So there are two different kinds of tearjerkers when it comes to football movies: the ones that are so inspirational and moving that they shake up even the manliest of men; and the ones that are just so darn funny that you laugh until you cry! I will admit now that I’m guilty of sneaking some other ones on this list that I like, but hey, it’s my list!
This was actually a made for TV movie in 1971 that was so successful that they brought it to the theaters, to DVD and in 2001, had a remake by Disney with Mekhi Phifer. It is the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Amazon.com describes it as “one of those transcendent stories that struck a rare cultural nerve, a sensitive film about love, friendship, cancer, racial harmony, and football that came along at just the right time.” I like to call it the Guys Version of Beaches, much to my boyfriend’s dismay. But it is. The two friends, while in competeion for the same spot on the Chicago Bears, become friends against the odds and the social stereotypes of the times. And together, with their wives, they battle against Piccolo’s cancer. It’s actually known to bring grown men to tears. And…if he ever picks on you again for watching cheesy Hallmark or Lifetime movies, remind him the Brian’s Song got it’s start as a made-for-tv special! The Quote: “I love Brian Piccolo…and tonight, I want you to love him too.” – Gale Sayers
Gosh, I really don’t know anyone that doesn’t like this movie or wasn’t moved by it. How could you not love Sean Astin as Rudy Ruettiger? Little Rudy grew up dreaming of playing Notre Dame football but his small size and poor grades didn’t give him much of a chance. But he kept on, despite the negativity around him, the lack of support from friends and family and the odds stacked against him. He went to junior college and kept plugging away in the hopes that one day he would get in to Notre Dame. And the end, when he is carried off the field and everyone is chanting for him “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy…” not only is it an iconic movie moment it really is heartwarming. Such a feel good story set in a college football movie. And there is just something about it that makes you think he was living the dream for all of us. Even though I have never once hoped to play for the Fighting Irish.
First, who will complain if Denzel is in a movie? IMy mother always said she just wanted to nibble on on his lower lip (sorry Dad). Oh wait, I forgot, this is supposed to be a list of movies for guys! Um. It’s Disney and it’s football, how bad could it be? This is the true story of Herman Boone who is asked to coach a Virginia high school team right after the school had been desegregated in the 70s. He overcomes the blatant rascism to lead the team onwards towards an undeafeated season and inspires teamwork and comraderie throughout. The film has been so motivational and influential it was been used before NFL games to actually inpsire the players to work together.
4. Invincible (mark wahlberg! yay)
I don’t care if this is for guys, this one has Mark Wahlberg and I love him. In fact that is the reason I was given this movie. But I will say that once again Disney + football + true stories ( + hot actors) = an unbeatable combo. Invincible is the story of Vince Papale, a down-on-his-luck 30-year-old bartender from South Philly. In 1976, new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil announced he was having open tryouts for the team and Papel reluctantly went to the tryouts. And remarkably made the team!
This one has been remade by Adam Sandler a few years ago but, shockingly that one doesn’t really make the top lists anywhere. But this one does. It’s a story about a former pro quarterback who is doing time in jail. The warden makes him organize a football league of innmates to challenge the other guards, aka let the guards beat them up. Then the quarterback is offered an early release if he throws the game. Funny and unqiue storyline. Not your typical sport movie with the true story and underdogs!
This is loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s. It’s about a team called the North Dallas Bulls and a player on the team that is getting close to the end of his career. It takes a look at the wilder side of the sport: the drugs, the violence, the rock and roll lifestyle that the pro athletes endure. Almost thirty years old and somewhat dated in certain aspects of the movie, there are other themes that are still prevelant in the pro football world today.
A very young Tom Cruise plays a high school football star desperate to get a college football scholarship so he can get out of his small Pennsylvania steel town. After a blowout with his coach, he is kicked off the team and becomes blacklisted among the top colleges until they make up. If anything watch it just to remind yourself of how things used to be, before Tommy went crazy.
From typical Friday night event in every town across the courtry, to a best-selling book, to this movie to a popular TV Show…who knew high school football could be this contagious! I’m actually going to quote from imdb.com on this one because I really liked what they said about it: “Friday Night Lights displays the stress that the town gives the high school players to win, and the hope that the team gives to a small town, and how a team has its low points, its high points, and how they come together as a team on their way to victory.” Although I swear my little town wasn’t like that growing up, was it?
Oh that’s right, I went there! How could I not put this on a list! It may be way over-cliched but come on, who doesn’t love the scenes in this movie? “Show me the money!” I’m not really saying its the best football movie of all time, but it is a great lighthearted romantic comedy with a some football thrown in there! Jerry Maguire was the top of the top in sports agents until he wrote a “mission statement” that got him booted from his agency. Now he tries to start his own with only one client: a very tempremental, very egotistical, very-not-so-great football player Rod Tisdale (played by a sometimes shirtless Cuba Gooding, Jr!)
10. School Ties
Yeah, just look at the cover and you will understand why this is on here. Matt Damon. Ben Affleck. Chris O’Donnell. Brendan Frasier. Are you kidding me? It’s like a buffet of the hottest actors, and this is before they were even really known! And I think there is even some football in there somewhere. The main story is about a young Jewish boy who goes to an elite prep school in the 1950s. But he is not one of the “good old boys” that comes from an upscale background, a Cathlotic background. He got in purely for his football talent to help the struggling school team. And everything is good until it is discovered that he is Jewish. A very powerful film.
I will, for God only knows why, add the Adam Sandler football movies and other spoof comedies on here, too. Apparently, guys think these ones are funny.
The Longest Yard, remake
I am also adding The Replacements because even though no one but me likes it, I do. I find it quite hysterical. And everytime I hear “I Will Survive” I think of the football players dancing to it.
And I am being forced to add Any Given Sunday. Even though REALLY no one likes it. In fact it’s been hailed in the worst football movie hall of fame on occassion. But for some reason, my boyfriend said that if it is on tv, guys always find themselves watching it.