put you right in the stadium when the crowd erupts as Oakland player Scott Hatteberg hits a home run over the right field wall to win an important game. Find out where to stream it here.

7. The Babe

This bio-flick about the legendary Babe Ruth stars John Goodman and explores Ruth’s early life in an orphanage, his stint as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox and the eventual trade to the New York Yankees, where he transformed into the slugging outfielder considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. To simulate the old-time Yankee Stadium, some of the film was shot at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, where they covered the famous ivy walls to depict the 1932 World Series. There’s plenty of baseball action here, accentuated by a rousing score by Elmer Bernstein. Find out where to stream it here.

8. The Rookie

This compelling 2002 sports drama stars Dennis Quaid as baseball player Jim Morris, who debuted in Major League Baseball at the age of 35. A high school science teacher who was married with three children, Morris eventually ended up pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The complex Carter Burwell musical underpinning to this film will give you a perfect opportunity to put your surround sound system through its paces. Find out where to stream it here.

9. Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit was the winningest racing horse of the early twentieth century, beating the 1937 Triple Crown winner by an astonishing four lengths in a two-horse special at Pimlico. Due to his small size and an inauspicious start to his racing career, he was an unlikely champion that became a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression … and this 2003 film successfully captures all the emotion and grit of the era, accompanied by the pounding of hooves and an outstanding score from Randy Newman. Find out where to stream it here.

10. Cinderella Man

Produced by Ron Howard, Penny Marshall and Brian Grazer, Cinderella Man stars Russell Crowe as world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and examines his life story. The movie received three Academy Awards and two Golden Globe nominations and features music by veteran film composer Thomas Newman (cousin of Randy). With a great sound system, you can practically feel the hard-hitting action in the ring when Braddock takes on Corn Griffin and knocks him out. Find out where to stream it here.

11. Rush

Into speed? This fast-moving flick, directed by Ron Howard, centers on a rivalry between two Formula One drivers during the 1976 motor-racing season. Their fiercely revved-up competition — supplemented by an orchestral score from Hans Zimmer and a soundtrack that includes songs from David Bowie, Thin Lizzy and Steve Winwood — will give your surround speakers a real workout. Find out where to stream it here.

12. Hoosiers

With Gene Hackman starring as small-town high school basketball coach Norman Dale, this 1986 classic tells the story of an unlikely team that makes it to the 1954 Indiana State championship game. Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey also make appearances and Jerry Goldsmith composed the rousing score for what has been called one of the greatest sports movies of all time, ranked number 13 by the American Film Institute on its 100 Years…100 Cheers: America most inspiring movie list. Find out where to stream it here.

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