The 5 best football films of all time, ranked

Major League Baseball may bill itself as “America’s pastime,” but sports fans know it was surpassed in popularity by NFL football decades ago. Football can be a cutthroat competition, but it has captured the hearts of sports fans across the country. This is why football films have been a part of cinema for a very long time.

In selecting the best football films, we decided to focus on films where football is a central part of the story. Movies like Jerry Maguire, which features football as a background element, did not make the cut. And if you already love sports movies, you won’t be too shocked by this choice. These are the five best football movies of all time.

5. Friday Night Lights (2004)

Universal pictures

The small town’s passion for football is off the charts. Friday night lights. Odessa, Texas, does not have its own professional football team, so the city treats high school football games with extreme respect. Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) and his Permian High Panthers team face enormous pressure to not only win the regular season, but also capture the state title.

The Panthers’ championship dreams were dealt a major blow early in the season when star running back James “Boobie” Miles (Derek Luke) went down with an injury. Quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black) and backup running back Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young) are ready to save the season. But some of the kids on this team are going to have to really understand the outsized importance of football in their lives and what they really want to do outside of games.

Rent or buy Friday night lights on Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube and Apple TV+.

4. Longest Yard (1974)


There is a 2005 remake. Longest yard starring Adam Sandler, but the original 1974 film is still the better of the two films. Burt Reynolds leads the cast as Paul “Wrecking” Crew, a former NFL quarterback who has fallen from grace. After Crewe is kicked out of the league for dropping points, he gets into even more trouble and ends up in prison for 18 months. This gives prison warden Rudolf Hazen (Eddie Albert) the idea to have Crew lead a team of prisoner players against a squad of guards led by Wilhelm Knauer (Ed Lauter), captain of the prison guard.

Despite some initial setbacks, Crewe manages to assemble a team that includes Samson (James Bond’s Jaws, Richard Kiel), Nate Scarborough (Michael Conrad) and “Granny” Granville (Harry Caesar). What Crew doesn’t initially realize is that Hazen and Knauer have no intention of playing fair with their fellow inmates. And they expect Crewe to throw the game away so they can win easily.

Look Longest yard on Paramount+.

3. Remember the Titans (2000)


Denzel Washington stars Remember the Titans, a film based on the true story of how the T.C. Williams High School football team was racially integrated in 1971. The school’s previous football coach, Bill Yoast (Will Patton), was forced to leave in favor of black coach Herman Boone (Washington). Although Boone is initially reluctant to take on the assignment, he agrees to take it upon himself and even invites Yoast to remain on the team as its defensive coordinator.

The players are slow to get along, especially captains Julius Campbell (Wood Harris) and Gerry Berthier (Ryan Hurst). But under the leadership of Boone and Yoast, the team comes together for an epic run that will earn them a place in school history and immortality on the big screen.

Look Remember the Titans on Disney+.

2. Rudy (1993)

TriStar Pictures

Story Rudy may take extreme liberties with the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, but it’s such a great film that few will care whether it bends the truth in favor of an inspiring narrative. In the early 1970s, Rudy (Sean Astin) is devastated by the death of his best friend and the realization that he may never escape his father’s life as a steel mill worker. That’s why Rudy risks everything to achieve his dream of playing football at Notre Dame.

Easier said than done, especially since Rudy has no grades or money for college. But with the help of his friend Dennis “D-Bob” McGowan (Jon Favreau) and handsome boss Fortune (Charles S. Dutton), Rudy finds a way in and eventually joins Notre Dame’s practice squad. After this, Rudy faces an uphill battle to get on the field before his time in college is over.

Look Rudy on Hulu.

1. Any Sunday (1999)

Pictures of Warner Bros.

Any Sunday It’s probably not the NFL’s favorite movie because it shows the dark side of both the game and the business. But it is the best football movie ever made and one of Oliver Stone’s greatest films. Al Pacino plays the role of Tony D’Amato, who was the head coach of the Miami Sharks for 30 years. However, Tony’s reign appears to be coming to an end as team owner Christina Pagnacci (Cameron Diaz) is actively trying to oust him.

Sharks defenseman Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid) faces similar pressure as his playing career comes to an end. When Rooney is injured on the field, third-string defender Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx) is called upon to lead the team to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Beaman’s early success has gone to his head, and his ego is destroying the team’s unity just when they need to come together.

Rent or buy Any Sunday on Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube and Apple TV+.

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