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My Favorite Football Movies

Rudy (1993)

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger wanted to play football at Notre Dame more than anything. Unfortunately, he didn't have the size, the skills, or the grades. All he had was desire and determination. Based on a true story. 

The Express (2008)

The true story of running back Ernie Davis from Syracuse University, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961.

Paper Lion (1968)

Alan Alda, Lauren Hutton and Alex Karras star in the movie version of the George Plimpton book. A lot of actual Detroit Lions players and coaches are featured as themselves. The book, as always, was even better.

Jim Thorpe, All American (1951)

Burt Lancaster stars in the true story of the man whose statue graces the entrance of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Some great footage of the way the game was played in its early days.

Knute Rockne, All American (1940)

The story of legendary Notre Dame football coach, Knute Rockne, played by Pat O'Brien. Future President Ronald Regan plays George Gipp, a.k.a. The Gipper.

We Are Marshall (2006)

Mathew McConaughey stars in the story of the Marshall University football team that was rebuilt following a plane crash in 1970 that took the lives of 75 players, coaches and others. 

Leatherheads (2008)

Inspired by the story of Ernie Nevers and the 1926 Duluth Eskimos of the NFL, this movie stars George Clooney, Renee Zellwiger and John Krasinski. A lot of great football scenes are recreated from the days when leather helmets were the uniform of the day in football.

The Freshman (1925)

This 1925 silent movie (yes, I said silent movie) stars comedian Harold Lloyd as a naive young man who goes off to college. He wants to be popular and figures the best way to do that is to be on the football team. There is a lot of great footage of how the game of football was played back then. 

The Blind Side (2009)

Sandra Bullock and country singer Tim McGraw star in this true story of a white family who takes in a homeless black teenager. Michael Oher goes on to be a star in college football and then is drafted by the NFL.  

Jerry McGuire (1996)

After reevaluating his priorities and writing a "mission statement", a sports agent (Tom Cruise) gets fired from his job with a large company. He forms his own agency and starts over with only one client. A brash wide receiver (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who will show him what is truly important in life.

Remember the Titans (2000)

When an all white high school with a winning football program is segregated in 1971 Virginia, the coach of 15 years is demoted and a black football coach (played by Denzel Washington) is hired. The town puts aside its racial differences as it rallies around the team as it heads for the state championship game. Based on a true story.

The Replacements (2000)

Loosely based on the strike shortened NFL season on 1982, Keanu Reeves plays a quarterback trying to lead a team of replacement players in a pro football league. John Madden and Pat Summerall appear as themselves.

The Waterboy (1998)

Adam Sandler plays the dim witted waterboy of a college football team. He eventually becomes a star player when the team's coach, played by Henry Winkler, shows him how to unleash his suppressed rage on opposing teams.

Code Breakers (2005)

A made-for-ESPN movie about the cheating scandal at West Point in the 1950's involving a number of the football players who subsequently resigned from the military academy. Based on a true story.

Quarterback Princess (1985)

(Made for TV Movie) A high school girl, played by Helen Hunt, becomes the quarterback of the high school football team. Based on a true story.

The Best of Times (1986)

Robin Williams and Kurt Russell star as a couple of former high school football players who still live in the small town where they grew up. They arrange to play a rematch with their old football rivals to avenge a humiliating defeat that still haunts them. 

Second String (2002)

This made for TNT movie stars Jon Voight as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. When the entire first sting of players wind up in the hospital with food poisoning, the team must rely on a band of second string misfits as they head into the playoffs. Cameos by Doug Flutie and Mike Ditka.

Grambling's White Tiger (1981)

A made for TV movie starring Bruce Jenner, LeVar Burton and Harry Belafonte as Grambling coach Eddie Robinson. It tells the true story of quarterback Jim Gregory, who tries to become the first white player on the all-black football team. 

Big Fan (2009)

This dark comedy stars Patton Oswalt as an obsessed football fan whose life revolves around the New York Giants and calling a late-night sports-talk radio show. The movie is Rated R and contains a lot of explicit language, so this is not one for young kids.

Trouble Along the Way (1953)

John Wayne stars as a disgraced college football coach who gets a second chance when he takes on a new job, coaching at a small Catholic college. But his methods of recruiting and rebuilding the football team get him into trouble once again. Also stars Donna Reed.  

Crazylegs (1953)

The story of Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch, a star halfback in college at Wisconsin and Michigan, who went on to play in the NFL for the Chicago Rockets and the Los Angeles Rams. Hirsch stars as himself in the movie and so do may of his Rams team mate including quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. All football game footage used in the film is actual college and NFL game footage that Hisrch is featured in. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

The Dropkick (1927)

A silent movie about a college football player accused of killing his coach, who actually committed suicide. A young John Wayne appears in one of his first ever movies in an un-credited role as one of the football players. A great 1920s style football game is played at the end of the movie.

John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1965)

A downed U-2 pilot i captured and must coach a misfit football team from a fictional middle eastern country against Notre Dame. Stars Shirley MacLaine, Peter Ustinov, Richard Crenna, Jim Backus and Harry Morgan.

Movies for the kids

Little Giants (1994)

The Disney movie about a pee wee football team of misfits. Cameos by John Madden, Emmett Smith and Bruce Smith. Stars Ed O'Neil and Rick Moranis.

Gus (1976)

Disney movie about a field goal kicking mule who plays for the mythical NFL team, the Atoms. Stars Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Ed Asner, Bob Crane, Tom Bosley, Johnny Unitas, Dick Butkus and Dick Enberg. 

Air Bud - Golden Receiver (1998)

Disney movie about a football playing dog. Cameos by Tim Conway, Dick Martin, and NFL players Warren Moon and Joey Galloway.  

Worst Football Movies EVER

Back on Campus (1975)

I dare you to sit through this whole movie. A 56-year-old man, who still has one year of college football eligibility left, returns to Ohio State and wants to be the kicker on the football team. He invents a special kicking shoe that allows him to kick 60 and 70-yard field goals. This movie stars many people you have never heard of before. Sportscaster Tom Harmon does appears in the film (and probably wishes he hadn’t). Filmed on the Ohio State campus, the team plays fictional teams like North Western and the Fighting Tigers of Motor Dame. Some actual OSU game footage is used. The original title was “The Greatest Kicker in the World.” Bad acting, bad editing, bad everything, bad movie.