10 Good Football Movies

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

With the NFL season in full swing, it’s time to take a look at 10 good football movies. If you’ve ever worn a giant chunk of cheese on your head or dressed up in a skirt and hog snout, then these gridiron classics are guaranteed to keep you entertained for months. And even if you’re a casual fan, you should still find something to enjoy amidst all the inspirational speeches, bone-jarring hits, and off-the-field complications.

Since you’re into sports movies, you’ll be delighted to know that Netflix carries titles about football, baseball, MMA, hockey, basketball, and golf. Heck, they even have a fine selection of soccer movies. There are never any late fees, and movies can either be delivered right to your door or viewed online. To see what makes them America’s number-one online video store, click here and become a member of Netflix today.

North Dallas Forty (1979) – Adapted from Peter Gent’s thinly-veiled novel about the Dallas Cowboys, North Dallas Forty stars Nick Nolte as Phil Elliott, a veteran wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls who takes painkillers, does illegal substances, and nails every woman who’s willing. Mac Davis is Seth Maxwell, the team’s quarterback and Elliott’s partner-in-crime. Far from your typical feel-good story, the film blends biting satire and brutally realistic gridiron action to document the highs and lows of life in the National Football League. Also starring G.D. Spradlin, Dabney Coleman, and Charles Durning.

The Longest Yard (1974) – Former quarterback Paul “Wrecking” Crewe’s (Burt Reynolds) life is in the toilet. First he was kicked out of the league for shaving points, and now he’s headed to prison for stealing his girlfriend’s car and punching a cop. Turns out he’s not the most popular guy in the joint, either, as the cons consider cheating at football to be “un-American.” And then the tyrannical warden (Eddie Albert) comes calling, “asking” Crewe to put together a team of inmates to play against the brutal guards. Reynolds demonstrates the natural charisma that made him box-office gold throughout the ’70s and ’80s, with memorable supporting role being delivered by James Hampton and John Steadman. If you really like the premise, you can also check out the remake from Adam Sandler (in which Reynolds co-stars) or the soccer version starring Vinnie Jones.

The Waterboy (1998) – Adam Sandler turns in an oddball performance as Bobby Boucher, a simple-yet-sweet waterboy from the backwoods of Louisiana. When the coach (Henry Winkler) of a failing football program encourages Bobby to let out his pent-up anger, the meek mama’s boy quickly transforms into a monster of the gridiron. Kathy Bates is a stand-out as his fooseball-hating mother, and Fairuza Balk shows off her sexy side as the redneck apple of Bobby’s eye. Watch for cameos from real-life football legends such as Jimmy Johnson, Lawrence Taylor, and Bill Cowher.

Remember the Titans (2000) – Dealing with racial tensions at a desegregated school in 1971 Virginia, Remember the Titans takes a look at real-life high school coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) and his efforts to win over a hostile community and his own players. Denzel turns in his usual steady performance, and he gets plenty of assistance from co-stars Will Patton, Kip Pardue, and Kate Bosworth.

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The Replacements (2000) – When the league’s star players go on strike, the owner of the fictional Washington Sentinels (Jack Warden) hires former coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) to put together a team of scabs and continue their playoff run. McGinty recruits former college star and pro washout Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) to lead the team, and he’s joined by a deaf tight end (David Denman), a gambling-addicted soccer player (Rhys Ifans), and a S.W.A.T. officer who goes berserk on the field (Jon Favreau). The cheerleaders also go on strike, so head cheerleader Annabelle Farrell (Brooke Langton) is forced to hire strippers and whip them into shape while trying to navigate a passionate relationship with Falco. A fun diversion for football fans with plenty of eccentric characters and recognizable faces.

Knute Rockne, All American (1940) – The true story of Knute Rockne (Pat O‘Brien), the legendary coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Ronald Reagan earned his famous nickname from the film, playing the role of George “The Gipper” Gipp, a multi-talented footballer who passed away at the age of 25.

Heaven Can Wait (1978) – Warren Beatty headlines as Joe Pendleton, a pro quarterback who gets into a car crash and finds himself in Heaven thanks to an over-anxious guardian angel (Buck Henry). Recognizing that a mistake was made, the powers above send Joe back into the body of a multi-millionaire who was just murdered by his wife (Dyan Cannon) and her lover (Charles Grodin). Feeling robbed of his chance to play in a Super Bowl, Joe uses his newfound wealth to purchase his old team and install himself at quarterback. Meanwhile, he must contend with the murderous couple who have no intentions of giving up their attempts on his life. A metaphysical comedy with plenty of on-the-field action, Heaven Can Wait is a remake of the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

Friday Night Lights (2004) – Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, this film follows a Texas high school team as they try to capture the state title. But the drama doesn‘t end once the game clock hits zero. The coach (Billy Bob Thornton) deals with the mounting pressure of keeping his job, a quarterback (Lucas Black) faces the disapproval of his father (Tim McGraw), and a recently-injured player faces the dismal prospect of life away from the game. Packed with all the drama you’d expect from a town obsessed with sports, this football movie would later be spun into a critically-acclaimed television series.

Brian’s Song (1971) – The rare made-for-television movie that went on to play in theaters, Brian’s Song chronicles the all-too-short life of Brian Piccolo (James Caan), a player for the Chicago Bears. As he bravely battles cancer, he’s supported in his efforts by teammate and friend Gale Sayers (Bill Dee Williams). Caan and Williams generate a wonderful chemistry, and the supporting cast includes Jack Warden (in an Emmy-winning role), Bernie Casey, Shelley Fabares, and Dick Butkus (as himself). If you’re a woman who complains that her husband/boyfriend never shows his emotions, pop this into the DVD player and watch him bawl like a baby.

Rudy (1993) – Based on the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, this inspirational tale of perseverance will bring a tear to all but the most stone-hearted of individuals. Sean Astin plays the lead role, a 5’7” steel mill worker with aspirations of attending Notre Dame and playing football for the Fighting Irish. But how can a kid with dyslexia and 13 brothers and sisters accomplish such a goal? Watch the movie and find out. Co-starring Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, and Lili Taylor. Keep an eye out for Vince Vaughn in his film debut.

While I consider these 10 good football movies to be the best of the bunch, keep in mind that there are plenty of other films devoted to the sport. Netflix has them all, of course, and signing up for a Netflix membership will send a small commission our way. It won’t cost you anything extra, and that revenue helps pay for the day-to-day costs of running a website. That, and I’m saving up to buy my girlfriend a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader’s outfit.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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