Happy Independence Day! Here's to 240 beautiful years of freedom.
There are countless movies that chronicle American history and the American dream, but perhaps none manages to capture the true spirit of perseverance quite like the American sports movie. Later tonight after the fireworks have faded, keep your patriotism running high with these seven inspiring sports movies that will make you bleed red, white and blue.
1. Remember The Titans (2000)
In a push to integrate the staff at a high school in 1970s Virginia, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) gets brought in as the head coach, displacing Bill Yoast (Will Patton) in the process and stirring up racial tensions in the community. The story of overcoming the odds and working together never fails to inspire. Plus, little Hayden Panettiere proves she is the perfect all-American girl in the first role of her career.
"In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, it's bigger than Christmas day."
2. Field Of Dreams (1989)
Proof that literally anything is possible in the land of the free. Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a farmer that hears a disembodied voice saying, "If you build it, he will come," and interprets it by building a baseball diamond in his fields. The ghosts of the Chicago White Sox arrive to play the great American past time one last time.
John Kinsella: "Is this heaven?"
Ray Kinsella: "It's Iowa".
John Kinsella: "Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven."
3. A League Of Their Own (1992)
When World War II breaks out and takes most of the major league baseball players off to war, the first all-women's team steps up to the plate. Tom Hanks plays the washed-up team manager, Jimmy Dugan, and Geena Davis, Lori Petty and Madonna are the unforgettable Peaches.
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
4. Hoosiers (1986)
The true story of a small town basketball team from Indiana and the man that leads them to a national championship will hit you right in the feels and remind you what is great about the American midwest.
"If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners."
5. Rudy (1993)
Rudy Ruettiger always dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. Despite his small size and modest Irish Catholic roots, he grit his teeth and worked hard 24/7 in order to achieve his goals. Starring Sean Astin as the titular character Rudy embodies all that is sacred about the American "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" philosophy.
"You're 5 foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you're gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen. Now go on back."
6. All The Rockys
The film that kicked off one of the most iconic movie franchises of all time, the original Rocky is an American classic, and every one thereafter has its own special place in our hearts. If this theme song doesn't make you want to go the distance, nothing will. For even more Rocky, check out this ranking of all the films in the franchise, or read about what makes Rocky Balboa a true American hero.
"Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood."
7. Miracle (2004)
Last but most certainly not least, no list of patriotic sports movies would be complete without Miracle; the timeless, true story of the hockey team of misfits that went on to win the Olympics.
"Great moments... are born from great opportunity."