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Backstage News

I’ve been a big sports fan all my life. Growing up in New York City, there wasn’t much grass around, so most of our athletics were played on concrete. But that didn’t matter to us. We always found a way to play baseball, stickball, touch football, street hockey, and, of course, basketball. So, it stands to reason that I’m also a big fan of sports films. With that in mind, here are my recommendations for some inspiring football movies to fire you up for the big game.

Football Movies Based On True Stories Are Most Inspiring

The football movies that immediately come to mind when pondering this topic are based on truly inspiring personal stories. These are the most emotional and memorable. You’ll notice when you scroll down for my suggestions, the “based on a true story” theme is very prevalent. Certainly, that was not my original intention. However, it turns out that the majority of my list of inspiring football movies is based on reality.

Now, I’m sure you have a favorite football movie that is not present on my list. I must admit that I haven’t watched every football flick released in theaters. I certainly haven’t had time to watch every gridiron film that is streaming on all the different entertainment platforms available to us these days. So, I’m basing my list solely on the football movies I love watching over and over. Feel free to disagree.

Gridiron Films That Get An Honorable Mention

Furthermore, there are some football films I really enjoy watching which do not make the top seven. For example, “Brian’s Song.” That is the first football movie I remember watching as a youngster. It’s a very emotional and sad story. However, it certainly doesn’t get me “fired up” for exciting football action.

Another funny football flick that just misses making the top seven list is “The Longest Yard.” This 1974 Burt Reynolds film features many former NFL and college football players in the cast. There are certainly lots of laughs if you don’t mind crudeness. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for family movie night.

So, now you know the types of films I’m including in my top seven. I’m sure your top seven list will look different. But I’m also sure there are a few titles in here on which we can both agree. Have fun watching the big game this year!

  • 7) "Invincible"

    Just imagine a 30-year old bartender who had only played one season of high school football having the audacity to tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team. Preposterous right? Well, it actually happened, and he actually made the team. He played for the Eagles from 1976 to 1978. “Invincible” stars Mark Wahlberg as that 30-year old bartender, Vince Papale.

  • 6) "Friday Night Lights"

    Billy Bob Thornton stars as Coach Gary Gaines in the high school football drama “Friday Night Lights.” This 2004 release won an ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie. It portrays the pressures of coaching and playing for a Texas high school football team that is expected to make a run for a state championship title. It is based on the true story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers in Odessa, Texas. In 2006, the television series “Friday Night Lights” premiered on NBC.

  • 5) "Any Given Sunday"

    An incredible all-star cast of actors and actresses were featured in this 1999 football drama. Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, and Aaron Eckhart. Even NFL Hall of Famers such as Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor have juicy roles in this film. It’s an intense, gritty, action-packed movie, directed by Oliver Stone. Once again, this one is not suitable for kids.

  • 4) "The Blind Side"

    Star actress Sandra Bullock would win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in this inspiring film. “The Blind Side” also stars country music star Tim McGraw as Bullock’s husband Sean Tuohy. Relatively unknown actor Quinton Aaron does an exceptional job as the main character, Robert Oher, upon whose life this film is based.

  • 3) "We Are Marshall"

    The biggest tragedy in college football history is chronicled in this 2006 film. The Marshall University college football team, coaches, staff members, athletic boosters, and the airplane crew were killed in a plane crash. 75 people in all perished on that tragic flight back home to Huntington, West Virginia in 1970. What does a college football program do after a tragedy of this magnitude? What do the townspeople of Huntington do after so many of their loved ones and friends are lost in one night. This movie tells that story. Matthew McConaughey stars as head coach Jack Lengyel, who is hired to restart the football program. A very emotional film that’s worth watching

  • 2) "Remember The Titans"

    I absolutely love this movie. It’s a fantastic cast. The football action is realistic. The story is dramatic, emotional, and inspiring. Once again, this film is based on the true story of racial tensions at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1971, African-American football coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington, takes over the program. Actor Will Patton plays the white assistant coach Bill Yoast, who had hoped to get the head coaching position. These two coaches have to come together and find a way to integrate the team, which had previously been comprised of only white players. Another flick worth watching again if you haven’t seen it in a while.

  • 1) "Rudy"

    If you don’t get emotional during the final scenes of the movie “Rudy,” you’re dead inside. I’m not a very emotional person normally, but this movie gets me every time. Sean Astin stars as Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a decent high school football player from a small Illinois steel town, who dreams of playing for the University of Notre Dame. You’ll also notice two current movie stars who got their first screen roles in this 1993 film. Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. “Rudy” is ranked as the 54th most inspiring movie of all time by the American Film Institute. That’s not just football movies or sports movies, but ALL movies. “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!!” Enjoy!

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