It’s movie night, and you are hankering for a football movie. However, choosing the ones to make up your playlist can be challenging. Films based on a true story, ones that weave a dark tale or run on the comedic side, there is something for everyone. Here’s a list of some of the stream-worthy football movies that you should be watching.
The Blind Side (2009)
Like many a football flick does, this movie is based on the 2006 book The Blind Side, bringing the story of Baltimore Ravens football star Michael Oher as he rose from poverty to become a star NFL player to the screen.
A wealthy white family, The Tuohys, aided his rise from poverty by befriending and eventually adopting him. The movie won Sandra Bullock (who played LeighAnne Touhy) a Best Actress Oscar. It also received a nomination for Best Picture.
It features country music star Tim McGraw exercising his acting chops and the young Jae Head, who steals the show as SJ. The PG-13 rating means you can watch with older kids.
Varsity Blues (1999)
Taking place in a small Texas town where football is life and losing is not an option, this movie chronicles the trials of a high school football team, including their overbearing coach. It’s a coming-of-age comedy-drama where the lead character, played by James VanDerBeek, is unexpectedly thrust into starting quarterback when an injury befalls the star.
Jon Voight plays the harsh coach, and the late Paul Walker also stars.
Necessary Roughness (1991)
This light-hearted football film is a comedy about a college coach forced to form a new team when the college is banned for violating NCAA rules while also poking fun at Texas’s obsession with the sport. It stars Sinbad and Scott Bakula as a 30-year-old professor turned quarterback.
It also features appearances by numerous NFL players, including Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, and D. Butkus, as opposing players from a convict team. Enjoy with older kids with a PG-13 rating. Not to be confused with the TV show of the same name—not about football.
Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale in this nonfictional story about his career with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978 under the guidance of new coach D. Vermeil, played by Greg Kinnear. After a string of bad luck incidents, Papale succeeded in becoming an Eagle after an open tryout held by Vermeil in an attempt to get the team out of their string of losing seasons. The PG rating makes it suitable for most ages.
We Are Marshall (2006)
The film tells the story of the devastating, tragic 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people—the entire football team and staff of Marshall University on their way back from a big win against East Carolina University.
Matthew McConaughey stars as the new coach and assembles his team with few remaining players and other stars from other sports at the University.
Remember the Titans (2000)
Another film based on a true story tells of the attempt to integrate TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, in 1971. Denzel Washington plays the head coach Herman Boone. Look for performances by Ryan Gosling, a young Hayden Panettiere, and Donald Faison in this Jerry Bruckheimer-helmed movie, often touted as one of the best football films ever made.
Friday Night Lights (2004)
Billy Bob Thornton starred in this movie based on the book by Buzz Bissinger, portraying so much about football and high school life in general. Thornton plays the new coach for this Texas high school team, where he must help uplift a team and a town after the star tailback is injured and hope appears to be lost. It became a critically acclaimed TV series as well.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
This football movie is not one for the kiddos or the faint of heart. Based on a novel by NFL veteran Pat Toomay, Any Given Sunday gives an intensely raw—and dark—look at pro football. This certainly isn’t one you want to watch when you need a pick-me-up or want to celebrate the greatness of football. Not entirely unexpected from director Oliver Stone and starring Al Pacino.
Sean Astin (Goonies fame) plays the lead character Rudy, who gets a shot at a lifelong dream of playing football at the University of Notre Dame. Football is a team sport, and it truly took a team to raise Rudy from walk-on to legend status. It was also the movie debut of Jon Favreau and featured a feel-good ending.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
This movie is less about football and more about the love story between Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) and his assistant Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger). Still, it also highlights the agent-player relationship between Jerry and his main client Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and spawns the famous lines spoken: “Show Me the Money!” Cuba Gooding Jr. also won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and the co-owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more.