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The Gavel's Top 10 Sport's Movies of All-Time

While sports at the collegiate and professional level remain on hold for the foreseeable future, sports enthusiasts, like those of us here at The Gavel, are craving for anything we can get our hands on. Whether that means rewatching old highlights of your favorite sports team on YouTube or watching current NBA players play NBA 2K20 on ESPN (not as exciting as it sounds), we are all trying to cure that insatiable desire for sports in some way.

The Gavel is bringing you our official ranking on the "Top 10 Sport's Movies of All-Time," as chosen by our staff, to get by this quarantine hiatus. Given a list of 25 movies, staff writers and editors ranked their ten favorite movies, with varying weighted-points awarded to first place, second place, third place, and so on.

No matter if you are a sports fan or not, there is a sports film out there for everyone. Without further ado, here is the list:

Honorable Mentions:

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

A Will Ferrell classic follows the life of a NASCAR champion, Ricky Bobby, pitted against a French Formula One superstar, Jean Girard, both vying for the top of the sport.

"Talladega Nights is more than just a sports comedy, but a classic tale of redemption in which the title character (Will Ferrell) must regain his confidence after a traumatic crash knocks him from his place at the pinnacle of the racing world. Ferrell and John C. Reilly showcase the chemistry which made Stepbrothers such a hit, but their mantra, 'if you’re not first, you’re last,' will certainly leave them disappointed with their place on this list." -Joe Birdsall

Remember the Titans (2000)

This film based on a true story follows the 1971 season of a high school football team in Virginia while being led by their African-American head coach (played by Denzel Washington) after the Civil Rights Movement. Filled with emotion and inspiration, Remember the Titans is a classic through its a combination of social commentary and sports.

Space Jam (1996)

It is surprising to see Space Jam not crack the "Top 10," given its lore among today's young adolescents, but nonetheless, it is perhaps one of the greatest basketball movies ever created because of the battle between the Looney Tunes and the Nerdlucks. It also features some NBA studs including Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and of course Michael Jordan.

10) Caddyshack (1980)

At the time, Caddyshack was heralded as one of the funniest movies of its time because it is laced with gaudy, slapstick jokes from comedians Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield. The plot centers around a young caddy and his growth by learning from those around him, but the audience isn't really concerned with this central storyline. What really makes Caddyshack so funny are the interactions between the greenskeeper, played by Murray, and the gopher who tries to destroy his golf course.

9) Happy Gilmore (1996)

A discouraged hockey player—played by Adam Sandler—tries his luck in a golf tournament in order to win a cash prize that will save his grandmother's house from being lost. He competes with the ultimate antagonist Shooter McGavin to get the girl, win the tournament, and save the day.

"When people ask me what my favorite sports movie is, my mind always gravitates towards Happy Gilmore. I would always watch this movie with my family, who share the love for both golf and comedies. I love as Happy tries to bring his rough, loud hockey etiquette onto the golf course. The underrated subplot at the nursing home with Ben Stiller and the grandmother makes the movie that much better." - Matt DeMerlis

8) Field of Dreams (1989)

"If you build it, he will come." Those iconic words uttered at the beginning of the movie lay the ground for a fantastic reality where some of the game's greatest players all join up to play on a cornfield in the middle of Iowa. It truly is the dream for a fan of any sport to see the greats, who dominated in different decades, all come together to face off against one another. Field of Dreams attempts to make that dream come true; of course, your notions of realism have to be lifted in order to enjoy the movie, but hey, what movie isn't like that?

7) Rocky (1976)

Rocky is the true underdog story. A small-time boxer, Rocky Balboa, attempts to get back into the fighting business by rediscovering his talent and getting back to the sport he loves.

"There aren’t many movies with scenes more famous than Rocky’s training montage, culminating in him sprinting up the steps. While Rocky doesn’t come out victorious against Apollo Creed in the end, his ability to even push the fight to a split decision still represents the ultimate underdog mentality. Look at Rocky man, so inspirational."- Jake McNeill

6) 42 (2013)

42 follows the heroic life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. Robinson embodies true courage by standing in the face of racism and blowing the league away with his immense talent.

"42 was the sports movie that had the biggest impact on me, for sure. I remember being hyped to see it opening night and having to sneak in with a ticket to GI Joe when 42 was inevitably sold out. The Phillies’ manager at the time being shown in a pretty ugly light, as he heckled and abused Jackie from the dugout, is a scene I will never forget." - Brennan Rietzke

5) Hoosiers (1986)

Ah yes, the high-school basketball experience, what a time. Hoosiers captures the high-school spirit by following a small school in Indiana and their road to the state championship. The team is seemingly unprepared for the task at hand, but the one-time college head coach Normal Dale tries to rally his ragtag group of local boys up for success.

4) The Blind Side (2009)

The Blindside covers the real-life story of the relationship between Michael Oher and his foster mom Leigh Anne Tuohy and how he was given the right environment to succeed and display his football talent at the next level.

"A large part of my love for this movie came a few years after its release when I was introduced to one of my favorite authors in Michael Lewis. Despite the controversy surrounding its accuracy, depiction of race, and nauseating spotlight cast on Michael Oher, The Blind Side is a heartwarming, emotional, and humorous underdog story that is easy to love regardless of your affinity for sports. My favorite memory of the movie though doesn’t even come from the movie itself, but instead from its parody at the 2010 ESPYS. "The Darkside” features Peyton Manning in a starring role, who interestingly enough attended the same high school as Michael Lewis in Louisiana." - Sean Rietzke

3) The Sandlot (1993)

A group of friends shares their friendship playing the one game they know and love together, baseball. There are some iconic quotes from this movie ("You're killing me Smalls!"), and it teaches great life lessons to aspiring athletes growing up.

"The Sandlot holds a lot of memories for me and my brother in our childhood house in Arizona. My brother is almost eight years older than me, so agreeing on what movies to watch when we were younger didn’t happen a lot. The Sandlot ended up always being our go-to, it had everything we both loved as kids, comedy and sports, rolled up into one classic movie." - Lillie Clifton

2) Miracle (2004)

The United States Men's Hockey Team, a team that had not won gold since 1960, competed against the rest of the field (dominated by Finland, Sweden, Canada, and Russia) in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Led by coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, the squad must defy all odds and reach the top. Can there be a story more representative of David and Goliath? This movie is a must-watch. Period.

"Miracle recounts the story of hockey’s greatest upset, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team’s victory over the USSR. The emotional connection the film builds between the audience and the players, along with the iconic Herb Brooks speech, cements the movie as one of the best."- Jake McNeill

1) Moneyball (2011)

The 2011 film was the overwhelming favorite among The Gavel staff writers and editors, but may this be a case of the recency bias from a young crowd? Regardless, the film adaptation of the famous Michael Lewis book sports a star-studded cast (Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt) and captures how the small-market Oakland Athletics were able to achieve success with a low budget and a statistical approach that found the best hidden gems on the market. Ultimately, Moneyball embodies the notion that goals are not always achieved in a linear fashion. Without a doubt, a must-watch for any film enthusiast!

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