Craving a good sports-related movie or TV show that you can devour? Wonderwall.com has you covered! We've rounded up some of our favorite films and series that center around everything from football to gymnastics. First up is the amazingly binge-worthy Netflix show "Cheer," which gave viewers in-depth look at the world of competitive cheerleading when it debuted in 2020. The addictive documentary series follows cheerleaders from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, and shows the trials and tribulations they experience on the way to the National Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. The series became a phenomenon after its release — the real-life cheerleaders became stars in their own right, appearing on programs like "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in the aftermath of the show's success. Keep reading for more great sports-related content…
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If you're looking for a flick about football, "Remember the Titans" is widely considered the best football movie ever made. The film is based on the true story of African American coach Herman Boone (played by Denzel Washington) and his attempt to integrate the T.C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971. It was released in 2000 to rave reviews, and as audiences embraced the heartwarming story, it earned more than $136 million on a $30 million budget.
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"Coach Carter" is widely considered to be like "Remember the Titans," only centered around basketball instead of football. The 2004 film stars Samuel L. Jackson as the tough coach tasked with running a difficult team. It's based on the real-life story of Ken Carter who famously suspended his undefeated team for their poor grades. It ultimately earned $76 million worldwide and received great reviews. (And it scores bonus points for featuring a young Channing Tatum!)
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1996 gave us the gift of "Space Jam." This live-action/animated hybrid movie brought basketball superstar Michael Jordan to the big screen in a fictionalized version of his 1993 NBA retirement and subsequent 1995 comeback. It also includes the cast of Looney Tunes and appearances by sports legends and actors like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Bill Murray. The flick is a wonderfully wacky trip, and fans appreciated the unique take — it grossed more than $230 million worldwide and became the highest grossing basketball movie ever.
"Field Of Dreams" is one of the most beloved films about baseball ever made. The 1989 movie stars Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who constructs a baseball field that becomes inhabited by the ghosts of great former players. Not only was the film adored by audiences, but it charmed critics and picked up three Academy Award nominations.
2000's "Bring It On" remains one of the most famous cheerleading films thanks to its hilarious take on the competitive cheer world. Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union star as captains of rival squads that go up against one another at the national championships. This teen comedy earned an impressive $90 million at the box office and became an instant cult classic that spawned five sequels.
2000 also gave us a classic film about ballet — "Center Stage." Like "Bring It On," the movie centers around competitive teens. It features a group of young dancers enrolled at the fictional American Ballet Academy in New York City. Amanda Schull and Zoe Saldana star in the project, which highlights some of the darker sides of professional ballet.
"Bull Durham" was ranked No. 1 on Sports Illustrated's list of the greatest sports movies of all time! The 1988 film starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins follows a veteran catcher tasked with teaching a rookie pitcher the art of the game in preparation for the major leagues, all while both are distracted by a gorgeous baseball groupie. It grossed more than five times its $9 million budget at the box office, earning $50.8 million worldwide.
Dwayne Johnson starred on HBO's comedy-drama series "Ballers," which gave viewers a unique peek into the world of the NFL. His character, Spencer, is a former NFL star who's now working as a financial manager for other NFL players. Many have likened it to a sports version of "Entourage." It debuted in 2015 and wrapped up its fifth and final season in 2019.
Soccer takes center stage in 2002's "Bend It Like Beckham." The sweet romantic comedy stars Parminder Nagra as a young woman bucking her parents' traditions by playing football (or soccer to us Americans!). She joins a local women's team and discovers her love for the sport in a touching story that earned $76 million at the box office and became the highest grossing film to focus on association football. Keira Knightley also stars in this heartwarming flick.
2007's "The Blind Side" is a football film that will tug at your heartstrings. The 2007 biopic follows NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron) and his unconventional path to the pros as he's adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Tim McGraw and Sandra Bullock). This beloved movie earned $300 million at the box office and earned Sandra a best actress Academy Award.
1992's "White Men Can't Jump" stars Wesley Snipes as Sidney Deane and Woody Harrelson as Billy Hoyle, two talented basketball players-turned-hustlers who use the sport to take in money from players who underestimate them. Fans adored the '90s sports flick, which earned $90 million worldwide to become the 16th-highest grossing film of that year.
Kids and sports are a winning combination — so 1993's "The Sandlot" obviously makes the list! The flick about a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962 delivers plenty of laughs too as viewers follow their lives that season. It not only became a cult classic but earned $34 million globally.
"GLOW" on Netflix centers around women's wrestling in the '80s. Though even for the wrestling illiterate, the show still manages to hook viewers as it covers the relationships between the women on the team who are played by actresses like Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie. It's currently scheduled to return for its fourth and final season in 2020.
If you want a funny football flick, look no further than 1998's "The Waterboy"! The Adam Sandler film centers around football while providing plenty of laughs — it's one of the comedian's most hilarious movies. It follows Adam's character Bobby Boucher, the 31-year-old waterboy for the University of Louisiana football team who suddenly transforms into a star linebacker. The flick was an instant hit, earning $186 million at the box office before it became a comedy classic.
In 2000, we got the perfect mix of romance and sports with "Love & Basketball." The film starred Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as childhood sweethearts and neighbors who are simultaneously pursuing basketball careers. It earned $27 million in the States to become the ninth-highest grossing basketball film.
Figure skating isn't the most popular sport to feature in the entertainment world, but Netflix debuted "Spinning Out" in 2020 to fill the void. This soapy drama stars Kaya Scodelario as Kat Baker, a skater who had a major injury but gets the chance to return to the ice as a pairs skater. Despite cultivating a fanbase on the streaming service, the show was canceled after its first season, but those fans have taken to social media to push for a second season.
This flick was so great, it spawned a TV series with the same name (which we'll get to next)! "Friday Night Lights" is a 2004 film that centered around Coach Gary Gaines (played by Billy Bob Thornton) and his players on the high school football team in Odessa, Texas. The film did well at the box office, earning $62 million, and picked up several accolades including an ESPY Award for best sports movie.
High school football takes on a starring role on "Friday Night Lights," the beloved TV show inspired by the 2004 flick of the same name. Fans loved watching the drama that centered around the coaches, players, cheerleaders and families obsessed with the sport in a tiny Texas town. The NBC series premiered in 2006 and concluded in 2011 after five seasons.
Would you like to enjoy a baseball flick with a side of eye candy? Then check out "Moneyball," Brad Pitt's 2011 film about Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his attempts to assemble a winning team on a shoestring budget. "Moneyball" wasn't just a hit at the theaters — it earned $110 million worldwide — but also a hit with critics. It earned six Academy Award nominations (including best picture, best actor for Brad and best supporting actor for Jonah Hill).
Not many sports films can boast the kind of critical acclaim that 1974's "The Longest Yard" received. Considered one of the best football films of all time, it stars Burt Reynolds as a former NFL player who recruits a group of prisoners to play football against their guards. The '70s flick featured real-life football players and was actually shot at a real prison in Georgia, helping add to the authenticity. And while it raked in $43 million on a $2.9 million budget, it also earned something money can't buy — a best picture Golden Globe Award.
"Billy Elliot" brought a fresh ballet perspective to the big screen. Ths film takes place in England in the '80s and centers around a young boy who discovers a passion for ballet. Jamie Bell played the 11-year-old title character in the 2000 flick, which went on to earn three Academy Award nominations and spawn a novel and musical that hit the West End in 2005 and Broadway in 2008.
For those who'd like a good cry with their sports flick, might we suggest "Rudy"? The 1993 biopic starring Sean Astin follows the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a man who dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite significant obstacles. The beloved flick was named one of the 25 best sports films of the last 25 years by ESPN in 2004.
There's no crying in baseball! We learned that valuable lesson in 1992's "A League of Their Own," which tells the story of a team of players in the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, one of the first professional women's leagues in the United States. Not only did it have a touching storyline but it was packed with an impressive cast that included Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell and Lori Petty. It also filled a major void by centering around women in a sport that's not traditionally associated with females. It earned $132 million against its $40 million budget.
Boxing got the Hollywood treatment in 2004's "Million Dollar Baby." Hilary Swank stars as an amateur boxer trying to go pro under the tutelage of a trainer played by Clint Eastwood. The tale captivated audiences and critics alike. It won four Academy Awards — including best picture and best actress for Hilary Swank — and earned $216 million at the box office.
"Coach" starring Craig T. Nelson, whose character coached a fictional college's football team, ran for an impressive nine seasons from 1989 to 1997. Craig even picked up a best actor Emmy in 1992 for his work on this popular ABC series.
There's a reason "Black Swan" earned five Academy Award nominations and more than $329 million worldwide. This 2010 psychological thriller that delved into the world of professional ballet centered around the New York City Ballet company's production of "Swan Lake" and followed Natalie Portman's character Nina's journey as the star of the show. It's certainly one of the darker films on the list, but Natalie's performance was so incredible that she took home an Academy Award for best actress.
When "Varsity Blues" hit theaters in 1999, it packed a double punch with two big heartthrobs of the era — Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek — while also telling a heartfelt story about football. The movie, which centers around a high school football team in a football-obsessed Texas town, wasn't necessarily a hit with critics, but audiences loved this teen drama, helping it earn $52 million against a $16 million budget.
Back in 2009, "Make It or Break It," which focused on teen gymnasts attempting to make it to the Olympics, premiered on ABC Family. This comedy-drama that showcased the ups and downs in the world of gymnastics — from eating disorders to abuse — aired its final episode in 2012.
1994's "Little Giants" put Pee-Wee football in the spotlight. The film, which stars Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill as brothers who also happen to be coaching rival Pee-Wee football teams in Ohio, ended up turning into somewhat of a cult classic.