The 10 Best Sports Scenes in Movie History

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Last year, shortly after I started writing for Midwest Sports Fans, I wrote a fun little post called “The 10 Most Unrealistic Sports Scenes in Movie History.”

It struck a chord with many readers (there are something like 395 comments on the article, most of them criticizing me for my omission of the Rocky movies and my inclusion of the Karate Kid crane kick, but many others mentioning great ones I left out), so I decided to revisit the union between sports and cinema.

With Moneyball nominated for 6 Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Actor for Brad Pitt), this is a perfect time to take a look at the sports scenes in movies that were done remarkably well.

jimmy-chitwood-ill-make-it

Jimmy Chitwood calling his shot in Hoosiers is, of course, on the list - the question is how high?

Related: the 10 most memorable March Madness moments of all-time. These weren’t movie scenes, but they could have been…

Best Scenes In Movie History Ground Rules

As always, there are some rules here:

  • Repeat from my previous post: I have not seen every sports movie ever made.  I’ve seen a bunch, and what follows is my list.  I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.
  • The scenes I am choosing do not necessarily have to come from great movies, they only need to be great scenes.  For example, few would argue that Rocky IV was a great movie, but many would argue that the training montage is fantastic.
  • Not all of these scenes will feature actual athletic competition being portrayed on film.  The best thing about sports movies – to me, anyway – is the feeling they elicit.  I want to feel moved and inspired when I watch a sports movie.  This list is built with that as its prevailing theme.
  • Documentaries are not eligible.  If they were, I would probably just put a whole bunch of clips from Hoop Dreams and videos of the 1980′s Miami Hurricanes celebrating on here.
  • “Best” and “Unrealistic” scenes can sometimes share the same space.  It would be easy to argue, based on my previous post, that I shouldn’t allow scenes that aren’t very authentic to be included in this list.  Again, this list is based on scenes that move and inspire.

Last time, many readers did a phenomenal job of adding to my list.  I’m sure I’ll miss some this time, too, and my hope is that you all will give your personal favorites proper representation in the comments below.

On to the list:

10. Major League – Jake Taylor’s Called Shot

Major League is a sports comedy classic, and for the most part, the baseball action is halfway decent (though the same can’t be said for the sequel). My selection is for the climactic swinging bunt of journeyman backstop Jake Taylor that clinched the pennant for the downtrodden Cleveland Indians.

My favorite parts about this scene are the first baseman’s reaction to the safe call, which looks exactly how I would expect a real first baseman to react, and of course Bob Uecker’s exuberance.  Any time you combine an underdog winning with a tyrannical villain getting their comeuppance, you’re sure to have struck gold.

—–

9. He Got Game – One on One

This is one of my favorite basketball scenes ever.

Whether truth or an apocryphal story I’m not sure, but it has been said that Spike Lee wanted Jesus to win the game 11-0, only once they started playing, Denzel scored first.  Lee then told them to play it out, which actually makes sense while watching the scene.  Allen repeating “lucky” as Denzel banks in jumpers certainly feels authentic, and Denzel looks sufficiently worn out by the end.

Of course, the key to this scene is the story that surrounds it.  There are some truly poignant moments in this movie, and Spike does a great job of using basketball as the common ground between a father seeking redemption and a son hardened by the absence of his father.

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8. Miracle – U.S.A. Defeats U.S.S.R.

It’s hard to feel more patriotic as an American than when watching the U.S.A. defeat the U.S.S.R. in the 1980 Olympics.

Al Michaels’ brilliant “Do you believe in miracles” call has earned its place among the most iconic sports calls ever, and deservedly so.

The movie version did an admirable job depicting the game and the underdog spirit that the Americans possessed.  The pregame speech was in strong consideration for this spot.  Plus, Kurt Russell starred as U.S. coach Herb Brooks, and Kurt Russell stars in my favorite movie of all time – Big Trouble in Little China.

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7. Remember the Titans – Coach Yoast 

Another Denzel movie, but this time the focus is on assistant coach Yoast, who is mostly a complete bastard but comes through in this scene with a great motivational speech that inspires his defense to go out and level the offense repeatedly.

Plus, how can you pass on the namesake scene of the movie?

I especially love the part when Opie from Sons of Anarchy (Ryan Hurst) walks to the opposing sideline and just points at the evil coach of the other team while staring intensely directly into his eyes.  Even without the long hair, motorcycle and automatic weapons Hurst still cuts an imposing figure.

—–

6. Without Limits – Pre’s Last Race

Steve Prefontaine was killed in a car accident at age 24, so America was robbed of perhaps its greatest long distance runner up to that point.  “Pre” had a distinct style of running – “frontrunning,” specifically, in which he would attempt to maintain maximum speed start to finish rather than pace himself – and his legacy lives on in his attitude toward competition.

Prefontaine believed that winning without giving all you had wasn’t winning at all, that the idea of competition was to push oneself to the limits of human ability.  Prefontaine inspired millions of people to take up running, and his style, attitude, and story resonate still today.

This scene captures all of that and more.  Billy Crudup played Prefontaine exceptionally well in my opinion (and Russell in Almost Famous, too.  Why isn’t Billy Crudup a bigger name?).

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine

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About Keith Mullett

Keith is an Ohio-based sports and pop culture junkie who began writing for MSF in June 2011. His ramblings about sports, music, movies and books can be further enjoyed by following him on Twitter @keithmullett.

In addition to his work for MSF, Keith operates a blog called Commercial Grade, in which he critiques television commercials from the perspective of the average viewer.

Comments

  1. Mikebarry444 says:

    The scene in Victory when Stallone saves the PK thanks to a hint from the kicker.

  2. “Field of Dreams”, final scene–sun going down and estranged son asks his dad if he wants to “have a catch”?  All ways chokes me up (especially for guys who’s fathers are no longer with us).

    • Field of Dreams was very close to making the list.  Definitely a favorite of mine, good call.

    • God I cry every time

    • That’s my favorite, too. A different kind of scene, to be sure, but it sure brings home the point that, in sports, who wins and who loses is not the most important thing.

    • BigRed47 says:

      I took my Dad to that movie when it was at the theatre. It was the last movie that my father and I saw together. It definitely chokes me up when I see that scene and even chokes me up now as I write this.

    • Edog6662 says:

      All the fighting and hard feelings towards my dad are instantly replaced by love and fond rememberance whenever I hear,” Hey dad. You want to have a catch?”

  3. Missing the best sports ever….Leslie Nielsen as the home plate umpire in Naked Gun!

  4. Rpetersonoo4 says:

    “For Love of the Game”…Billy Chapel, facing the end of his career, digging deep for the perfect game, facing his old friend and the new kid…..

  5. Jeffchstrfld says:

    I’m with the previous comment – “Field of Dreams” – The whole far out thing comes down to him having a catch with his Father!

  6. Roy Hobbs game winning HR at the end of The Natural

  7. George Press says:

    Probably the most underrated baseball movie ever made, “Long Gone” with a younger William Berringer from CSI. The minor league Tampico Stoogies ballclub. Berringer’s character explains how he just missed making it to the St. Louis Cardinals after WW II because of a left handed hitter with a funny peakapoo batting style (Stan “The Man” Musial). Also a great turn in the movie by a young Virginia Madsen as “Dixie Lee Box”. To me, this movie was far superior to Bull Durham which gets a lot more hype.  Also best sporting reference, Brando in the car with his brother Rod Steiger in “On The Waterfront”, “I could have been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, not a bum. You were my brother, you should have looked out for me”.

  8. AussiePhil says:

    Final play in Rudy

  9. Interesting read thanks – being an Aussie had to throw in a couple of non-baseball ones – Chariots of Fire, Invictus.  I also love Al Pacino’s final scene in Any Given Sunday.  

  10. Adding to the non-US views: Field of Dreams and Chariots of Fire.  Probably a few others as well.

  11. Coachmo4040 says:

    As a double digit handicap golfer who thinks he can make any shot, I love the scene in Tin Cup where Roy McElvoy tries continuously to hit the ball over the water hazard on his second shot on the 18th hole. I have thought of that scene many times when I have been on the golf course.    

  12. The Hanson Bothers first shift for the Chiefs in Slapshot. How could you not have something from Slapshot on your list?

    • This is not something I’m proud of, but I’ve never seen Slapshot all the way through, only bits and pieces.  I have no excuse for myself.  Thanks for posting, and I hope you enjoyed the article!

  13. My top movie is “The Natural”  THE HR :)

  14. Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech in Pride of the Yankees… classic

  15. I didn’t add a link to see a particular scene, but you may want to watch “The Greatest Game Ever Played”.  I have 3 favorite scenes!  Can’t decide which is the best!

  16. excoachken says:

    Robert Redford’s home run in The Natural. Best ever!!!!!!

    • Absolutely  #1

    • I know it’s not fair, but I always hold the ending of book against the movie.  I just liked the book so much better.  

      • Leave out ‘The Natural’ scene because you liked the book ending better?  Did you somehow forget the title of your article? What you would be a ‘natural’ at is political  journalism, not anything about sports or movies. 

        • Barules79 says:

          Ditto Fred.  I once had to call into a radio station that had just awarded a prize for a Screen Test answer (“Roy Hobbs was from Nebraska”) and remind them that the MOVIE never said where he was from.  Maybe in the book (never read it myself), but don’t call it “Screen Test” if it ain’t on the screen!  Same goes here…does anybody quote lines from the BOOK “The Godfather”?

    • definitely this one should have made it. as soon as I read the title to the article I pictured this seen in my head and expected to find it somewhere on the list

  17. Not having Eric Liddle and the final race of Chariots of Fire in the top 3 of this list, (let alone ON this list) is a travesty of the highest magnitude.

    • Radnynow says:

      Great scence indeed.  My favorite scene, and this coming fron a totally non-religious person, might be the scene where Liddle tells his sister “but he also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”  That scene ties in so strongly with everything else in the movie.  It also descibes the feeling some of us old tracksters felt when we laced ‘em up and competed.

  18. al pacino’s halftime speech in any given sunday

  19. Facing Giants – bear crawl scene is off the charts…the movie was not that well acted, but this scene is incredibly inspirational to me.

    For Love of the Game – many different scenes

  20. There isn’t a fight scene in ANY of the ‘Rocky’ movies that borders on realistic. With the brutal pounding Balboa takes in these bouts, any referee would stop these fights long before Rocky pulls off a heroic comeback.

    • Curadhan says:

      No way, Rocky said “Don’t stop nuthin’…don’t stop nuthin’”  He would never have LET that ref stop THAT fight!

  21. The pick-up game in The SandLot reminds me of my youth when we could round up a dozen or so kids in the neighborhood and play ball.  Try doing that now.  Love the post game celebration at the fair with the Big Chief chewing tobacco.

  22. WrestlerDad says:

    Vision Quest -  Louden defeats Shute in the final seconds with an over-under hip toss..

  23. You forgot the 1993 football movie “The Program”.

  24. Secretariate!?!  Vision Quest!?! Brians Song!!! Just to start. All had exceptional sceens.  I agree with some of the choices especialy  with Pre and the inspriation they have given. I look for movies that have overcome great odds to accomplish the dream, thus motivating the individual to keep striving.

  25. Hoosierteebie says:

    Field of Dreams, the catch scene, should’ve been number 1…but seeing Without Limits on the list was a pleasant surprise!! He Got Game definitely deserves to be on here as well.

  26. Rudy the rabbit winning the cross country race in Meatballs

  27. Anyone remember “Breaking Away” and the the bike race? Or, Gayle Sayers speech in “Brians Song”?

    • I’ve had a bunch of friends suggest Breaking Away’s final scene, but I’m sorry to say I haven’t seen the movie.  I will definitely check it out.  Thanks for stopping by Midwest Sports Fans!

    • Those were the two that I was thinking of — especially for a website for Midwest Sports Fans, those are musts since they’re set in Bloomington IN and Chicago.   “Breaking Away” is a gem, one of the best depictions of a small town and town-gown tensions that I’ve seen plus of course the depiction of the Little 500 Bike Race.  And “Brian’s Song” has to be one of the greatest tearjerker sports movies of all time (although I haven’t see “Pride of the Yankees”).  Either Gale Sayers’ speech, or the final scene with Brian Piccolo could’ve been picked.

  28. Costner playing catch with his father in “Field of Dreams” !!!

  29. Razorback1981 says:

    Asinine

  30. The only conceivable reason this list is so horrible is to elicit responses as disgusted as the one I just posted.

  31. James Schultz says:

    Seabiscuit beating Man of War.  It seemed like the entire audience stood and applauded like they were actually at a race track.

    • Ditto for the horse race at the end of The Black Stallion. Francis Ford Coppolla at his best.

      • Curadhan says:

        Double ditto for the Belmont Stakes race in Secretariat.  Even though it is not an underdog story at all you just get the goose bumps and chills as Secretariat blows away any doubt of whether or not he was the best racehorse ever as he completes the Triple Crown beating the second horse by 21 lengths.  I got emotional watching that.  It takes a lot to make you so enthralled with the story of a horse who utterly destroyed any competition he ever had.

  32. The Hansen Brothers first shift in Slap Shot

  33. Jon Montgomery says:

    The final wrestling scene in Vision Quest where Lowden wrestles Shoot. I would also dare to say the fight with Drago in Rocky IV.

  34. USA Hockey, it’s real and happened it’s not a movie scene..We still need dreams and they lived one….

  35. The Natural. Robert Redford. Amazing!!
    The lights exploding, slow motion, “The Savoy Special” baseball bat.
    I’m not even a big baseball fan, and I tear up at that scene.
    That is easily number one for me

  36. BRIAN’S SONG-GAYLE SAYER’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH REFERRING TO BRIAN PICCOLO

  37. flitandersen says:

    Al Pacino’s “Inches” speach from “Any Given Sunday”…  #1, absolutely….

    • Curadhan says:

      “If you look at the guy to the right or left of you….I think you’re gonna find a guy…who’s willing to go that inch with ya.”  CLASSIC great movie. 

  38. I feel that an “Any Given Sunday” clip should be here.  Whether it is the scene where the football player loses an eye on the field or the Al Pacino overacting motivational speech.  Both deserve attention

  39. The Natural.  Roy Hobbs hitting the Home Run to win the pennant is just slightly ahead of Jimmy Chitwood’s winning shot.

  40. What about “There’s no crying , there’s no crying in baseball’ or, same movie, ” If it wasn’t hard then everyone would do it, it’s the hard that makes it great.”

    • Great movie, MBG. What makes me tear up every time is when those women go to Cooperstown as seniors. It is sad to see the ravages of time, but they still play with all the vigor they have.

  41. Personally I would have included the horse race at the end of The Black Stallion. Francis Ford Coppolla at his best.

  42. In the movie Raging Bull (my favorite sports movie of all time) when Jake Lamotta (Robert Dinero) challenges Sugar Ray Robinson to knock him down. Lamotta just lowered his gloves and let Robinson literally disfigure his face, but he didn’t go down. Now that was a graphic depiction of a man (crazy or not) dealing with his own personal challenge and misguided pride. Giving up on the fight just to prove he couldn’t be knocked down, even by the best.

    • Another great call.  This is why I asked for write in choices from readers.  Thanks!

    • Curadhan says:

      “Hey Ray, hey, I’m still standing Ray. Hey Ray, I never went down Ray. I never went down.” The way he said that from behind a mangled face with all the pride as though he had won the fight and Sugar Ray actually looking a little bit frightened of him rather than as a man who had just won a fight.  Great call.

  43. Skilby Dunahoe says:

    What no scenes from Vision Quest?  Sheesh!

  44. Roy Hobbs: I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book.

    Iris Gaines: And then?

     Roy Hobbs: And then? And then when I walked down the street people would’ve looked
    and they would’ve said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in
    this game. 

  45. Arturofincus says:

    “Slap Shot” is, without question, the greatest hockey movie ever made, maybe the best sports movie ever made because it is never cheesy, pedantic, or dishonest.  Forget the cartoonish elements (although they are hilarious), it’s got a soul: working-class Pennsylvania city rallies around a team that basically beats the shit out of people because that’s what they want to do.  Their frustration due to the economic situation is as real as it gets.  Paul Newman is the perfect center of this story: sad, clear-eyed, conniving, cynical, just wanting to do it all “Eddie Shore” style.  George Roy Hill also directed “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting,” “The World According to Garp,” and “Slaughterhouse-Five,” of all things.  This is every hockey player’s favorite movie and it outsold “Jaws” in Canada, which came out the same year…then again, Canadians don’t swim much.

  46. Seanthebachelor says:

    The Natural – Robert Redford has been sitting the bench until he gets his shot to prove his worth in practice while he hits home run after home run.

  47. Two great lines in that “Rocky” scene. 

    “Ain’t gonna be no rematch!”

    “Don’t want one!”

     Of course, there had to be a rematch, because there had to be a “Rocky II” but those lines summed up that fight, and the way those two guys had been beating on each other perfectly.

  48. Paul_In_LA says:

    Personally, one of my all time favorites is the last scene in The Rookie. I’m not sure it would be as heartwarming if it was just fiction, but Dennis Quaid knocked it out of the park in this part.

    • The Rookie was on my list, but I couldn’t find the clip online to post.  I guess I should have mentioned that in the article, but you’re definitely right about that movie.

  49. The scene on the mound in Bull Durham when the 1st Baseman has a hex on his glove and no one knows what to buy Billy and Millie for a wedding present.

  50. Guess you forgot all about Brians Song. Shame on you! 

  51. Loved the article, got me thinking.
    A few that would have to be on my list:
    As mentioned already, Pride of the Yankees, Field of Dreams and The Natural…all great.
    Bull Durham-Susan Sarandon seduces Tim Robbins
    The Waterboy-Adam Sandler frightens Central Kentucky quarterback
    the original The Longest Yard-Burt Reynolds takes care of Ray Nitschke.

  52. mostly because this is a true story. this little small town team beat a big power team ( my home team,muncie central bearcats in real life) that still holds the record for most state championships won!

  53. Johndoe says:

    Cinderella Man, James Braddock vs Art Lasky, the scene is so intense it’s unreal. Braddock takes a hit and it appears he’s done,but spits out blood and strikes with vengeance.

  54. Not sure you can have two scenes from the same series of movies, but the Rocky Drago fight, best scene ever.  I dare you to turn that movie off if you stumble upon it anywhere near the training sequence.  The time and place, cold war…steroids, Apollo’s death, the pre-fight stare down, they respect during the fight building.  Then Drago throwing down the Minister,  “To the End” and the knockout.  All of this shown on the USA network of all places.  And to finish it out with the fighter who just had his brains scrambled giving the most inpirarional who rah, speech that ENDED THE COLD WAR!!

    If ever a movie deserved a place in your rankings, and  a rambling paragraph…sir you have it!

  55. Above the Rim – where Leon has enough and decides to get on the court for the big game against Tupac’s team – that sequence of playground basketball was just amazing.

  56. typodrive says:

    Chariots of Fire is my favorite sports movie.  Best scene: When he falls into the infield, gets up and wins the race.

  57. all are the best movie thanks to your support pls continue what you have done

  58. Facing the Giants! Stonewall and the 51 yard field goal at the end of the State Championship football game.

  59. heatmiser says:

    Field of Dreams when the doctor walks off the field to save the little girl, knowing he can’t go back to the game……..chokes me up.

  60. The Blind Side.  During his first game, when Michael tells his coach, “I’ve got your back”, and then proceeds to demolish the defensive lineman that had been eating his lunch until then.

  61. REDDIIRTBUCKEYE says:

    DAYS OF THUNDER, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME, FIELD OF DREAMS

  62. Terryjames says:

    Come on, it’s Roy Hobbs. “Pick me out a winner, Jimmy” and then the home run. Better than Kafka’s book too.

  63. Shia LaBoeuf as Francis Ouimet in The Greatest Game Ever Played being carried off the last hole in the 1913 US Open.   Great soundtrack .   Looks down and sees the approval in his Dad’s eyes.
    Maybe not the best, but put together…pretty damn good

    • Curadhan says:

      Yeah I gotta back your election of that scene.  The way that when you won a big match everyone gave dollar bills and put them in a collection hat as a tradition….and Elia Koteas as his dad who had disapproved of his golf dreams all the time being there and holding up a dollar bill to put in his hat….wow….I get emotional now thinking about it!

  64. Bren1302 says:

    White men can’t jump- 1st scene when Billy hustles Sidney- Great scene

  65. Vision Quest, When lowden swain pins that guy at the end is awesome plus it has a great soundtrack to the movie by night ranger

  66. The Natural, Hobbs’ homerun that takes out the stadium lights. WONDERBOY

  67. Chainreader says:

    I was at Pre’s last race and in the scene of it in Without Limits.  The first time they ran the finish Billy didn’t catch up to the other actor and Shorter won.  Also the reader board orginially said G. Shorter.  It was eerie watching Crudup cause he had the mannerisms and everything of Pre down

  68. J-minard says:

    I like the clips from your choices, Keith, many of which I haven’t seen. As far as one that I definitely feel ranks at or near the top in terms of an inspirational and tear-jerking scene is the Ricky Schroeder/Jon Voigt classic, “The Champ”. The touching scene takes place in the locker after Voigt’s character takes a beating from a boxer played by Randall Tex Cobb in a match that he only fought to better his little boy’s life.  If any of you haven’t seen this great film from 1979, I urge you to check it out. If you don’t cry at the end, you have no heart.  Thanks for a great list, Keith.

  69. sportslovingbob says:

    almost anything from north dallas 40. best football/sports movie ever. nick nolte again.

  70. wlulaxman says:

    Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard is worth being on the list.

  71. djhmah6596 says:

    Hoosiers is the best sports movie ever in my opinion but the Cutting Edge and the final scene there is number two in my book.  

  72. Necessary Roughness, where Kathy Irleand kicks the field goal to tie the game and then kicks the guy and says welcome to foot balls….and its Kathy Ireland

  73. Citistructurellc says:

    Vision Quest

  74. The final race in “The Reivers” 1969 with Steve MvQueen and Will Geer.

  75. the natural  homerun when knocks out the lights

  76. Hoopster says:

    Al Pacino’s locker room  speech in Any Given Sunday has to be in the top 10!

  77. Welcome2shane says:

    I still get pumped watching Matthew Modine jump rope to Lunatic Fringe just before wrestling Shute. (Louden Swain decides he wants to be something more than an average high school athlete and sets his sights on a prize that many don’t think he can win)

  78. GeneralisEMO says:

    Breaking Away.  The scene with Dennis Christopher drafting his bike behind the semi.  It shows the sheer joy of sport and athletics, rather than the drama of competition.

  79. BigRed47 says:

    “Daddy, there is a baseball man on your field.” That is from “Field of Dreams” This was the first scene where Shoeless Joe Jackson appears in the film.

  80. BostonPete says:

    Field of dreams final scene.  Movie was so-so but know that my dad is gone it always brings a tear to my eye.  What I would not give to play caych with my dad just one more time.

    • Jerrydilk says:

      Great quote about baseball:
      Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

      • Yeah, as much as “you wanna have a catch?”, and also when Burt Lancaster saved the little girl’s life, are great scenes, that very final monologue was my favorite part of the movie … especially when the camera kept pulling back and back from the ballfield and we could see cars coming from all over as people drove to the Field of Dreams illustrating the truth of James Earl Jones’ speech.  

        And in a polar opposite of the “Most Unrealistic Sports Scenes in Movies” list, this was a case where a fictional movie created its own reality, because people ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN DRIVING to the actual field for pretty much exactly the reasons in the speech.  There are very very few movies in history that have managed to achieve that, to literally alter reality so that it matches the fiction.

        That’s why that scene deserves to be high on a list of the Top 10 Greatest Sports Scenes of all time.  The movie’s pretty good, but that final scene is transcendent.

  81. scene from Field of Dreams when he plays catch at the end with his Dad

  82. Mazco34 says:

    The opening race from “Grand Prix.”  Formula 1 and the streets of Monaco; it is still remarkable to watch.

  83. Seanzie says:

    I still listen to this speech anytime I need just that little extra kick before any game

  84. Yorb2008 says:

    How can there be no Bull Durham scenes–the conferences on the mound between Crash and Nuke are priceless.  “He did know..I told him” 

  85. The Natural, when his bat broke until he hit the homerun that hit the lights and set them off.

  86. Johndcky says:

    The HOME RUN in The Natural – Roy Hobbs hits the game winning homerun into the right field lights.  The shower of sparks and the music….that theme is played in several major league ball parks today, whenever a crucial home run is hit in a game

  87. Any given sunday speach in the locker room.

  88. The Natural: Homer hitting the lights

  89. Parman70 says:

    When Francis Ouimet beats Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, ( two best golfers in the World) in the Movie  “Greatest Game Ever Played” at the 1913 US Open golf tourney.

  90. Roy Hobb’s final at bat.

    “Dad… do you wanna have a catch?”

    Lou gehrig’s fairwell speech in pride of the yankees.

    You missed the top three.

  91. Rghedges says:

    Talk about your underdog sports moments, how about the final Olympic race in “Running Brave” where Billy Mills (Robbie Benson) wins the gold medal.  After all that this native american hero went through on his path to Rome, it is truely a moving scene.

  92. How did Rudy not make this list? Many memorable scenes, but the ending, being carried off the field by his teammates. The jersey turn-in scene ranks up there too.

  93. What about GLORY ROAD?  The story of the 1966 Texas Western college champs (mostly black athletes) beating Kentucky w/Pat Riley as player and Adolph Rupp as coach?  Best scene was just before the game the TW coach says he would rather have him than any other guard and the guard says, thanks i know he (Kentucky coach) would not say that

  94. Loueye74ff says:

    don’t forget Vision Quest

  95. Curadhan says:

    I gotta say the scene from Warrior.  I know UFC is a fairly new sport…but the last fight where the two brothers are fighting and the older one breaks the younger’s shoulder.  He comes back out to fight even though he can barely keep from passing out from the pain…and the older one is asking him what he’s doing….and then when he finally gets him in that choke hold and he is crying telling his little brother it’s okay to tap out.  THAT was a brilliant scene.  Water works going!

  96. Curadhan says:

    Boxing movies offer a lot too.  I’m thinking of Ali particularly.  The whole Rumble in the Jungle and the way you see his inner dialogue thru the whole fight…but particularly the moment at the end of the fight when Ali finally thinks that George has spent himself completely and he isn’t feeling anymore strength behind the punches.  It goes slow motion as Ali rips out with the combo heard ’round the world as he drops Foreman.  The music, the pacing, the direction of that scene is just awesome.

  97. Silsdetail says:

    How about the homer in the Natural into the lights or the movie Eight Men Out about the 1919 White Sox and Shoeless Joe Jackson

  98. Chariots of Fire scene where the “professional” coach has to wait in the hotel room while the race is being run, and puts his fist through his hat when he hears the national anthem being played.

  99. Radnynow says:

    Why are “best of sports movies” lists always full of average to bad hollywood cliche shlock.  The only 1st rate movie on your list is Hoosiers.  The Rocky movies are especially bad.  Hammy acting at its’ worst.  I agree with all who have mentioned the “have catch” scene from Field Of Dreams.  Any guy who ever played catch with his dad, or his own kid, can’t resist that scene.  Plus, Field Of Dreams was a good movie.  These sports movie lists never have Raging Bull or Chariots Of Fire, the two best sports movies ever.  Top notch filmmaking that happens to be about sports.

  100. Robert Mcglasson says:

    Right on Boston Pete, my children had never seen a tear in my until they watched that scene with me. They asked what was wrong and I was able to tell them not a thing.

  101. Terbare49 says:

    The one and only.   The sceen is after Robbie Benson wins a game playing the way he wants to play.  Goes into the coaches off and is offered his scoallarship back.  He says that the coach can put it “all the way up with a red hot poker, I can play any place I want.”  Classic.

    • Close, the title is, “One on One”. His bullying coach was well played by G.D. Spradling. Anyway, this flick accurately portrayed the business of major college sports. Annette O’Toole was pretty cute back then as his tutor. Good movie.

  102. Radnynow says:

    I’ll be dating myself here, but the best movie ever with a sports theme might be “The Hustler.”

  103. Gary Coopers final speech in “Pride of the Yankees”.

  104. Perry Ratliff says:

    The Final Season about Norwood HIgh Schools winning program being shut down by school consolidation.  Not a cinematic spectacle but a great story: 

    “A recurring theme throughout The Final Season, and one that provides some of the film’s best moments, is the film’s representation of small town values and the worth of community. Houses have screen doors, barbershops are places of mass communication, and there’s probably even a local swimming hole nearby with a rope swing. The beautiful shots of young boys playing catch amongst cows next to massive cornfields give us a first-hand idea of why baseball is so important to these people. Their dads played for Norway, and their dads before them. Much in the same way we were made to realize that baseball is more than a sport in Field of Dreams, here too we see that it’s not a game, but rather a product that grows from the soil. Something as important as food. And Something that needs nourishment and care. Coach Van Scoyoc reinforces it when he growls in his Deadwood monotone, “we grow ball players like corn.” from a review.

  105. The Field of dreams final scene is classic. Can’t get thru it without a tear but I was also thinking about Brian’s Song when James Caan tells the team “I love Brian Picalo”. I don’t know if TV movies are included but that was a tear jerker as well

  106. Big13lucky says:

    breaking away!

  107. Coachv6 says:

    Pick a scene, any scene, from The Sandlot!

  108. Pdk92078 says:

    You forgot Rocky IV where Rocky beats Dragov

  109. Don’t have a link, but Billy Dee Williams’ (as Gayle Sayers) locker room speech in “Brian’s Song” is a hands down choice as #1 for me. A great movie and a great scene. 

  110. Pault8787 says:

    Not a sports movie and only one line but in the movie Parenthood When Steve Martin tells Mary Steenberger? that he has to go coach his son’s Little league team she asks him ” Do you have to?” and he replies “My whole life is have to.”

  111. HoosierFan says:

    Hoosiers!!!!  My niece & nephew are playing basketball now in this same gym where the movie was filmed! 

  112. Not sure the exact words? but from the movie Seabiscuit with Tobey Mcquire?
    He was guiding Seabiscuit in to the starting gate? The Jockey on his horse in the next stall remarked; “Hey! That’s a really small horse you got there.” Tobey McGuire states ( not sure exactly but something like this) ” Yea! But when the gate opens He’s going to get a lot smaller.”
    I thought that was one of the best lines I ever heard.

  113. Numerous scenes from “Bryans Song”  especially the one where they are jogging/running through the park. 

  114. Final fight in “Warrior” was really good.

  115. Flan8tv says:

    What about  Al Pacinos locker room speach in Any Given Sunday.

  116. “It’s not the 6 minutes” – Elmo to Louden in Vision Quest

  117. How about the scene in “We are Marshall” at the memorial grave where the remains of 6 players were buried, the coach speaks to the team before they win their first game?

  118. Keidelken says:

    How about a young Rob Lowe scoring on a penalty shot in the waning seconds of the Memorial Cup  finals and then beatin’ the hell outta Carl Racki in Youngblood?

  119. indifferent07 says:

    Hi Keith

    I voted the final shot from Hoosiers number one, but in truth I am probably judging the entire movie.  I didnt think the entire movie was as well done, but I can understand your pick of Blue Chips.  As an individual scene, Nick Nolte does a brilliant job.  Of course I might be biased being from Indiana and almost being able to see Bob Knight’s reflection.

    Also, I know it might be considered a bit of a cornball movie, but I also enjoyed the scene in Rocky Balboa (VI) with Rocky outside his restaurant talking to his son about how unfair life is, and the best you can do is pick yourself up and keep trying.  It reminds me of conversations I have had with my father……anyway, my 2 cents, nice job

  120. dbuged20 says:

    The Natural and Remember the Titans…..By far the best!  Original Sandlot, Rocky III, Hoosers and even Teen Wolf when he makes the shot at the end….I know kindof cheezy but classic!

    • How about the scene in Teen Wolf where the opposing player says, “Shoot it fat boy!”  I still think of that when at one of my kids’ games and there happens to be a pudgy kid playing.

  121. Rbuehrer says:

    Roy Hobbs last home run on “The Natural”

  122. Jay Krusa says:

    How about Breaking Away- it could be a candidate for both Best Ending or Most Unrealistic Ending.

  123. Hoosiers

    Referee :  ”  Coach,  you need one more ”

    Coach ( Gene Hackman ) :  ”  My teams on the floor “

  124. Dude, are you serious.  Did you NOT watch “Glory Road” and see the scene in which Josh Lucas’s Don Haskins (coach of Texas Western, aka UTEP, men’s basketball) summons his players from their hotel beds - where they lie musing about the meaning the next day’s championship game will bring to their lives - and tells the players he’s going to start the five black players? 

    Or how about the game itself?!  In fact, the re-enactment of their entire run, including the racism and hostility the entire team faced, was magical. 

    That was the best any sports movie has ever offered, aside from “Rocky” or the multitude of incredibly touching scenes from the ineligible “Hoop Dreams”.

  125. I agree and mentioned GR above.  I also thought about the game itself and what it meant to blacks all around the country, including black Kentucky students who couldn’t let anyone know they were actually rooting for Texas Western/UTEP.  That game occurred in the backdrop of the civil rights movement, and for that, it has to be #1!  Haskins and his Texas Western team changed American basketball forever. How can anyone pick any other sports movie?  It’s well-done, well-acted, historically accurate, and depicts one of the most impactful events ever in the history of American sports.

  126. Jktjbruns says:

    AHH – The Natural – The Home run scene where Robert Redford hits the lights and they explode like fireworks.  That is the first thing that popped in my mind when I read top 10 sports movie scenes.

    Also I would like to throw in “The Sandlot” there are far too many good scenes to list from that movie.  In my opinion the Sandlot is the best sports movie ever.  How could you not love Benny the Jet, and Smalls, and Squints.  An epic movie and a must see for baseball fans and sports fans if you have never watched it.

  127. janwelch says:

    The final hole in Tin Cup is farily mememorable, although maybe not too realistic.

  128. So many great scenes it’s very difficult but here are three I feel are worth noting:
    1. The Program- Jamal’s sideline run to set up win (first person perspective)
    2. Bull Durham – Kevin Costner letting batter know a fastball is coming, then telling him to “run dummy!”
    3. The Natural- Who doesn’t love seeing Roy Hobbs make fireworks with his deep shot into the lights despite bleeding from his wounds

  129. Saxismyax says:

    Miracle is it for me…especially since if it were nothing but a screen play, everyone would probably just call it patriotic drivel.  Truth is often more interesting than fiction…and the fact that no one could have written a more unbelievable script than a 1980 hocky team full of college guys probably explains why I find myself tearing up and cheering each time I watch it.  :)

  130. I cannot help but think that no film can top HOOSIERS.  A perfect drama that can be seen over and over again and still evoke the emotions form all who watch.  The tears were present again as I watched.  Thanks,

  131. Al Pacino’s locker room speech hands down is the best sports scene ever.

  132. Dude…how can you leave out the home-run, lights exploding scene from The Natural????

  133. Ratsopitts says:

    “We are Marshall”….scene where the WVU coach gives the Marshall coach free access to the game films (running off one of his players so they could view the films)…pure sportsmanship on WVU’s part.  Speaks volumes about the importance of “Life is more important than the game”.

  134. Slmconstruction says:

    the ending in the natural,,,I still smile broadly every time i see that light shattering whammer…

  135. Hoosiers is too hokey for me in some ways. The steal at the end is too convenient, the name “Hickory” is too corny, etc., and the fact is that the team on which the story is based made the final four the year before. Three movies that I’d throw in for nominations to this list: Slap Shot, Breaking Away and The Color of Money. How about the Super Bowl scene in Black Sunday?

  136. Hherring11300 says:

    A couple of other post-ers have mentioned Field of Dreams and I agree. Also, the baseball scenes in For the Love of the Game. Kevin Costner seems to be able to portray a ball player pretty well.
     

  137. I agree with “The Natural” and “Field of Dreams.” I think the strike out in “The Rookie” and Eirc Liddell’s 400 meter race in the 1924 Olympics should be included in the top 10.

  138. Vertizon says:

    Did you actually watch “Remember The Titans”  Why would you say that Coach Yoast was mostly a Bastard.  He was not only just as much a focus of this movie as Denzel’s character, He was a generally decent man in a bad situation and he sacrificed his future to do the right thing.
    I suggest you watch that one again.

    •  Exactly.  It was actually the special teams coach that exibited racist behavior.  There was certainly some ego involved on the part of Coach Yoast, but “bastard” is a bit too strong.

  139. The Lance Armstrong scene in Dodgeball, any scene from American Flyers and Gary McCoy spinning the rear wheel of a 500cc MotoGP bike into a power wheelie in the movie Faster!

  140. Oh I forgot the American Anthem in Slapshot after the pre-game fight spurred on by the Hansens and the scene with Tim “Dr Hook” McCracken taunting Paul Newman!!! 

  141. Searayman7 says:

    We are Marshall…..The coaches pre-game speech at the graves of six players

  142. Beerdujour says:

    Chariots of Fire!

  143. Beerdujour says:

    Roy Hobbs ripping homer off the lights!

  144. the last scene from The Longest Yard, when Burt Reynolds stuffs the ball in Eddie Alberts belly and tells him “game ball” .runner up if the broke his freakin nose scene

  145. What about the home run in The Natural

  146. Rkames55 says:

    In Rocky 3 just before he is to go into the ring to fight Clubber Lang (Mister T), the emotional scene with Rocky clutching his dying manager Mick (Burgess Meredith).

  147. Glorious says:

    Chariots of Fire,

  148. Branchorn says:

    When Louden pins Shute in Vision Quest

  149. Rusty Castleman says:

     Coach Yoast “is mostly a complete bastard”…. did you actually watch this movie?  I’ve seen this movie probably 50 times (my daughter, who is now 21, and I watch it together several times a year) and I never thought that, not even once.  I doubt you have any idea of the “context” of this movie since you’re still wet behind the ears.  I lived this movie, as a high school football player in a small town in Arkansas.  Yoast – as were the coaches that got us through a tough time – was a good man.

  150. The striptease in Slapshot?!

  151. When Roy Hobbs strikes out the big guy with three pitches or when his coach tells himhe’s the best player he’s ever had, and the best damn hitter he’s ever seen.

  152. Dabogirl13 says:

    What about A League of Their Own.  I know it had Madonna in it…but it was a pretty good movie about a team that kept the baseball going at a time when america needed something to keep them from thinking about other things that were going on.  I liked it.

  153. Neal Cooper says:

    Did I miss Vision Quest?
     Louden Swain drops a weight class and wrestles Shutes who I belief was State Champ wrestler the year before. Undefeated the current year and killing everyone. Swain drops so much weight to wrestle the toughest person he knows Swain gets nose bleeds.

    Fiction but definitely resembles real life!!  A lot more real than any Rocky Movie but along the same format.
    Neal

  154. Friday night lights, with billy bob Thornton

  155. Joesmoe says:

    Taylor in major league was a the catcher not a short stop .

  156. irish_saint says:

    calling a penelty on yourself, The legend on bagger vance. Shows class

  157. Chariots of Fire. The 400 meter finals. Unbelievable. It’s no accident that this movie won an Academy Award for Best Picture. In my opinion, that scene clinched it.

  158. The Truth says:

    The Final Play in the Original Longest Yard

  159. Two words:  “Hey, Dad…?”

  160.  Yes it was an okay flick…but what was that coach’s name????   You name Riley and Rupp, but who is the other coach?  Surely he would have an arena named after him, right?  And have the 2nd (I guess now 3rd) most wins in college hoops history.

  161.  Not necessarily a movie that should make the list, but the last scene in The Champ kills me.  Not so much sports-related though. 

    Same with Brian’s Song, which was more about personal relationships than sports.  but good film.

  162. In the movie mystery Alaska when the puck hits the crossbar at the end but the pro-team taps the ice with sticks in respect of the small town’s effort.

  163. Swstryker says:

    The Natural!!!!

  164. Swstryker says:

    Sandlot!

  165. Arizonakid1977 says:

    I agree the ending of Field of Dreams where the character portrayed by Kevin Costner asks his dad for a game of catch was pretty emtional and brought back some special memories for me.

  166. How can you not include “Raging Bull” . Great boxing, great character development. The best two scenes are the one where Deniro pounds a wall in jail and says “It’s you Jake, It’s you”, an epiphany of taking responsibility for his life, and the one where he looks at his hands and says “these hands are too small to be a heavyweight champion”. The scene where he destroys the face of an opponent his wife is attracted to is great in a bad sort of way. Terrific moviem

  167. Blackhawk205 says:

    My favorite sports movie of all times is “One on One” with Robbie Benson. The best scene in the movie is when Robbie tell coach to stick it up his but with a red hot poker.

  168. I think you have to find a way to get The Natural in there. Thanks for the post!

  169. The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner belongs somewhere on this list too.

  170. Roy Hobbs vs. The Whammer

  171. Roy Hobbs vs. The Whammer at the train stop.

  172. Keith- You are too old to remember Pat Obrien as Knute Rockne and Ronald Reagan as George Gipp as Reagan delivers “win one for the Gipper”….another fantastic scene in the movie is Pat Obrien delivering the famous locker room speech!!

  173. Alanaghbob says:

    I was so expecting to see “Brian’s Song” on your list!  I have seen it so many times, and never without tears streaming down my cheeks.

  174. no one special says:

    A lot of them come to mind.  American Flyers with Kevin Costner when his brother decides to go ahead and ride in the other 2 stages of the Bike Race. In the Last one when he smacks the other racer in the stomach and rides off to beat him by seconds.  Again Kevin Costner in I think “For Love of the Game” where he pitched his last game as a not hitter.  The movie sandlot when he outruns the big dog, then when he steals home at the end of the game when he is grown up.  What abount Nick Nolte in North Dalles Forty, I thought he portrayed a receiver well.  Then what about Necessary Roughness, The coaches, the freshman quarterback, the female kicker, pick a scean.  Then Friday Night Lights, Hell I still got wood. 
     
    But you are almost right, Hoosiers should have been number 1.

  175. Jolietjake2 says:

    How about the Natural. In the bottom of the ninth, the Knights are trailing 2-0 and are down to their final out. After the next two batters reach base, Hobbs comes up and the Pirates decide to make a pitching change, bringing in a young, hard-throwing, left-handed Nebraska farmboy resembling Hobbs as a youth. Hobbs fouls the first pitch back, breaking the glass to the press box, where Mercy had been sketching a cartoon portraying Roy as a goat. Hobbs swings through the next pitch. Down to his last strike, he hits what looks like a home run down the right field line, but the ball hooks foul. As he jogs back to the plate, he sees that Wonderboy has split in two. He asks the batboy to pick out a winner and the batboy hands him his own handmade bat, the Savoy Special, which Roy had earlier shown him how to make. As Hobbs digs in to the batter’s box, his stomach starts to bleed through his jersey. The catcher notices and calls for an inside fastball to exploit Roy’s injury. With lightning flashing in the sky, Hobbs crushes the pitch and sends it into the lights above the right field roof for the game-winning home run. The lights explode and sparks rain down upon the field as Hobbs rounds the bases. The Knights win the pennant.

  176. 10K olympic race in running brave – seems like no way crazy movie BS, but google the actual race with Billy Mills … just as unbelievable, maybe more

  177. The Natural- light smashing home run. You knew he was going to hit one, but never this sparkling. It looked like fireworks.

  178. My all time favorite sports movie scene, because my first season ever playing football was exactly like this one and our last game was an almost mirror image of the one in the movie “Necessary Roughness”. That speech that Paul Blakke gives right before they score the last touchdown gives me goosbumps every time… “You’re hurt. You’re tired. You’re bleeding. I’m gonna make you a
    promise. We get into that endzone, you’re not gonna feel any pain.”

  179. WillieMo says:

    The movie is Major League, The scene is the final batter that Charlie Scheen pitches against.  The slo-mo of that pictching sequence is the most realistic scene in a Sports movie by a non-player in any sports genre.  Rick has the best mechanics, delivery and follow-through of any actors.  No trick photography needed as he threw in the mid to high eighties.  That has to be the most realistic  of all.

  180. Thunderfoot1981 says:

    cant find bobby bensons motivational speech to annette otoole

  181. Spartandog says:

    Right movie, wrong scene. Never a bigger example of life imitating art that Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams’ entire career basically willed into existence by every Cleveland fan wanting Charlie Sheen to strut out and blow away 30 years of baseball ineptitude. We didn’t know how cool the closer could be until Major League, and SOLEY because of that last showdown scene, every closer and batter comes onto the field to their own theme music.

  182. Mykate2004 says:

    The final laps of the little 500 in Breaking Away, the misfits come through. Their awkwardness in the post-race celebrations is also great film.

  183. Rob Andersen says:

    Bhgii: You are absolutely right. Abraham won the 100, is in the stand, and his eyes grow wide, as he watches Liddell do the impossible. And true. No true sports fan would miss that one as top 10

  184. Breaking Away, with Dennis Christoper, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Haley. The climatic scene, during the Little Indy 500, where Christopher with his feet taped to the pedals because of a crash he had earlier, races to the finish against the Greek douche-bad.

  185. Robby Benson’s interview with his coach in One On Onr after he saved the day ranks right up there in my book.

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