5 Best Sports Movies Of All Time

We've all suffered through our share of sappy romance films and mindless, Vin Diesel-led action films where everything blows up in the first 15 minutes.

Sometimes all we need is a bowl of popcorn, our favorite recliner (and/or significant other), and a movie that makes us realize just why we're all such BATPOOP CRAZY sports fans in the first place. Here's our list of the 5 Best Sports Movies Of All Time.

5) The Sandlot

A sentimental favorite to be sure. Perhaps it's not the most epic sports movie of all time and some of the humor doesn't compute when you're 30 and haven't shaved in a week compared to when you were 12 and carrying a baseball bat around at all times (Moving on...) This is THE classic coming-of-age movie, set in the 1960s, and it captures just what baseball means to a lot of us diamond junkies. Scotty Smalls is our hero.

4) Hoop Dreams

Essential viewing for any high school athlete, this documentary follows two prep basketball players (William Gates and Arthur Agee) attempting to escape the poor sections of Chicago through basketball immortality. This movie is why you should donate to public broadcasting if you ever have the expendable cash. PBS' funding of Hoop Dreams brought one of the most realistic, poignant portraits of true American life to the forefront on people's movie and television screens.

3) Rocky

If you haven't jogged on the steps of your local school with your hands raised high in the air, you're doing it wrong. We're not singling out any of the Rocky movies per se, because they all follow the same simple plot of Sylvester Stallone fighting the good fight against a host of hulking, sometimes Russian baddies. You don't have to think too hard about these films, but that's the great part. Sometimes it's better to just get it lost in the feeling a movie (or movies) gives you.

2) Hoosiers

It may draw some audible gasps that this quintessential piece of Americana isn't entrenched at #1, but that's no indictment on Hoosiers whatsoever. The story of small town Indiana boys who stuck it to the big-city brats in the state championship (and inspired by the true story of the 1954 Milan High state championship team), this film taps into the balance of insecurity and joy of both adolescence and sports like no movie has before or after it. Plus, this is the film that cemented Gene Hackman's (coach Norman Dale)place on the sports film Mount Rushmore.

1) Raging Bull

Robert De Niro has a laundry list of transcendent roles to his credit (Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver comes to mind), but his Academy Award-winning portrayal of trouble boxer Jake LaMotta may be his finest. Martin Scorsese's masterclass in American cinema draws you in both emotional and viscerally, punching you in the gut (pun only slightly intended) repeatedly with one of the most finely-crafted story arcs in the history of sports movies. In fact, the American Film Institute rated Raging Bullas the 24th best movie of all time, cementing it as essential viewing for both sports fans and cinema connoisseurs.

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Related Topics: Raging Bull, Best Sports Films, Hoosiers