Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Movies [Print without images]

Sunday, August 25, 2002
Updated: August 26, 12:07 PM ET
Page 2's Top 20 Sports Movies of All-Time

Page 2 staff

Here's how the columnists and editors of Page 2 ranked the Top 20 Sports Movies of All-Time. Each of the 15 voters was asked to select his or her top 20 movies (20 points were award for No. 1, 19 points for No. 2, etc.). For more details on the voting, see the bottom of the page. (And for our review of each film, click on the highlighted titles below.)

THE TOP 20
Rank, movie       Page 2's review
1. Bull Durham
(206 points)
    The dialogue is sharp and funny, the baseball sequences are accurate and the prevailing sexual tension triumphs throughout.
2. Rocky
(204 points)
    Rocky Balboa remains the lovable lughead of an underdog who will register with the everyman inside all of us.
3. Raging Bull
(172 points)
    A definitive movie about any sport has yet to be made, but this one comes closest. There's nothing formulaic or feel-good.
4. Hoosiers
(167 points)
    While "Rocky" shows what one individual can do in the face of overwhelming odds, "Hoosiers" is the ultimate parable for the underdog "team."
5. Slap Shot
(166 points)
    Paul Newman demonstrates how goofball sports movies ought to be done (this should be required viewing for Adam Sandler).
6. The Natural
(150 points)
    Authentic in the nostalgia that's in every adult heart -- the career, game, love, girl that got away; then turns up again, backlit.
7. Field of Dreams
(122 points)
    Just an odd and wonderful premise with baseball acting as a metaphor for so much more about life, and love, and passions.
8. Caddyshack
(121 points)
    Perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made, and 22 years later, it still ranks as definitely the most "quotable" sports film.
9. The Hustler
(113 points)
    Unbelievable acting, especially by Newman. The scene at the beginning, when he plays Gleason for the first time, is one of the best.
10. The Longest Yard
(109 points)
    One of the best things about sports is the sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle bird they flip at the establishment.
11. North Dallas Forty
(93 points)
    From the opening scene, when Nick Nolte struggles to get out of bed, we get an up-close look at the brutal world of pro football.
12. Jerry Maguire
(88 points)
    Somehow they managed to turn a movie about an agent into a statement against the greed and selfishness that has overrun professional sports.
13. Hoop Dreams
(82 points)
    The viewer develops more of an emotional attachment to the lead characters than in any other movie -- because you know they're real.
14. Breaking Away
(76 points)
    The scene where Dave rides to keep up with the truck is one of the two most inspiring training scenes in movie history.
15. White Men Can't Jump
(74 points)
    "The sun even shines on a dog's ass some days." The constant yammering of trash talk shines throughout this playground hoops saga.
16. The Bad News Bears
(70 points)
    The kids are ruthless, funny, honest and vulnerable. Which is to say, they're just like real kids.
17. Chariots of Fire
(70 points)
    Behold an intelligent dissection of what makes a championship athlete tick when it really isn't about the money.
18. Brian's Song
(67 points)
    A tearjerker that captures the ideal interracial relationship, even in a competitive situation, so rarely achieved.
19. Eight Men Out
(55 points)
    One of the great period-piece movies ... it brought 1919 alive. Like most of John Sayles' movies, it features tremendous ensemble acting.
20. When We Were Kings
(53 points)
    It has a wonderful beat and rhythm that sweeps you up into the film. And when Ali is the central figure, you can't possibly look away.
Also Receiving Votes: 21. Pride of the Yankees (51), 22. A League of Their Own (41), 23. Bang the Drum Slowly (40), 24. Tin Cup (32), 25. Hurricane (30), 26. The Color of Money (27), 27. Rounders (25), 28. Rocky III (25), 29. Rocky II (24), 30. Heaven Can Wait (20)

Other notes on the voting
  • In the event of a tie, the higher spot was given to the movie that was named on the most ballots. This occurred at No. 16, where "The Bad News Bears" and "Chariots of Fire" both garned 60 points. "Bears" earned the higher ranking because it was picked by eight voters, while "Chariots" was only named by seven.

  • No movie was selected by all 15 voters. "Rocky" and "Slap Shot" were named by 14 voters; "Bull Durham" and "Hoosiers" by 13; "Raging Bull" by 12.

  • The full list of voters included Page 2 columnists Bob Halloran, Jeff Merron, Eric Neel, Dan Shanoff, Bill Simmons and Ralph Wiley, Page 2 editors Kevin Jackson, Jay Lovinger, Jim Wilkie and Mary Buckheit, Page 2 contributors Eric Immerman, Kurt Snibbe and Jeff Freedman, plus ESPN The Magazine deputy editors Neil Fine and Gary Belsky.