The 2020-21 NFL football season may be over, but fans don’t have to live in retirement until the next season begins in the fall. Instead, they can watch great football movies. Some of the best sports movies of all time are about football. Audiences love to watch inspirational drama about underdogs overcoming their challenges to achieve victory.
Many of these films are about the National Football League (NFL) itself. Movies are great for football fans. As is the case with most genres, some are better than others. The ratings on IMDb can help choose the best movies that involve the NFL.
ten Number one (1969) – 5.6
The careers of professional football players come with many ups and downs. In the 1969 drama, Number one, Ron Catlan (Charlton Heston) is an aging New Orleans Saints quarterback. After injuring his knee, his career is almost over. He is threatened by a new recruit (Richard Elkins), who could replace him entirely.
Faced with stress, Ron engages in an extramarital affair, threatening his marriage to his wife (Jessica Walter). He fell from the best player on the Saints list down. It doesn’t take much for a soccer player’s career (and personal life) to fall apart in this story.
9 Paper lion (1968) – 6.3
The 1968 comedy, Paper lion, is different from most sports movies. It focuses on a Illustrated sports writer, George Plimpton (Alan Alda), who came up with the perfect idea for a new story. He has tried to pitch a baseball game and take part in a boxing match before. Now he wants to try playing professional football.
The New Yorker ends up playing for the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he is doing on the football field. He was sacked for losses and ended up hitting a goal post. This is the story of his life. To be precise, the film used footage from the September 8, 1967 game between the Lions and the St. Louis Cardinals (now known as the Arizona Cardinals).
8 Black Sunday (1977) – 6.8
In the 1977 thriller Black Sunday, Vietnam War veteran Michael Lander (Bruce Dern) now flies the Goodyear airship over NFL games to film them for viewers who cannot attend the games. Unfortunately, he is dragged into the life of crime by a terrorist (Marthe Keller) from the group known as Black September.
Michael’s mission is to use a Goodyear airship to set off a bomb at the Super Bowl. The goal is to punish the Americans for supporting Israel. The story was inspired by the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
7 Draft Day (2014) – 6.8
Sports films don’t need to describe the action on the pitch only. They can also focus on the commercial work behind the scenes of the industry. The drama of 2014, Project day, focuses on Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), the at-risk general manager of the Cleveland Browns. As the NFL Draft draws near, Sonny juggles many issues, both with his work and his personal life.
When Sonny accepts a deal with Seattle to give the Browns the top pick, he begins to wonder if he made the right choice for the franchise. While the film has some flaws with the script, it does portray the dramatic choices involved on NFL Draft Day in a way that gives football fans a whole new perspective.
6 Heaven Can Wait (1978) – 6.9
In the 1978 fantasy comedy Heaven can wait Los Angeles Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) is killed in a car crash. Now in the afterlife, Joe meets his Guardian Angel (Buck Henry), who allows him to assume the identity of a greedy multimillionaire industrialist, Leo Farnsworth.
In his new form, Joe is trying to get back to soccer – the game he loves. He’s trying to buy the Rams and get back on the squad as a starting quarterback just in time for the team to play in the Super Bowl. Beatty and Henry have collaborated to co-direct the fun movie that proves the fantasy can work in sports films.
5 Invincible (2006) – 7.1
It’s every football fan’s dream to someday play in the NFL. In the 2006 drama, Invincible, that dream comes true for longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg). Based on a 1976 true story, Vince goes from being a South Philly bartender and teacher to being his favorite team.
Vince didn’t play football in college, so it seems unlikely that he would do well in the NFL. He works hard to become invincible and ends up scoring a touchdown. While the story expands the truth, the film is a true outsider’s tale. Who doesn’t like it?
4 The Longest Court (1974) – 7.1
In the 1974 film The longest yard, Burt Reynolds is playing Paul “Wrecking” Crewe, a former NFL player who was fired for shaving points. Subsequently, he is involved in a police car chase and is ultimately ordered to organize a football team made up of inmates from Citrus State Prison.
Paul finds it difficult to work with the inmates because they have their own ideas for the team. They will take this opportunity to take revenge for the brutality they received in prison. The film is not only a great football story (starring Green Bay Packers middle linebacker Ray Nitschke), but also one of the best prison movies of all time.
3 Concussion (2015) – 7.2
Everyone knows that football is a very dangerous sport. With the intense tackle, players have concussions all the time. The biographical drama of 2015, Concussion, focuses on how the NFL handles concussions.
After Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster (David Morse) is found dead, medical examiner Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) discovers he had a neurological deterioration similar to Alzheimer’s disease during the autopsy. Omalu continues his research, eventually determining that too many concussions lead to dangerous brain degeneration. The film is an honest look at how the NFL deals with injuries and the dangers of these head injuries.
2 Jerry Maguire (1996) – 7.3
It’s rare for a sports movie to be categorized as a romance as well. The 1996 film, Jerry maguire, is the exception to this tradition. Tom Cruise stars as Jerry Maguire, a sports agent with only one client, the unpredictable Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.).
Jerry has to work hard at his job, eventually starting his own business. He is often successful, requiring team leaders to “show me the money”. However, he wonders if he should give up his career for the love of his life, single mom Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger). Jerry could give up anything he’s ever known, but that’s okay. After all, he said to Dorothy, “You complete me.”
1 Brian’s Song (1971) – 7.6
TV movies don’t usually stand out, but the 1971 drama, Brian’s song, is one of the best TV movies ever made. Based on a true story, the film, set in the mid-1960s, tells the story of Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams).
While the NFL was still mostly segregated back then, the players form a close bond despite their social barriers. The players become brothers and they are united through their trials, including when Piccolo dies of cancer. Although the film focuses on football, it’s really all about friendship and racial barriers. Take the handkerchiefs with this film.
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