Football season has officially kicked-off, and fans everywhere will be glued to their televisions, rooting for their favorite team until after the college football playoffs and the Super Bowl. Given the popularity of the sport, Hollywood has attempted to cash-in on the football craze by making numerous football-themed films over the years.
So in between your already filled Saturdays and Sundays, you should make time for these best 10 football films of all time.
10. 'Number One' (1969)
Before he became a right-wing NRA nut-job, Charlton Heston was actually a talented actor. He shined in Number One, playing an aging quarterback for the New Orleans Saints who fails to accept his glory days are behind, while also struggling to maintain his relationship with his wife, played by Jessica Walter. While Heston broke his ribs while performing his own stunts and was criticized for not having an athletic bone in his body, the film is a great character piece. Fun fact: this film did not see the light of day on DVD until MGM finally released it on digital format in 2015.
9. 'The Longest Yard' (1974 And 2005 Versions)
The original 1974 film with Burt Reynolds is one of the edgiest dark comedies of all time, and is a classic Reynolds star-vehicle. While the 2005 remake doesn't have the same edge as the original, the film boasts a memorable supporting cast that delivers laughs throughout the film and features an unusually reserved performance from star Adam Sandler. Also, Nelly's "Here Comes the Boom" is a football anthem still used to this very day, and for good reason. Both are worth the watch.
8. 'The Waterboy' (1998)
Perhaps Adam Sandler's best film, The Waterboy is a hilarious football comedy. Sandler shows off his comedic chops as Bobby Boucher, and also features a great comedic turn by Academy Award winner Kathy Bates as Boucher's mom. The movie's jokes still hold up today and is one of the most quoted comedies of the last 20 years.
7. 'Rudy' (1993)
The epitome of the underdog story, Rudy is one of best crowd pleasing sports films of all time, with Sean Astin shining as Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger. It perfectly captures the magic of playing for Notre Dame's historic football program, while also delivering a great message by showing how hard work and dedication can lead to one achieving their dreams. It also features one of the most iconic football movie images of all time, with fellow Notre Dame teammates carrying Rudy off the field at the film's climax.
6. 'Varsity Blues' (1999)
If there was ever a film that captured the grasp high school football has over small towns in Texas, it's Varsity Blues. While there are numerous unrealistic scenes of high schoolers committing acts of debauchery even colleges on NCAA probation would blush at, the football action is intense. Furthermore, the performances of James Van Der Beek as a back-up quarterback finally getting his shot at glory and Jon Voight as a power-hungry coach make Varsity Blues a football film classic.
5. 'Friday Night Lights' (2004)
While it helps that it's based on real life events, Friday Night Lights is a more realistic take on the stranglehold high school football has on Texas. Featuring a tremendous performance by Billy Bob Thornton, who delivers one of the most motivating speeches ever captured on film, Friday Night Lights transports you back to the glory days as you embark on an emotional journey through Permian High School's tumultuous 1988 season.
4. 'Jerry Maguire' (1996)
Some may argue Jerry Maguire isn't really a football film and is more of a romantic comedy, but whats wrong with adding a little romance to football? The film gives us a different perspective on the sport as we follow Tom Cruise as an agent attempting to salvage his career by signing his last remaining client. He hopes that loudmouth wide receiver, Rod Tidwell, can be signed to a big money contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Tidwell, and with so many quotable lines such as "Show me the money, Jerry!" and "You had me at hello," it's impossible to exclude Jerry Maguire from this list.
3. 'Remember The Titans' (2000)
A film that handles the real life subject matter of Coach Herman Boone and racial tensions with grace, Remember the Titans is a triumph. Featuring excellent performances from Denzel Washington and Will Patton as the coaches of the recently desegregated T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, Remember the Titans is an excellent football film. It's also one of the most emotionally resonating sports films of all time, and if you're not crying by the film's end, your heart just isn't in the game.
2. 'Brian's Song' (1971)
Most television movies don't hold a candle to theatrically released films, but Brian's Song is an exception. Based on the true story of the relationship between Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Gayle Sayers (Billy Dee Williams), Brian's Song packs an emotional punch like no other football film. It holds up to this day as one the best tales of a rivalry turned friendship, and is one of the most effective tearjerkers of all time.
1. 'Any Given Sunday' (1999)
Perhaps misunderstood at the time of its release, Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday is a mirror image of the NFL today. Featured subject matters include a quarterback controversy, a power struggle between a legendary head coach and young upstart General Manager and the degeneration of the personal lives of professional football players. Any Given Sunday feels more like a documentary than a fictitious piece of work, especially today. With the added help of an ensemble cast consisting of Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods and Jamie Foxx, Any Given Sunday is a football masterpiece.
What is your favorite football movie? Did I miss it on my list? Let me know in the comments below!