Feature Blogs

My Top 5 Sporting Movies

Created on Tuesday, 15 February 2005 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey


I’ve been focusing so heavily on the Oscars over the past few weeks that I thought a quick break is in order. Next week’s super Oscar issue will satisfy those still interested.


Million Dollar Baby is one of the best sporting films I’ve seen. Not that I’ve seen a lot. I’ve missed such classics as Rocky, Raging Bull and Bill Durham. But hey, we can’t see them all.


So with that said, here are my 5 favourite sporting films (apart from Million Dollar Baby)…




Why haven’t you seen this yet??? Released in 1993, Rudy is the story of Daniel Ruettiger. He was never built as a footballer but he trained and trained and trained in the hope of playing for Notre Dame. How it all ends is simply majestic. You can’t help but be inspired. And yep, it’s a true story.


What I remember most about the movie is the soundtrack – you’ll recognize it I’m sure and it was composed by the late Jerry Goldsmith (who passed away last year). Starring Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings) as Rudy, make sure you never pass over a chance to see it.


A League Of Their Own


How good is Tom Hanks in this movie? From the moment he first walks into that dressing room, Hanks is a riot! Released in 1992 and starring the likes of Geena Davis and Madonna, A League Of Their Own is the true story of a women’s baseball league which rose to prominence in America during World War II.


Featuring a bittersweet ending, this is a sporting movie with it all – plenty of laughs and plenty of excitement.




As a golfer who’s currently playing off a handicap of 1.9 (note the shameless plug), I feel in a position to declare this as the best golf film ever made. I could quote a hundred lines from this hilarious comedy featuring the brilliant Bill Murray and the late Rodney Dangerfield. Who will ever forget the line – “hey did someone step on a duck?” Don’t forget Chevy Chase either!!!


Released in 1980, it’s got that 80s look and the humor to match. I don’t think I’ve seen any one sporting film as many times.


The Natural


I’ve always been a bit of a baseball fan and The Natural with Robert Redford is the pick of all baseball movies. Released in 1984, it centres on a baseball players who becomes an overnight sensation.


This isn’t a cheap Hollywood “rags to riches” story. It’s treated with precision and features beautiful cinematography and a music score from Randy Newman. I’ll always remember that baseball struck high into the floodlights.


Varisty Blues


I suppose I better go with at least one modern film. I’m not the biggest fan of teen films but Varsity Blues with James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker hit a note for me. I’ve got the film’s poster on my wall with the memorable tagline – “make your own rules”.


Released in 1999, it treads familiar territory in looking at the pressure an overbearing father can put on his son. There’s a similar film out in a couple of weeks here in Australia – Friday Night Lights (which I hear is quite good). I know some won’t rate it highly but I enjoyed this film a great deal.


That’ll do it for now. If I had to include one more, it’d have to be Crackerjack. Best Australian sporting film ever made.