Best Football Movies of All Time – Gridiron Action


NFL-logo-with-football-blueFootball isn’t just a matter of life and death for some people. Oh no — It’s far beyond that! For those diehard fans that eat, sleep, think and breathe football and are totally consumed by it like a zombie between the first kick-off of the season in September all the way to the last minute of the Super Bowl in February, you just can’t get enough action in between game times. You’ll probably get outside for a while with the kids or football buds and toss the pigskin around or even enjoy a little competitive street football action, but then darkness falls and supper is calling you back inside the house. Afterwards it’s time to hit the big screen TV or (in case you didn’t plan ahead), quickly head out to the video store to find just the right movie to fill your need for even more gridiron action.friday_night_lights

If you can’t get out to an actual game at the stadium, the next best thing to watching football on TV is watching a decent football movie on TV. A really good football movie has a way of filling the void and easing the pain of Tuesday and Wednesday nights during football season. Those are considered the ‘dark days’ after “Monday Night Football,” and before “Thursday Night Football.” After all, a good football-actionfootball movie just seems to fit perfectly along side fantasy leagues, football betting pools and tailgate parties so you can remain in pigskin heaven.

So I offer you a pretty decent selection of the best gridiron action that videos have to offer covering a wide range of years and tastes. These are not rated in any manner other than in alphabetical order. So, do a little research here and then get out there and enjoy a couple hours of hard-hitting football action or side-splitting football comedy or ???  Enjoy!

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All The Right Moves (1983)

Starring Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson

all-the-right-moves-dvdIn this absorbing drama, Tom Cruise stars as a young cornerback prospect who dreams of being an engineer. Despite his love for pretty Lea Thompson and the respect with which he treats his millworker father, Cruise is desperate to get out of his decaying hometown, and knows that a football scholarship is his only ticket. Complications arise when he runs afoul of the team’s coach, Craig T. Nelson, in a well-played turn, and must face his own pride. All the Right Moves is a thoughtful and involving story of holding on to a dream in the bleakest of surroundings.

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Angels In The End Zone (1997)

Starring Christopher Lloyd, Paul Dooley, Matthew Lawrence, David Gallagher

Angels_in_the_EndzoneJesse Harper is the only talented player on his high school football team, but he quits the team after his father dies in an accident. His younger brother Kevin, who realizes that football is the most important thing in Jesse’s life, sends a nighttime prayer which is heard by some sports-loving angels who come to the rescue. Now, with the help of the angels, the team wins all the matches, but how can Kevin make people, and especially Jesse, believe in their existence?

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Any Given Sunday (1999)

Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx

AnyGivenSundayGridiron drama from director Oliver Stone looks at the on- and off-the-field struggles of the Miami Sharks, a once-mighty team struggling to get a playoff berth. Veteran quarterback Dennis Quaid finds his spot threatened by flashy backup Jamie Foxx, while fiery coach Al Pacino’s style is at odds with assistant Aaron Eckhart’s tactics. Cameron Diaz, LL Cool J, Lauren Holly, James Woods, Ann-Margret, and Charlton Heston also star.

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The Best of Times (1986)

Starring Robin Williams, Kurt Russell, Pamela Reed

best-of-times-dvdSmall-town banker Robin Williams has never been able to live down the fact that he dropped an important pass during a crucial high-school football game. Likewise tainted for life is the team’s star quarterback Kurt Russell, now a garage owner. Fed up with living his life under a cloud, Williams hits upon a brilliant idea… he will stage a rematch-13 years after the fact — with the members of the rival team. Trouble beckons when Williams’ father-in-law announces that he’s rooting for the opposition. Williams is determined to win, and in pursuit of that goal he pushes his former teammates to hitherto untapped brilliance

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Brian’s Song (1971)

Starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden

Brians-Song-dvdA classic made-for-TV favorite… Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears as a running back and meets the competitive Brian Piccolo. While at first the two are rivals, they soon form a strong friendship. Things take a turn for the worse when Sayers is injured and when Piccolo begins to suffer from cancer. A poignant and well-acted movie originally made for television. Legendary actors James Caan and Billy Dee Williams give amazing performances inspired by real-life athletes in Brian’s Song. When cancer strikes an unlikely friendship, a bond is formed that surpasses football, race, and adversity. This unforgettable classic makes a positive impact on almost everyone who watches it.

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Everybody’s All-American (1988)

Starring Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton, John Goodman

Everybodys_All-American_dvdThis movie follows the life of campus sweethearts, Gavin Grey and Babs Rogers, as they marry and pursue life as a professional athlete and happily wedded couple. Struggling to raise a family proves especially difficult when Gavin’s career keeps him away from the family, and Babs becomes a lonely wife.

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The Express (2008)

Starring Rob Brown, Dennis Quaid, Darrin Dewitt Henson

The-Express-dvdBased on the incredible true story, this biopic focuses on the relationship of Ernie Davis (1939-1963), a gifted African-American athlete, and his coach from 1958 to 1962 at Syracuse University, Ben Schwartzwalder (1909-1993). Schwartzwalder recruits Davis with the help of All-American running back, Jim Brown. The civil rights movement is gaining steam; Davis experiences prejudice on campus, in town, and on the field, sometimes from teammates. How he handles it and how he challenges Schwartzwalder to stand up for his players provide a counterpoint to several great seasons that lead first to a national championship and then to the Heisman Trophy.

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Facing The Giants (2006)

Starring Shannen Fields, Bailey Cave, Jason McLeod, James Blackwell, Tracy Goode

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In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure. However, an unexpected challenge finds a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field–and off. With God, all things are possible.

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Fighting Back (1980)

Starring Robert Urich, Art Carney, Bubba Smith, Bonnie Bedelia, Richard Herd

fighting-back-rocky-bleierFootball jock Rocky Bleier (Urich) makes it all the way to the pros with the Pittsburgh Steelers, only to be drafted in the Vietnam war. Wounded by a hand grenade overseas, Bleier returns to the States told he will never walk again. However, after a lengthy, grueling rehabilitation (and several slow motion sequences to thumping soundtrack music) Bleier ultimately walks again. Soon, he trains with his old team for inspiration. Boss Art Rooney’s (Art Carney) sympathy and regard for Bleier pays off when Bleier improbably comes all the way back, ultimately playing for a Superbowl Championship with the Steelers. But are all the good feelings and inspiration Bleier engenders enough to carry him to an NFL championship?

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Friday Night Lights (2004)

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Tim McGraw

friday_night_lights_dvdOdessa, Texas, is a small, town in Texas. Racially divided and economically dying, there is one night that gives the town something to live for – Friday Night. The Permian Panthers have a big winning tradition in Texas high school football, led by QB Mike Winchell and superstar tailback Boobie Miles, but all is not well, as Boobie suffers a career-ending injury in the first game of the season. Hope is lost among citizens in Odessa, and for the team, but Coach Gary Gaines, who believes that “Perfection is being able to look your friends in the eye and know you did everything you could not to let them down”, is somehow able to help the team rise up from the ashes and make a huge season comeback. Now on their way to state, the Panthers must go out and be perfect, because they may never matter this much for the rest of their lives.

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The Freshman (1925)

Starring Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict

the-freshman-harold-lloyd-dvdOne of Harold Lloyd’s best feature-length comedies, The Freshman, features the bespectacled regular guy as Harold Lamb, a naïve young man who heads off to college believing campus life will be just as it is in the movies; he even learns a little dance he saw one of his favorite actors do in a film. However, Harold soon discovers that real life isn’t all that much like the pictures, and he quickly becomes the laughing stock of the university. Determined to prove himself, Harold tries out for the football team, but he serves as water boy and rides the pine until he finally gets a chance to redeem himself at the big game.

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The Game Plan (2007)

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick

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In this hilarious and heartwarming family comedy, one of sports’ toughest players ever takes on his biggest challenge yet — fatherhood! A superstar with an ego bigger than a football field, Joe Kingman (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) is getting ready for a run at the big championship game when the 8-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up at his not-so-family-friendly bachelor pad. As the big game gets closer, he begins to realize the most meaningful win he can achieve is the heart of the one little fan who counts the most.

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Gridiron Gang (2006)

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell

gridiron-gang-dvdThe uplifting story of detention camp probation officer Sean Porter, who creates a high-school-level football team from a ragtag group of dangerous teenage inmates as a means to teach them self-respect and social responsibility. He is joined in this experiment by co-worker, Malcolm Moore. But Porter must first overcome almost universal resistance from the powers that be — his skeptical bosses and coaches at rival high schools who don’t want their players mixing it up with convicted criminals on the football field.

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Gus (1976)

Starring Edward Asner, Don Knotts, Gary Grimes, Tim Conway, Liberty Williams, Harold Gould, Bob Crane, Dick Van Patten, plus a few former NFL stars

gus-dvdWholesome family fun abounds in this Disney comedy about an inept, last-place football team, the California Atoms, which is turned around with the help of their new star player (and former mascot) …a football-kicking mule! The villainous competition then attempts kidnapping of “Gus” leading to slapstick results.


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Heaven Can Wait (1978)

Starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia

heaven_can_wait_dvdJoe Pendleton is a quarterback preparing to lead his team to the Super Bowl when he is almost killed in an accident. An overanxious angel plucks him to heaven only to discover that he wasn’t ready to die, and that his body has been cremated. A new body must be found, and that of a recently murdered millionaire is chosen. His wife and accountant, the murderers, are confused by this development, as he buys the L.A. Rams in order to once again quarterback them into the Super Bowl.

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Hometown Legend (2002)

Starring Terry O’Quinn, Lacey Chabert, Nick Cornish, Mary Pat Gleason

hometown-legend-dvdHometown Legend tells the story of a small Alabama town where football and faith come together. The downtrodden town has seen better days, and the community’s high school is scheduled to close at the end of the year. In honor of the school’s final year, the legendary coach of the once intimidating football program returns to give the kids another shot at glory. The no-nonsense coach (Terry O’Quinn) not only brings pride back to the team, but gives the town as a whole a glimmer of hope. The same tactics used in football–sacrificing individual goals and rather working for the sake of the team–becomes a metaphor for what the town needs to get back on its feet.

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Horse Feathers (1932)

Starring the 4 Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo, Thelma Todd, David Landau

horse-feathers-dvdThe Marx Brothers parody college life in this gag-filled, fast-paced comedy. The fast-talking new president of Huxley College needs to scrounge up some top-flight ringers for his football team, but ends up with a bootlegger and a mute dog catcher instead. It all leads up to an anarchic football finale! More laughs than most comedies (and smart laughs, at that), this script, co-scripted by satirist SJ Perelman, is humor at its most clever.


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Invincible (2006)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks

Invincible-dvdIn the summer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He’s been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he’ll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Amazingly, against all odds, Papale made the team and soon found himself living every fan’s fantasy — moving from his cheap seats in the upper deck to standing on the field as a professional football player. Based on a true story.

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Jerry Maguire (1996)

Starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jerry O’Connell

jerry-maguire-dvdJerry Maguire used to be a typical sports agent: willing to do just about anything he could to get the biggest possible contracts for his clients, plus a nice commission for himself. Then, one day, he suddenly has second thoughts about what he’s really doing. When he voices these doubts, he ends up losing his job and all of his clients, save Rod Tidwell, an egomaniacal football player. Can Jerry resurrect his career while still staying true to himself?

“Show me the money” “You complete me” “You had me at hello” So many lines from this film have made it into our pop jargon and catchphrases of the 90’s.

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Jim Thorpe All-American (1951)

Starring Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Dick Wesson

Jim-Thorpe-Alll-American-dvdThe true story of Native American Jim Thorpe, who rose from an Oklahoma reservation to become a collegiate, Olympic, and professional star. Many consider him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century. After his medals are stripped on a technicality and his dream of coaching is shattered, Thorpe’s life begins to unravel as things go from bad to worse… His son dies, his marriage to his college sweetheart disintegrates, and he crawls into a bottle. Thorpe has hit rock bottom when he is reunited with his old coach Bickford, who offers Jim a ticket to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. It is the first small step on the road to regeneration for Jim Thorpe.

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Johnny Be Good (1988)

Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Uma Thurman, Steve James

Johnny_Be_Good_dvdIt’s recruiting time and despite being short and scrawny, Johnny Walker is America’s hottest young football prospect. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local state college with his girlfriend and give up his football career?


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The Junction Boys (2002)

Starring Tom Berenger, Fletcher Humphrys, Ryan Kwanten

The-Junction-Boys-dvdTom Berenger stars in this ESPN movie as Paul “Bear” Bryant, the legendary Texas A&M football coach. Hired in 1954 to turn around the university’s struggling football team, Bryant subjected the 100 hopefuls who showed up for training camp to a grueling regimen in the Texas heat. An intense physical test that not many believe they’ll survive, players are soon dropping left and right. However, through this test Bryant determines which players have the drive to win, and by the end of summer he has put together a close-knit team of 35 football players who believe they can conquer anything.

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Knute Rockne All American (1940)

Starring Pat O’Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, Donald Crisp

Knute-Rockne-All-American-dvdLife story of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, following him from his Norwegian immigrant beginnings through his playing days at Notre Dame and on to his glory days as head coach at his alma mater. Pat O’Brien, starring as legendary coach Knute Rockne, revolutionizes college football with strategies that establish Notre Dame’s team as a powerhouse in this classic sports biopic. But beyond leading the team to victory, Rockne considers it his responsibility to mold the players into honorable adults. Ronald Reagan co-stars as George Gipp, and utters one of his most famous quotes when he makes a deathbed request to “win just one for the Gipper.”

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Leatherheads (2008)

Starring John Krasinski, David de Vries, Rick Forrester, George Clooney, Renee Zellweger

Leatherheads-dvdOscar® winners George Clooney and Renée Zellweger match wits in Leatherheads, a quick-witted romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America’s nascent pro-football league in 1925. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, a charming, brash football hero who is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country’s attention. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski), America’s favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field. This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton (Zellweger) aims to prove that’s the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter’s war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections.

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Little Giants (1994)

Starring Rick Moranis, Ed O’Neill, Shawna Waldron

Little-Giants-dvdA successful retired jock and his geeky younger brother play out their sibling rivalry by coaching rival little league football teams in this family comedy. Ed O’Neill plays the older brother, Kevin O’Shea, a former Heisman Trophy winner whose gridiron exploits have made him a local hero in his small Illinois hometown. Kevin is the almost unanimous choice to head up the town’s Pop Warner football team, and he happily builds an imposing team from the best local players. One of the few objectors is Kevin’s young brother Danny (Rick Moranis), an awkward, bespectacled gas station owner who empathizes with the kids rejected from the team, including his own athletic daughter Becky (Shawna Waldron). As revenge, Danny starts his own competing team of misfits, taking on the coaching duties himself. Naturally, despite the total ineptitude of Danny and his players, they eventually find themselves major underdogs in a climactic battle against Kevin’s well-trained juggernaut.

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The Longest Yard (1974)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, Bernadette Peters

the-longest-yard-1974-dvdIn this rough-and tumble movie, actually filmed on-location at the Georgia State Prison, the cons are the heroes and the guards are the heavies. Eddie Albert is the sadistic Warden Hazen who’ll gladly make any sacrifice to push his guards’ semi-pro football team to the national championship. Burt Reynolds plays one-time pro quarterback-turned-convict, Paul Crewe. Strong-armed into forming an inmate football team, Crewe manages to instill an esprit de corps previously lacking in the prisoners’ lives. They now have the chance to go head-to-head with the guards’ football team, headed by the much-despised Capt. Knauer (Ed Lauter). The warden intercedes and orders Crewe to throw the match (if he expects to get that pardon he’s been promised) to assure that his goon squad will meet only passive resistance from Crewe’s “Mean Machine.” But the license to pound on their hated guards is a big incentive for murderers and thieves to learn strategy. The suspenseful big game that follows consumes nearly a third of the picture.

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The Longest Yard (2005)

Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Michael Irvin, Nelly

the-longest-yard-2005-dvdWhen former NFL player Paul Crewe is sent to prison, the warden forces him to transform a diverse group of inmates into a football team. Unlikely teammates, the convicts unite when they find out who they are playing: the guards. With the help of fellow inmates Nate Scarborough and Caretaker, Crewe promises the cons a chance to exact revenge in a bone-crushing showdown where anything goes.

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Lucas (1986)

Starring Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Winona Ryder, Jeremy Piven

Lucas-dvdThis refreshing movie captures the gritty, painful, often pathetic social side of adolescense and the high school scene, when belonging to the in-crowd carries more weight than anything else in the world. It follows a young and nerdy, 14 year old Lucas in his uphill pursuit of success on the football field and even more desperate plight for the respect of his peers and teammates. When even the love of his life looks beyond him, Lucas teaches everyone about the real meaning of character. Several young stars of the day are featured in this film, some going on to bigger roles while others bottomed out due to substance abuse.

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Necessary Roughness (1991)

Starring Scott Bakula, Hector Elizondo, Robert Loggia, Kathy Ireland, Rob Schneider, Jason Bateman, Sinbad

necessary-roughness-dvdDue to NCAA sanctions after a recruitment scandal, a struggling college football team is forced to turn to a rag-tag group of misfits in this sports comedy. It seems that Texas State University’s football team has relied on some rather unorthodox — and illegal — methods to gain players, resulting in the disqualification of most of the team’s stars. The desperate coach must rely on the school’s actual students (with no scholarships to assist them), a motley crew of unlikely characters that includes a female place kicker and a 34 year old quarterback. Unexpectedly, however, the coach discovers that the passer still has a heck of an arm, and suddenly the team again has a chance as they seek to advance, taking aim at the top seeded Texas Colts. How far will they get?

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North Dallas Forty (1979)

Starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman

North-Dallas-Forty-dvdA funny and insightful peek into the world of professional football, adapted from Peter Gent’s novel. Phillip Elliott is an aging wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls who still delivers on the field… despite the many past injuries that keep him in almost constant pain. Almost as painful for him is the constant abuse heaped on the players by management. Now Phillip’s determined to do something about it. The corporate bigwigs, however, are growing increasingly annoyed by Elliott’s complaining. Will the athlete cave in to the pressure and keep his mouth shut or fight the executives at the risk of ending his career?.

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Number One (1969)

Starring Charlton Heston, Jessica Walter, Bruce Dern, John Randolph, Diana Muldaur

Ron Catlin (Heston) is a pro-football player who realizes his playing skills have eroded. His actions on the field have slowed to the point where retirement looms. His wife Julie (Walter) has her own fashion-designing business and his former teammate Richie (Dern) has parlayed his football heroics into a successful auto-leasing company. As “The Cat” loses his legendary quickness, he finds himself ill-suited to join the real world after his pampered isolation in the NFL. He takes to the bottle and to the lure of an illicit affair with Ann (Muldaur). John Randolph plays a realistic coach who can’t rely on this fading player’s past heroics to win the next big game. Trumpeter Al Hirt and members of the New Orleans Saints appear as themselves.

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Paper Lion (1968)

Starring Alan Alda, Lauren Hutton, Joe Schmidt, Alex Karras, David Doyle

paper-lion-dvdGeorge Plimpton wants to write a story for Sports Illustrated on what it is like to be a quarterback for an NFL team. No one is willing to allow a klutzy amateur to go on the field for fear he’ll kill himself. After several teams turn him down, Plimpton got the Detroit Lions to let him go to training camp. He tries to keep his true identity a secret from the real players. This is based on a true incident and many of the football players play themselves in the movie.

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The Program (1993)

Starring James Caan, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Craig Sheffer, Kristy Swanson

The-Program-dvdEastern State University isn’t particularly notable for anything except its football program. Lately, even that hasn’t been doing too well, and the athletic staff led by Coach Winters are under considerable pressure by the administration and alumni to bring in a winning season. To do that, he has to recruit some able, promising young players out of high school. It’s not too surprising to learn that he will do almost anything to get these kids, and its even less surprising that, as long as they keep producing on the field, he and the college will overlook almost any obnoxious behavior the boys can perpetrate to the limit of their ability.

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Radio (2003)

Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger

Radio-dvdFor anyone who ever had a dream and everyone with the courage to stand up for what they believe, comes the real life story of Robert ‘Radio’ Kennedy. Experience Radio’s journey from a man no one understands to the coach no one could live without. Together with Head Coach Harold Jones, Radio inspired a football team to become champions and a town to open their hearts. Heroic performances from Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Academy Award Nominee Ed Harris will have you laughing, crying and cheering for the man who proved, the world’s greatest victories happen in real life.

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Reggie’s Prayer (1996)

Starring Reggie White, Pat Morita, Rosie Grier, Paul “The Giant” Wight, Brett Favre, Gale Sayers, Keith Jackson, Mike Holmgren, MC Hammer

reggies-prayer-dvdLate NFL hero Reggie White stars in this uplifting film as Reggie Knox, a football star moved by a community tragedy to retire and help kids. Under the guidance of an inner-city principal (Pat Morita), Knox takes a job as a teacher and coach to at-risk students. But a gang leader (Paul “The Giant” Wight) is ready to do whatever it takes to retain his control of the neighborhood. Brett Favre, M.C. Hammer and other stars make cameo appearances.

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Remember The Titans (2000)

Starring Denzel Washington, Hayden Panettiere, Kip Pardue, Ryan Gosling, Donald Faison

remember-the-titans-dvdBased on the true story of the explosive events that took place in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971 when African-American football coach Herman Boone was hired to guide an integrated but racially polarized high school team, the TC Williams Titans. Angry, stubborn and a rigid taskmaster, Boone faces a cool reception from the team’s players as well as an awkward relationship with assistant coach Bill Yost, a local white man with seniority and a tradition of winning who was bypassed for the job. It’s made clear that Bill has feelings of animosity for having to be an assistant under a black man. As the two men learn to overcome their ignorance and bigotry and realize that they have much in common… integrity, honor, and a strong work ethic… they work together to transform a group of angry, unfocused players into a dynamic winning team of responsible young men. In the process, they also unite a divided community and ensure that Virginia will always “Remember the Titans.” — An excellent depiction of a stunning story.

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The Replacements (2000)

Starring Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau

The-Replacements-dvdInspired by the National Football League strike of 1987, the story follows a team of scab players as they fill in for the real pros. Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman), a compassionate and dedicated coach, is rehired by the owner of the Washington Sentinels to pull together a new crew in order to finish off the season and keep the stadium filled. This includes a safety who is on work release, a lightning-quick wide receiver with bricks for hands, a deranged linebacker-SWAT team member, a chain-smoking Welsh kicker, and Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), a former college quarterback who lost his chance at the big time after a disastrous Sugar Bowl appearance. The newly formed squad must learn to set aside its differences if it is to win three out of four games and make it to the playoffs. Along the way, Falco finds himself harassed by the Sentinels’ star quarterback, Eddie Martel, as well as falling in love with the team’s head cheerleader, Annabelle (Brooke Langton). A final showdown against the strike-breaking reigning champions gives McGinty and Falco one last chance at redemption.

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Rudy (1993)

Starring Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton

Rudy-dvdRudy grew up in a steel mill town where most people ended up working, but he had other plans instead. This is a stirring, true-life tale of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a teenager from a working-class family with the impossible dream of playing football for his beloved Notre Dame. Unfortunately, there were a couple of minor problems. His grades were a little low, his athletic skills were poor, and he was about half the size of the other players. Still, he had the drive, motivation and spirit to go through great lengths to gain admission to the school and make the team. Rudy is relegated to benchwarmer status before he wins the respect of his teammates and coach Ara Parseghian.

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School Ties (1992)

Starring Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Affleck, Amy Locane

School-Ties-dvdDavid Greene (Brendan Fraser), a working-class Jewish teen, receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s. Aware that this opportunity will allow him a better life, he hides his religion from his wealthy, prejudiced classmates. Greene becomes the star player and wins the attention of a beautiful debutante (Amy Locane), but when his heritage is revealed, the deep-seated hatred of his schoolmates rises to the surface.


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Semi-Tough (1978)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh, Brian Dennehy

semi-tough-dvdBurt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson star as two pro-football pals who both fall for the team-owner’s very rich daughter. Kind of goofy, kind of funny, and somewhat endearing–those are the qualities that surface in this light-hearted comedy built upon an extremely predictable scenario.

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Varsity Blues (1999)

Starring James Van Der Beek, Amy Smart, Jon Voight

Varsity_Blues_dvdIn his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. Uncompromising and omnipotent, Kilmer is deified in the small Texas town as long as the team is winning. But when star quarterback Lance Harbor suffers a season-ending injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of second-string quarterback Jonathan Moxon. His irreverent attitude and approach to football come into direct conflict with the coach’s inflexible game plan.

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The Waterboy (1998)

Starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed

The-WaterBoy-dvdBobby Boucher, a socially inept 31-year-old from the swamps of Louisiana, is home schooled and sheltered by his over-protective Mama. His only contact with society is his “water boy” job for a college team where the players relentlessly make fun of him, and his coach doesn’t let him fight back. This all changes when Bobby gets a new coach who lets him stand up for himself. Bobby finally releases years of pent-up rage and is transformed into the most devastating tackler on the team. Now Bobby has to learn how to play football and go to college, all behind his Mama’s back. Let’s just hope Mama doesn’t find out!

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We Are Marshall (2006)

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, David Strathairn, Ian McShane

we-are-marshall-dvd2A true story, based on devastating events, set in Huntington, West Virginia, about a small town steeped in the rich tradition of college football. For decades, players, coaches, fans and families have come together to cheer on Marshall University’s “Thundering Herd.” For this team and this community, Marshall football is more than just a sport, it’s a way of life. But on a fateful night in 1970, while traveling back to Huntington after a game in North Carolina, 75 members of Marshall’s football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall’s football program and in the process helped to heal a community.

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Wildcats (1986)

Starring Goldie Hawn, James Keach, Swoosie Kurtz, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson

wildcats-dvdGoldie Hawn plays a physical education teacher who gets a chance to coach an inner-city high school football team. If that sounds contrived, it is, but in the hands of director Michael Ritchie (Smile), the jokes all fire, and there’s plenty of comedy teased out in details. (The cheerleading squad has some funny moments just belting out their morale-boosting chants.) The supporting cast has a couple of significant up-and-comers: Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.

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Here are a couple more related posts to check out from this blog

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4 Responses

  1. Paper Lion is fun to watch because of all the real Lion players used in the movie. Karras, Gordy, Vaughn, Barney, Plum, Sweetan, Kramer, Brown, etc.

    Good flick!

  2. […] are on this extensive alphabetical list: Best Football Movies of All Time – Gridiron Action. I hope I am not the only one who remembers Disney’s “Gus” from […]

  3. Remember the Titans…. Pure Brilliance # 1

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