REMEMBER THE TITANS (2000)
Pretty typical inspirational sports film. In this movie, a high school football team serves as a microcosm of the racial tensions throughout the country as schools begin to integrate. Denzel Washington is a coach from out of town who is given the head coaching job as part of an affirmative action plan. The local townsfolk don’t take too kindly to this nor do the white athletes. This film showcases the importance of teamwork and dedication that makes football (and America) great.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY (1999)
This one is a no brainer. Al Pacino is an aging head coach losing control of his franchise. The owner is played by Cameron Diaz who is all about modernizing the team and helping Pacino on his way out the door. A curveball comes in the form of a third string QB with a lot of talent (and attitude to match) played by Jamie Foxx. Foxx and Pacino forge an unlikely partnership and propel the team to success. Look for an appearance by James Woods as the sleazy team doc, and Dennis Quaid as the over-the-hill starting QB. This is a staple of American sports movies and not one to pass up.
This film tells the story of the season when the Philadelphia Eagles help open tryouts, trying to recruit whatever talent they could. It’s also the first season Dick Vermeil acts as head coach of the team. Great performances from Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, and Elizabeth Banks. What also makes this film stand out is that it set in the 1970’s so the soundtrack is fantastic. It’s a great uplifting story of how a regular joe can become somebody and overcome all of the adversity he has faced in his life.
WE ARE MARSHALL (2006)
Centered around a national tragedy, this film once again showcases the uplifting and motivational power that a simple sport can have. When the vast majority of the football team at Marshall University is killed in a horrific plane crash, the town is left devastated and unwilling to move on. Thanks to an out-of-town coach played by Matthew McConaughey, the town is slowly but surely rallied around the team as a source of hope and an image for moving on. McConaughy has some great one-liners and the film has some truly emotional moments.
One of the all-time greats. Rudy showcases the stubborn dedication and optimism of a small, small town boy. He competes to make his way into the school he has always wanted to go to. He works hard and puts his nose to the grindstone to get into the team, but it isn’t enough. Rudy goes his entire career without ever dressing for a game. The film showcases character, adversity, and sheer mental and physical determination. It shows how much a simple sport can mean to someone and how much they are willing to do to make their dreams come true.
What are some of your favorite football films?