Sports movies have a long history of capturing the imaginations of audiences and inspiring them like few other genres can. Movies about football are no exception. Many films based on America’s most loved game have entertained audiences and brought new meaning to the game by showing how it can bring people together and make them better. The following films are some of the most popular and highly regarded football movies of all time.
The original “Brian’s Song” was made in 1971. The film was remade in 2001, but it could not match the greatness of the original. This film is based on true events and follows two teammates, Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, as they overcome obstacles to become close friends. However, things take a turn away from football when Piccolo discovers he has cancer. This film is one that will stay with you long after your viewing.
“Remember the Titans”
This film stars Denzel Washington as the coach of a high school football team in Virginia. He is hired to replace a highly successful white coach at a newly integrated school. The story follows him and the team as they work through their first year. This film is also based on a true story and shows how the team became a unifier in a divided community.
“Rudy” is another inspiring football movie. It stars Sean Astin before his days playing a hobbit in “Lord of the Rings.” In the film, Astin plays Rudy, who wants nothing more than to play football at Notre Dame and faces several challenges in achieving that goal. He is too small, and his grades are not up to the level of the university. However, Rudy has more drive and determination than the other players. Nothing will keep him from achieving his goal.
While many people might not view “Jerry Maguire” as much of a football movie, it does reveal much of what the business side of the game has become. It stars Hollywood heavyweights such as Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renee Zellweger. The story follows Jerry Maguire, a successful agent representing NFL players. One day he has an epiphany and loses his job when he expresses it, but he proceeds to continue his career with the only player who remains loyal to him. There is not a great deal of football action in the film, but the slight look into what goes on behind the scenes in the NFL is fascinating.
“Friday Night Lights”
“Friday Night Lights” is based on a best-selling novel of the same name and became a television show as well. The film is centered on the town of Odessa, Texas. The town is divided and has a struggling economy, but there is something that brings everyone together: high school football. The town’s high school team, the Permian Panthers, has a long history of successful games. The new season looks bright, but the school’s star running back suffers a horrible injury in the first game of the season causing everyone to lose hope. The coach manages to rally his team and leads them to an improbable victory.
Yet another film based on a true story, “We Are Marshall” tells the story of what happened after a plane crash took the lives of many of the football players and several fans from Marshall University. Obviously, the following season is threatened by this tragedy, but a player who was ill and missed the flight, along with students, tries to persuade the university’s leaders to play the season. The school must find a coach willing to take the job. The coach must then find enough players to field a team. This film shows us what football can do to help lift people up above what they believe they are capable of.
Another football film based on a true story, “Invincible” lets us all live the dream that we could be playing in the NFL too. Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale. He is down on his luck and has just learned that he is being laid off from his job due to budget cuts. His wife leaves him. He takes work as a bartender, but his life changes when he hears that his hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles, will be holding open tryouts. At first, he is reluctant, but he tries out and makes the team, which leads to a three-year career in the NFL.