150 Best Sports Movies of All Time

In the arena of the sports movie, every story can be told. The impossible underdog team that survives a brutal season into the final game. The kid who’s just starting out and the veteran being pulled back into the game, who both share the same odds: Against. Stories of the power of coming together as a selfless team, and myths of individual strength when you remove all the limits. Sports movies make us cheer, laugh, cry, and scream. They even make us think about renewing that gym membership.

We’re going all the way to the end zone with our list of the 150 Best Sports Movies of All Time, sorted by Adjusted Tomatometer from at least 20 reviews each. (The Adjusted Tomatometer is our special formula which takes into account, among other factors, the movie’s year of release and its number of reviews.) Just about every sport ever played is here: football (Rudy), baseball (Bull Durham), hockey (Miracle), soccer (Bend It Like Beckham), boxing (Rocky), ice skating (I, Tonya). There’s racing: by foot (Without Limits), by car (Talladega Nights), by horse (Seabiscuit). We got fictional sports (Rollerball) and sports we made up through sheer tyranny of will (Murderball). If it’s in the spirit of competition, it’s in this list.

Because this is a movie list, there are no TV movies (we pour one out for Brian’s Song), and nothing rated Rotten — even fan favorites like Any Given Sunday. Please deal with your rage accordingly before continuing.

And with our most recent updates, we welcome in new popular hits like Ben Affleck’s The Way Back, Best Picture nominee Ford v Ferrari, wrestling family drama Fighting With My Family, the vertigo-inducing Free Solo, and Maiden, about the first all-woman crew in a global yacht race.

Ready? For the leisure, life, and love of the game, here are the 150 Best Sports Movies of All Time!

#150

Blue Crush (2002)
62%

#150
Adjusted Score: 65422%
Critics Consensus: The surfing sequences are exhilarating, but the plot is pretty forgettable and trite.
Synopsis: Nothing gets between Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and her board. Living in a beach shack with three roommates including her... [More]
Directed By: John Stockwell

#149
Adjusted Score: 66004%
Critics Consensus: Despite all the underdog sports movie conventions, the likable cast and lush production values make The Greatest Game Ever Played a solid and uplifting tale.
Synopsis: Blue-collar Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) fights class prejudice while mastering golf, a game guarded by the upper crust. Employed as... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#148

The Express (2008)
62%

#148
Adjusted Score: 65425%
Critics Consensus: The Express crosses the goal line as an inspirational sports drama, although fans of the genre will recognize many -- if not most -- of its clichés.
Synopsis: Born into poverty, Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) overcomes many obstacles to get into Syracuse University's football program. Under the guidance... [More]
Directed By: Gary Fleder

#147

Rocky III (1982)
66%

#147
Adjusted Score: 68160%
Critics Consensus: It's noticeably subject to the law of diminishing returns, but Rocky III still has enough brawny spectacle to stand in the ring with the franchise's better entries.
Synopsis: Having become the world heavyweight champion, former working-class boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is rich and famous beyond his wildest... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#146

Cobb (1994)
65%

#146
Adjusted Score: 66801%
Critics Consensus: Tommy Lee Jones's searing performance helps to elevate Cobb above your typical sports biopic; he's so effective, in fact, that some may find the film unpleasant.
Synopsis: Baseball legend Ty Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones) pressures biographer Al Stump (Robert Wuhl) to whitewash the sordid details of his... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#145

Bring It On (2000)
64%

#145
Adjusted Score: 67406%
Critics Consensus: Despite the formulaic, fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading instead of taking itself too seriously.
Synopsis: The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#144
Adjusted Score: 68227%
Critics Consensus: Though formulaic, this horse story's saving grace is its strong performances.
Synopsis: Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) is a horse trainer who is struggling to connect with his precocious daughter, Cale (Dakota Fanning).... [More]
Directed By: John Gatins

#143

Secretariat (2010)
64%

#143
Adjusted Score: 68707%
Critics Consensus: Rousing, heartwarming, and squarely traditional, Secretariat offers exactly what you'd expect from an inspirational Disney drama -- no more, and no less.
Synopsis: Despite her lack of experience, housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over management of the family... [More]
Directed By: Randall Wallace

#142

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#142
Adjusted Score: 68719%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#141

Race (2016)
63%

#141
Adjusted Score: 71768%
Critics Consensus: Race is nowhere near as thrillingly fleet or agile as its subject, but the story -- and a winning central performance from Stephan James -- are enough to carry it over the finish line.
Synopsis: Young Jesse Owens (Stephan James) becomes a track and field sensation while attending the Ohio State University in the early... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#140

Coach Carter (2005)
64%

#140
Adjusted Score: 69701%
Critics Consensus: Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson.
Synopsis: In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#139

Rollerball (1975)
68%

#139
Adjusted Score: 69687%
Critics Consensus: In Rollerball, social commentary collides with high-speed action -- and the audience is the winner.
Synopsis: The year is 2018 in a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries. A violent futuristic game known as Rollerball... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#138
#138
Adjusted Score: 70003%
Critics Consensus: Pleasant to a fault, Million Dollar Arm is a middle-of-the-plate pitch that coasts on Jon Hamm's considerable charm without adding any truly original curves to Disney's inspirational sports formula.
Synopsis: In a last-ditch effort to save his career, sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) plans to find baseball's next star... [More]
Directed By: Craig Gillespie

#137

More Than a Game (2008)
71%

#137
Adjusted Score: 71317%
Critics Consensus: Though the film may not delve as deep as some would prefer, More Than a Game is an inspiring documentary featuring likable youngsters, a positive message, and some exciting in-game footage.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Kristopher Belman chronicles the early career of basketball superstar LeBron James. James and four other talented teammates were a... [More]
Directed By: Kristopher Belman

#136

Fever Pitch (2005)
65%

#136
Adjusted Score: 71756%
Critics Consensus: While not a home run, Fever Pitch has enough charm and on-screen chemistry between the two leads to make it a solid hit.
Synopsis: When Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon), a young teacher, begins dating pretty businesswoman Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), the two don't seem... [More]

#135

Olympic Dreams (2019)
70%

#135
Adjusted Score: 72491%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's mainly distinguished by its unique setting, Olympic Dreams remains a romcom with a heartfelt story and likable leads.
Synopsis: A young cross-country skier bonds with a volunteer doctor in the Olympic athletes village.... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Teicher

#134

Rocky II (1979)
71%

#134
Adjusted Score: 72156%
Critics Consensus: Rocky II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog -- and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax.
Synopsis: Although working-class Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) lost his high-profile bout with the cocky world champion Apollo Creed (Carl... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#133

Ali (2001)
68%

#133
Adjusted Score: 72998%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps no film could fully do justice to the fascinating life and personality of Muhammad Ali, Mann's direction and Smith's performance combine to pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: With wit and athletic genius, with defiant rage and inner grace, Muhammad Ali forever changed the American landscape. Fighting all... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#132
#132
Adjusted Score: 72928%
Critics Consensus: Beastie Boy Adam Yauch proves his worth as a director with Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, a fun-filled chronicle of the top high school hoopsters of 2006.
Synopsis: Rucker Park in New York City's Harlem has been host to many legends, such as Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Yauch

#131

The Blind Side (2009)
66%

#131
Adjusted Score: 74361%
Critics Consensus: It might strike some viewers as a little too pat, but The Blind Side has the benefit of strong source material and a strong performance from Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#130

The Karate Kid (2010)
66%

#130
Adjusted Score: 73968%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as powerful as the 1984 edition, but the 2010 Karate Kid delivers a surprisingly satisfying update on the original.
Synopsis: When his mother's career results in a move to China, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) finds that he is a... [More]
Directed By: Harald Zwart

#129

Tin Cup (1996)
72%

#129
Adjusted Score: 73795%
Critics Consensus: Breezy and predictable, Tin Cup is a likeable sports comedy that benefits greatly from Kevin Costner's amiable lead performance.
Synopsis: Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) was a golf pro with a bright future, but his rebellious nature and bad attitude cost... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#128
Adjusted Score: 75035%
Critics Consensus: Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable is far more risk-averse than its thrill-seeking subject, but still provides a reasonably inspiring introduction to her story.
Synopsis: One of the most accomplished athletes of her generation, Bethany Hamilton, became a surfing wunderkind when she returned to the... [More]
Starring: Bethany Hamilton
Directed By: Aaron Lieber

#127
#127
Adjusted Score: 74782%
Critics Consensus: Taking full advantage of the large IMAX screen, Ultimate X is a thrill ride for extreme sports junkies and novices alike.
Synopsis: Bruce Hendricks highlights events of the 2001 Summer X Games, including skateboarding, BMX biking and the street luge.... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Hendricks

#126
Adjusted Score: 75821%
Critics Consensus: Proudly profane and splendidly silly, Dodgeball is a worthy spiritual successor to the goofball comedies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Average Joe's Gym and its owner, Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), are both down on their luck. A fancy competing... [More]

#125

Personal Best (1982)
73%

#125
Adjusted Score: 74349%
Critics Consensus: Mariel Hemingway has a career-making star turn in this highly physical drama about two Olympic athletes who find each other during competitive training.
Synopsis: Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#124

Jungleland (2019)
73%

#124
Adjusted Score: 76157%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to muscular work from director/co-writer Max Winkler and his stars, Jungleland punches above its weight in a crowded genre.
Synopsis: When a devastating loss in the ring leaves Lion and his manager/brother Stan in debt to a local crime boss,... [More]
Directed By: Max Winkler

#123

Invincible (2006)
72%

#123
Adjusted Score: 77478%
Critics Consensus: As simple and authentic as the gritty South Philly invirons in which it's set in, Invincible sends a uplifting and heartfelt message packed with an athletic enthusiasm that shouldn't be missed.
Synopsis: Lifelong football fan Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) sees his wildest dreams come true when he becomes a member of the... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#122

Blades of Glory (2007)
70%

#122
Adjusted Score: 77996%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the spirited performances of a talented cast - particularly Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as rivals-turned-teammates -- Blades of Glory successfully spoofs inspirational sports dramas with inspired abandon.
Synopsis: Figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) take their intense rivalry too far during the... [More]
Directed By: Will Speck, Josh Gordon

#121
#121
Adjusted Score: 76982%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#120
Adjusted Score: 78908%
Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights' mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner's circle.
Synopsis: NASCAR superstar Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is at the top of his game; adored by fans, a trophy wife by... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#119

Caddyshack (1980)
73%

#119
Adjusted Score: 77315%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#118

The Phenom (2016)
79%

#118
Adjusted Score: 80126%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and emotionally affecting, The Phenom proves a baseball movie can step away from the mound and still deliver a heater down the middle.
Synopsis: A sports therapist (Paul Giamatti) tries to help a troubled rookie pitcher (Johnny Simmons) who grew up with an abusive... [More]
Directed By: Noah Buschel

#117

Cool Runnings (1993)
76%

#117
Adjusted Score: 79071%
Critics Consensus: Cool Runnings rises above its formulaic sports-movie themes with charming performances, light humor, and uplifting tone.
Synopsis: Four Jamaican bobsledders dream of competing in the Winter Olympics, despite never having seen snow. With the help of a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#116

The Hammer (2007)
80%

#116
Adjusted Score: 80793%
Critics Consensus: The Hammer perseveres as both an above-average sports comedy and a perfect starring vehicle for Carolla.
Synopsis: On his 40th birthday, chronic underachiever Jerry Ferro (Adam Carolla) loses his carpentry job and his girlfriend. However, all is... [More]

#115
Adjusted Score: 80846%
Critics Consensus: The harder they come, the harder they fall -- this film shows, in raw, gripping detail, that even skater dudes can't resist the life of the rich and famous. It's more poignant than hard-core, and gives us a portrait of a life run over by the whims of the entertainment industry.
Synopsis: This documentary film explores the life of former skateboarding pro Mark "Gator" Rogowski, who, in 1991, was sentenced to 31... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Helen Stickler

#114

Without Limits (1998)
79%

#114
Adjusted Score: 80522%
Critics Consensus: This drama about American track star and hero Steve Prefontaine intelligently looks at the character of this oft mythologized athlete and features a fantastic performance by Donald Sutherland as Prefontaine's trainer.
Synopsis: Before Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) makes it to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he is an unlikely track star at... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#113
#113
Adjusted Score: 80426%
Critics Consensus: White Men Can't Jump provides a fresh take on the sports comedy genre, with a clever script and a charismatic trio of leads.
Synopsis: Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a white basketball hustler who banks on black players underestimating his skills on the court.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#112

Safety (2020)
80%

#112
Adjusted Score: 82046%
Critics Consensus: Fans of uplifting sports dramas will find Safety in this skillfully told fact-based story about an athlete overcoming adversity.
Synopsis: “Safety” is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#111

Breath (2017)
80%

#111
Adjusted Score: 82277%
Critics Consensus: A coming of age drama with a surfing twist, Breath navigates seemingly familiar waters -- but has surprising depth below the surface.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, in a remote corner of the Western Australian coast, two teenage boys, Pikelet and Loonie, are hungry... [More]
Directed By: Simon Baker

#110

Rudy (1993)
78%

#110
Adjusted Score: 81459%
Critics Consensus: Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.
Synopsis: Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) wants to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but has neither the money for... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#109

The Short Game (2013)
84%

#109
Adjusted Score: 75000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The world's best 7-year-old golfers travel to Pinehurst, N.C., to compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Greenbaum

#108
Adjusted Score: 82810%
Critics Consensus: You don't have to be a soccer fan to enjoy this stylish, breezy slice of 1970s sports history.
Synopsis: This documentary looks back on a time when soccer briefly captured America's attention. The film profiles the North American Soccer... [More]
Starring: Matt Dillon
Directed By: Paul Crowder, John Dower

#107

The Longest Yard (1974)
79%

#107
Adjusted Score: 81967%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts tough and funny, and led by a perfectly cast Burt Reynolds, The Longest Yard has an interesting political subtext and an excellent climax -- even if it takes too long to get there.
Synopsis: An ex-football star doing time is forced by the warden to organize a team of inmates to play against his... [More]
Directed By: Robert Aldrich

#106

Step Into Liquid (2003)
81%

#106
Adjusted Score: 83142%
Critics Consensus: A perfect companion piece to The Endless Summer.
Synopsis: In a documentary shot in waters all over the globe, director Dana Brown takes on tall waves and surfers who... [More]
Starring: Dana Brown
Directed By: Dana Brown

#105

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#105
Adjusted Score: 83074%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#104

Seabiscuit (2003)
77%

#104
Adjusted Score: 84129%
Critics Consensus: A life-affirming, if saccharine, epic treatment of a spirit-lifting figure in sports history.
Synopsis: In the midst of the Great Depression, a businessman (Jeff Bridges) coping with the tragic death of his son, a... [More]
Directed By: Gary Ross

#103

Rocky Balboa (2006)
77%

#103
Adjusted Score: 84717%
Critics Consensus: Implausible but entertaining and poignant, Rocky Balboa finds the champ in fighting form for the first time in years.
Synopsis: Now long-retired, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) runs a Philadelphia eatery and mourns the loss of his beloved wife, Adrian. Yearning to... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#102

The Boxer (1997)
80%

#102
Adjusted Score: 84309%
Critics Consensus: The Boxer is a standard drama that packs a true emotional wallop thanks to the highly tuned central performances.
Synopsis: Rising teen boxer and Belfast native Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) was imprisoned for 14 years after getting involved with the... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#101

Beyond the Mat (1999)
82%

#101
Adjusted Score: 84447%
Critics Consensus: Even if you aren't a fan, Beyond the Mat provides a riveting, perceptive look into the world of professional wrestling by taking a closer look at the people beneath the personas.
Synopsis: "Beyond the Mat," Barry Blaustein's honest, intimate, revealing, highly entertaining, and critically acclaimed behind-the-scenes look at wrestling, takes viewers beyond... [More]
Directed By: Barry W. Blaustein

#100

Miracle (2004)
81%

#100
Adjusted Score: 85821%
Critics Consensus: Kurt Russell's performance guides this cliche-ridden tale into the realm of inspirational, nostalgic goodness.
Synopsis: When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#99

Invictus (2009)
76%

#99
Adjusted Score: 85442%
Critics Consensus: Delivered with typically stately precision by director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.
Synopsis: Following the fall of apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces a South Africa that is racially and... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#98

Major League (1989)
83%

#98
Adjusted Score: 84881%
Critics Consensus: Major League may be predictable and formulaic, but buoyed by the script's light, silly humor -- not to mention the well-built sports action sequences and funny performances.
Synopsis: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians, former showgirl Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), has a sweetheart deal to move the... [More]
Directed By: David S. Ward

#97

Goon (2011)
81%

#97
Adjusted Score: 84988%
Critics Consensus: Goon is a crude slapstick comedy with well-formed characters and a surprising amount of heart.
Synopsis: Though a misfit among his brainy family members, Massachusetts bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) has a knockout punch that... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dowse

#96

Pelotero (2011)
86%

#96
Adjusted Score: 85317%
Critics Consensus: Gripping and surprisingly nuanced, Ballplayer: Pelotero is a frank exploration of the nature of corruption in baseball recruitment.
Synopsis: Two Dominican baseball players face challenges as they try to make it to the Major Leagues.... [More]

#95

McFarland, USA (2015)
80%

#95
Adjusted Score: 84961%
Critics Consensus: Disney's inspirational sports drama formula might be old hat, but McFarland, USA proves it still works -- especially with a talented director and eminently likable star in the mix.
Synopsis: Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California's Central Valley. Coach White... [More]
Directed By: Niki Caro

#94
#94
Adjusted Score: 85172%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 85546%
Critics Consensus: Muddled overall, but perceptive and brutally realistic, North Dallas Forty also benefits from strong performances by Nick Nolte and Charles Durning. Football fans will likely find it fascinating.
Synopsis: A brutal satire of American professional football in which a veteran pass-catcher's individuality and refusal to become part of the... [More]
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff

#92

The Natural (1984)
82%

#92
Adjusted Score: 85279%
Critics Consensus: Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.
Synopsis: On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#91
Adjusted Score: 86433%
Critics Consensus: Overcomes its formulaic storyline thanks to Anthony Hopkins' warm and endearing portrayal of an age-defying thrill seeker.
Synopsis: New Zealander Burt Munro spent years perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle. The year is 1967, and Burt takes his machine... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 85734%
Critics Consensus: Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Alex Gibney chronicles Lance Armstrong's attempt to return to cycling, his admission of doping and subsequent fall from grace.... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 87152%
Critics Consensus: An acute survey of the football-obsessed heartland that succeeds as both a stirring drama and a rousing sports movie.
Synopsis: A small, turbulent town in Texas obsesses over their high school football team to an unhealthy degree. When the star... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 86380%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#87

Cinderella Man (2005)
80%

#87
Adjusted Score: 87609%
Critics Consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 87506%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story of Lithuania's 1992 Olympic basketball team whose athletes won the bronze medal.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Marius A. Markevicius

#85

Looking for Eric (2009)
85%

#85
Adjusted Score: 88245%
Critics Consensus: Ken Loach's latest is an uplifting, entertaining and amusing socio-drama featuring a match-winning performance from Eric Cantona.
Synopsis: Ever since his wife (Stephanie Bishop) left him, Eric Bishop's (Steve Evets) life has fallen apart. His two teen sons... [More]
Directed By: Ken Loach

#84

The Rookie (2002)
84%

#84
Adjusted Score: 87870%
Critics Consensus: A heart-warming sports flick, The Rookie greatly benefits from understated direction and the emotional honesty Dennis Quaid brings to the role of Jim Morris.
Synopsis: A true story about a coach who discovers that it's never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#83

Slap Shot (1977)
83%

#83
Adjusted Score: 84896%
Critics Consensus: Raunchy, violent, and very funny, Slap Shot is ultimately set apart by a wonderful comic performance by Paul Newman.
Synopsis: In the small New England town of Charlestown, the local mill is about to lay off 10,000 workers. The town's... [More]
Directed By: George Roy Hill

#82

Downhill Racer (1969)
85%

#82
Adjusted Score: 85228%
Critics Consensus: Downhill Racer plunges the viewer thrillingly into the action of the sport -- and continues to hold the attention as a thoughtful drama.
Synopsis: A smug and overly self-assured downhill skier, David Chappellet (Robert Redford), joins the American ski team and quickly makes waves... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#81

The Hurricane (1999)
83%

#81
Adjusted Score: 87862%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington is Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#80

Big Fan (2009)
86%

#80
Adjusted Score: 88740%
Critics Consensus: Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic.
Synopsis: Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt), a parking-garage employee, is a huge fan of the New York Giants. He lives at home... [More]
Directed By: Robert D. Siegel

#79

Happy Valley (2014)
89%

#79
Adjusted Score: 88569%
Critics Consensus: Sober, even-handed, and quietly devastating, Happy Valley illuminates the wreckage of a tragedy while leaving viewers room to draw their own conclusions.
Synopsis: In 2011, longtime Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of child sex abuse, rocking... [More]
Starring: Joe Posnanski
Directed By: Amir Bar-Lev

#78

Jerry Maguire (1996)
84%

#78
Adjusted Score: 89300%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache.
Synopsis: When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#77

Early Man (2018)
80%

#77
Adjusted Score: 90372%
Critics Consensus: Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humor that have made the studio a favorite among animation enthusiasts.
Synopsis: A plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe face a grave threat to... [More]
Directed By: Nick Park

#76

42 (2013)
81%

#76
Adjusted Score: 87776%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#75

Fire in Babylon (2010)
91%

#75
Adjusted Score: 90167%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Capt. Clive Lloyd transforms his 1970s-era West Indies cricket team into champions who dominate the sport for many years afterward.... [More]
Directed By: Stevan Riley

#74

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#74
Adjusted Score: 87981%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#73

Tyson (2008)
85%

#73
Adjusted Score: 90680%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, emotional, and frank confessional from Iron Mike that sheds a sympathetic light on one of boxing's most controversial icons.
Synopsis: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson reflects on his tumultuous life both in and out of the ring. Filmmaker James... [More]
Starring: Mike Tyson
Directed By: James Toback

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 90204%
Critics Consensus: Inspiring, compassionate, and with a sly undercurrent of social commentary, Bend It Like Beckham is a lively feel-good movie that genuinely charms.
Synopsis: Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), the daughter of a strict Indian couple (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan) in London, is not permitted... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 90740%
Critics Consensus: This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.
Synopsis: Filmed over a period of seven years, director Ward Serrill profiles Bill Resler, a university professor who coaches a basketball... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ward Serrill

#70

Warrior (2011)
83%

#70
Adjusted Score: 90315%
Critics Consensus: Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock -- and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.
Synopsis: An estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with a... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#69

Eight Men Out (1988)
86%

#69
Adjusted Score: 89569%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less than absorbing for non-baseball fans, but nevertheless underpinned by strong performances from the cast and John Sayles' solid direction.
Synopsis: The Chicago White Sox, who are set to play the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series of 1919, are at... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

#68

Eddie the Eagle (2016)
81%

#68
Adjusted Score: 93632%
Critics Consensus: Eddie the Eagle's amiable sweetness can't disguise its story's many inspirational clichés -- but for many viewers, it will be more than enough to make up for them.
Synopsis: Cut from the Olympic ski team, British athlete Michael "Eddie" Edwards travels to Germany to test his skills at ski... [More]
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher

#67

Whip It (2009)
84%

#67
Adjusted Score: 91770%
Critics Consensus: While made from overly familiar ingredients, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut has enough charm, energy, and good-natured humor to transcend its many cliches.
Synopsis: Bliss Cavendar lives in small-town Texas and yearns to break free of her mother's world of beauty pageants and conformity.... [More]
Directed By: Drew Barrymore

#66

Meru (2015)
88%

#66
Adjusted Score: 90447%
Critics Consensus: Gripping visually as well as narratively, Meru is the rare documentary that proves thought-provoking while offering thrilling wide-screen vistas.
Synopsis: Three elite climbers fight through obsession and loss as they struggle to climb Mount Meru.... [More]

#65
Adjusted Score: 92277%
Critics Consensus: John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection offers a compelling analysis of what made its subject special - and gives audiences a courtside seat to a pivotal match.
Synopsis: Archival footage showcases top-ranked tennis player John McEnroe competing in the 1984 French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in France.... [More]
Directed By: Julien Faraut

#64

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#64
Adjusted Score: 91184%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#63

Up for Grabs (2004)
92%

#63
Adjusted Score: 92144%
Critics Consensus: You don't have to be a baseball fan to be entertained by the absurdities, obsessions, and greed on display in this documentary.
Synopsis: During the final leg of Major League Baseball's 2001 season, Giants batter Barry Bonds scores a historic 73rd home run... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Michael Wranovics

#62

Girlfight (2000)
88%

#62
Adjusted Score: 91715%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Rodriguez gives a compelling performance, despite lack of a boxing background; Karyn Kusama packs a punch with this directorial debut.
Synopsis: Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas. Nothing comes easy for Diana... [More]
Directed By: Karyn Kusama

#61

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#61
Adjusted Score: 93172%
Critics Consensus: The plot is utterly ridiculous, and the soccer in the movie is unlike any ever played anywhere on Earth, but watching Shaolin Soccer, you will probably find it impossible to care.
Synopsis: All his life, an ordinary young man (Stephen Chow) has been treated like dirt. Still, he's never given up believing... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

#60

Field of Dreams (1989)
87%

#60
Adjusted Score: 92115%
Critics Consensus: Field of Dreams is sentimental, but in the best way; it's a mix of fairy tale, baseball, and family togetherness.
Synopsis: When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it,... [More]
Directed By: Phil Alden Robinson

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 92704%
Critics Consensus: Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is compelling viewing even though it spoils the score of the titular college football matchup - and even if you aren't a fan of the sport.
Synopsis: In November 1968, undefeated Ivy League football teams from Harvard and Yale square off in a historic game in which... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kevin Rafferty

#58

Heaven Can Wait (1978)
89%

#58
Adjusted Score: 93322%
Critics Consensus: A throwback to the high-gloss screwball comedies of the 1940s, Heaven Can Wait beguiles with seamless production values and great comic relief from Charles Grodin and Dianne Cannon.
Synopsis: Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, is killed in an auto accident. In the afterlife, Joe... [More]
Directed By: Warren Beatty, Buck Henry

#57

Diego Maradona (2019)
90%

#57
Adjusted Score: 94319%
Critics Consensus: Diego Maradona traces the arc of a standard sports documentary, but illuminates its subject with uncommon clarity and depth.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#56

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#56
Adjusted Score: 97954%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#55

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#55
Adjusted Score: 97954%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#54

Dream Horse (2020)
88%

#54
Adjusted Score: 94506%
Critics Consensus: Spurred on by an excellent Toni Collette, Dream Horse has a comfortably crowd-pleasing gait that makes the most of the story's familiar formula.
Synopsis: The film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town bartender, Jan... [More]
Directed By: Euros Lyn

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 93097%
Critics Consensus: That it's inferior to the original goes without saying, but Paul Newman and Tom Cruise are a joy to watch, and Martin Scorsese's direction is typically superb.
Synopsis: Former pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman) decides he wants to return to the game by taking a pupil.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 93718%
Critics Consensus: Dogtown and Z-Boys is a colorful, exhilarating look at the skateboarding subculture.
Synopsis: "Dogtown and Z-Boys," directed and co-written by skateboard legend-turned-filmmaker Stacy Peralta, is the story of a group of accidental revolutionaries,... [More]
Directed By: Stacy Peralta

#51

Riding Giants (2004)
93%

#51
Adjusted Score: 94969%
Critics Consensus: A great addition to the existing surfing documentaries.
Synopsis: Part sports history, part thrill ride, skateboarder Stacy Peralta's documentary pays homage to the brave, foolish surfers who dare ride... [More]
Directed By: Stacy Peralta

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 95112%
Critics Consensus: A Prayer Before Dawn is far from an easy watch, but this harrowing prison odyssey delivers rich rewards -- led by an outstanding central performance from Joe Cole.
Synopsis: The amazing true story of Billy Moore, an English boxer incarcerated in Thailand's most notorious prison. Thrown into a world... [More]

#49

Pumping Iron (1977)
91%

#49
Adjusted Score: 93896%
Critics Consensus: In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.
Synopsis: This partly real and partly scripted film documents what many consider to be the golden age of bodybuilding that occurred... [More]

#48

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#48
Adjusted Score: 94988%
Critics Consensus: It may adhere to the sports underdog formula, but Hoosiers has been made with such loving craft, and features such excellent performances, that it's hard to resist.
Synopsis: Failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 95221%
Critics Consensus: Bang the Drum Slowly is a touching melodrama that explores the inner workings of a baseball club and its players' personalities with remarkable depth.
Synopsis: When hotshot pitcher Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) is signed to the New York Mammoths, his confident ways quickly win over... [More]
Directed By: John D. Hancock

#46

Red Army (2014)
92%

#46
Adjusted Score: 95522%
Critics Consensus: Fun and fascinating, Red Army delivers absorbing documentary drama for hockey fans and sports novices alike.
Synopsis: Hockey captain Slava Fetisov and four other players form a nearly unbeatable unit known as the "Russian Five," but their... [More]
Directed By: Gabe Polsky

#45

Senna (2010)
93%

#45
Adjusted Score: 96740%
Critics Consensus: Even for filmgoers who aren't racing fans, Senna offers heart-pounding thrills -- and heartbreaking emotion.
Synopsis: Ayrton Senna becomes a three-time Formula One racing champion and Brazil's national hero before his untimely death at age 34.... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#44

The Crash Reel (2013)
96%

#44
Adjusted Score: 96162%
Critics Consensus: Smart, compassionate, and moving, The Crash Reel uses the familiar sport-doc formula to subvert expectations and ask challenging questions about ambition and achievement.
Synopsis: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffers a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. His family stands by his... [More]
Directed By: Lucy Walker

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 97326%
Critics Consensus: Better than your average football pic, Damned United is carried by another star turn from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough.
Synopsis: The story of Brian Clough's 44 day stint as manager of Leeds United Football Club takes place in 1974 England.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#42

Offside (2006)
94%

#42
Adjusted Score: 97022%
Critics Consensus: A spirited film that explores gender politics with comedy, intelligence, and a variety of interesting characters.
Synopsis: Since women are banned from soccer matches, Iranian females masquerade as males so they can slip into Tehran's stadium to... [More]
Directed By: Jafar Panahi

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 96434%
Critics Consensus: While taking full advantage of its subject's colorful baseball career, No No: A Dockumentary also imparts broader, thought-provoking messages that should resonate with viewers who aren't sports fans.
Synopsis: Baseball pitcher Dock Ellis had a controversial life and career, once pitching a no-hitter while high on LSD.... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Radice

#40
Adjusted Score: 96313%
Critics Consensus: Lagaan is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals.
Synopsis: The year is 1893 and India is under British occupation. In a small village, the tyrannical Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne)... [More]
Directed By: Ashutosh Gowariker

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 96373%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: "One Day in September" is a new kind of thriller - one where real lives are at stake and every... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 97498%
Critics Consensus: Gripping even though the outcome is known.
Synopsis: In 1985, two young climbers, Joe Simpson (Brendan Mackey) and Simon Yates (Nicholas Aaron), set out to be the first... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#37

Deep Water (2006)
96%

#37
Adjusted Score: 97632%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts mystery and biography, Deep Water is both an engrossing documentary and an affecting treatise on human folly and obsession.
Synopsis: In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, an inexperienced British sailor, puts up his home as collateral, gains financial backing and enters the... [More]
Starring: Tilda Swinton

#36

Sugar (2008)
92%

#36
Adjusted Score: 97281%
Critics Consensus: Sugar is an exceptionally-crafted film -- part sports flick, part immigrant tale -- with touching and poignant drama highlighted by splendid performances.
Synopsis: Like many young men in the Dominican Republic, 19-year-old Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) dreams of winning a slot... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 96296%
Critics Consensus: The equally tragic and heroic story of Yankee's first baseman Lou Gehrig is eloquently told here with an iconic star turn by Gary Cooper.
Synopsis: This moving biographical drama follows the life of revered baseball player Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper). Championed by sportswriter Sam Blake... [More]
Directed By: Sam Wood

#34
Adjusted Score: 98342%
Critics Consensus: The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg is an affectionate, often very funny portrait of a baseball pioneer.
Synopsis: "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" is a humorous and nostalgic documentary about an extraordinary baseball player who transcended... [More]
Directed By: Aviva Kempner

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 98408%
Critics Consensus: Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a fascinating, informative, entertaining and especially introspective account of the American 'enhancement' culture.
Synopsis: This documentary presents the pervasive use of steroids in sports as an indication of the American obsession with winning at... [More]
Starring: Christopher Bell
Directed By: Christopher Bell

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 100203%
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.
Synopsis: Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer who keeps almost everyone at arm's length, except his... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#31

Breaking Away (1979)
95%

#31
Adjusted Score: 98173%
Critics Consensus: At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.
Synopsis: Dave (Dennis Christopher) and his working-class friends Cyril (Daniel Stern), Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mike (Dennis Quaid) spend their... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#30

Rush (2013)
89%

#30
Adjusted Score: 97522%
Critics Consensus: A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a finely crafted sports drama with exhilarating race sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.
Synopsis: In the mid-1970s, charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) share an intense... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#29

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#29
Adjusted Score: 99782%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#28

Foxcatcher (2014)
87%

#28
Adjusted Score: 97114%
Critics Consensus: A chilling true crime drama, Foxcatcher offers Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum a chance to shine -- and all three of them rise to the challenge.
Synopsis: When wealthy John du Pont (Steve Carell) invites Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to move to his estate and... [More]
Directed By: Bennett Miller

#27

Creed II (2018)
83%

#27
Adjusted Score: 101853%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 98704%
Critics Consensus: The Bad News Bears is rude, profane, and cynical, but shot through with honest, unforced humor, and held together by a deft, understated performance from Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: Hard-drinking, ex-minor-league hopeful Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) grumpily agrees to coach a Little League team at the behest of lawyer-councilman... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 99508%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing documentary that's as much about a time and a place as it is about a fight.
Synopsis: On October 30, 1974, perhaps the most famous heavyweight championship boxing match of all time took place in Kinshasa, Zaire:... [More]
Directed By: Leon Gast

#24
Adjusted Score: 101475%
Critics Consensus: The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki sidesteps sports biopic clichés with a beautifully filmed, well-acted look at the balance between career fulfillment and personal happiness.
Synopsis: Olli Mäki loses a fight for the world championship in the second round by knockout in front of a packed... [More]
Directed By: Juho Kuosmanen

#23

Racing Dreams (2009)
100%

#23
Adjusted Score: 100146%
Critics Consensus: Racing Dreams offers an absorbing peek at the lives of young NASCAR hopefuls that should resonate with racing enthusiasts as well as viewers with no connection to the sport.
Synopsis: Marshall Curry goes behind the scenes of the World Karting Association, a youth racing league that often serves as a... [More]
Starring: Annabeth Barnes
Directed By: Marshall Curry

#22

The Hustler (1961)
96%

#22
Adjusted Score: 99402%
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason give iconic performances in this dark, morally complex tale of redemption.
Synopsis: Story Fast Eddie Felsen (Paul Newman) and his adventures in the world of professional pool. Fast Eddie is a young... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rossen

#21

Undefeated (2011)
96%

#21
Adjusted Score: 99394%
Critics Consensus: It covers familiar sports documentary territory, but Undefeated proves there are still powerful stories to be told on the high school gridiron.
Synopsis: Since its founding in 1899, Manassas High School in North Memphis has never had a football team win a playoff... [More]
Starring: Bill Courtney
Directed By: Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin

#20
Adjusted Score: 100573%
Critics Consensus: The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.
Synopsis: Named "Video Game Player of the Century" in 1999, Billy Mitchell sets a record score in "Donkey Kong" that many... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#19

Win Win (2011)
94%

#19
Adjusted Score: 100625%
Critics Consensus: Rich, wonderful characters and strong performances populate Win Win, with writer/director Thomas McCarthy continuing to emerge as a great American humanist.
Synopsis: Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a struggling, though not overly ambitious, lawyer. As the court-appointed attorney of Leo Poplar (Burt... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#18

Next Goal Wins (2014)
100%

#18
Adjusted Score: 100410%
Critics Consensus: Finding beauty in sports beyond the mere satisfaction of winning, Next Goal Wins is a moving documentary filled with a lovable array of underdogs.
Synopsis: Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into... [More]
Directed By: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#16

Horse Feathers (1932)
97%

#16
Adjusted Score: 99863%
Critics Consensus: Horse Feathers finds the Marx Brothers in fine madcap form, taking aim at an array of timely targets while serving up classic set pieces.
Synopsis: The Marx Brothers take on higher education and football in this riotous comedy. The newly minted president of Huxley University,... [More]
Directed By: Norman Z. McLeod

#15

Changing the Game (2019)
100%

#15
Adjusted Score: 101419%
Critics Consensus: Urgent and empathetic, Changing the Game takes an affecting and admirably nuanced look at young transgender athletes.
Synopsis: This intimate story takes us into the lives of three high school athletes from across the US -- all at... [More]
Directed By: Michael Barnett

#14

Murderball (2005)
98%

#14
Adjusted Score: 102302%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn't mean the fun has to end.
Synopsis: This documentary introduces the U.S. quad rugby team -- a team composed entirely of young paraplegic men. Using special wheelchairs... [More]
Starring:

#13

Raging Bull (1980)
94%

#13
Adjusted Score: 100240%
Critics Consensus: Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.
Synopsis: The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#12

Hoop Dreams (1994)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 101752%
Critics Consensus: One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of all time, Hoop Dreams is a rich, complex, heartbreaking, and ultimately deeply rewarding film that uses high school hoops as a jumping-off point to explore issues of race, class, and education in modern America.
Synopsis: Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St.... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

#11

The Endless Summer (1966)
100%

#11
Adjusted Score: 102254%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown, himself a competition-level surfer, follows surfers Michael Hynson and Robert August on an around-the-world surfing adventure.... [More]
Starring: Bruce Brown
Directed By: Bruce Brown

#10

Bull Durham (1988)
97%

#10
Adjusted Score: 102355%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Costner is at his funniest and most charismatic in Bull Durham, a film that's as wise about relationships as it is about minor league baseball.
Synopsis: In Durham, N.C., the Bulls minor league baseball team has one asset no other can claim: a poetry-loving groupie named... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#9

Maiden (2018)
98%

#9
Adjusted Score: 104747%
Critics Consensus: Enthralling viewing even for audiences with little to no knowledge of or interest in sailing, Maiden pays powerful tribute to a true pioneer.
Synopsis: In 1989 Tracy Edwards leads the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a grueling yachting competition... [More]
Directed By: Alex Holmes

#8

National Velvet (1944)
100%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103403%
Critics Consensus: National Velvet makes the most of a breakout performance from Elizabeth Taylor, delivering a timeless family-friendly tearjerker that avoids straying into the sentimental.
Synopsis: When Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor), an equine-loving 12-year-old living in rural Sussex, becomes the owner of a rambunctious horse, she... [More]
Directed By: Clarence Brown

#7

Moneyball (2011)
94%

#7
Adjusted Score: 104489%
Critics Consensus: Director Bennett Miller, along with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, take a niche subject and turn it into a sharp, funny, and touching portrait worthy of baseball lore.
Synopsis: Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A's, one day has an epiphany: Baseball's conventional wisdom is all... [More]
Directed By: Bennett Miller

#6

Free Solo (2018)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 106087%
Critics Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason - and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.
Synopsis: Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.... [More]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 106889%
Critics Consensus: Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering.
Synopsis: Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Merchant

#4

The Wrestler (2008)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 107601%
Critics Consensus: Mickey Rourke gives a performance for the ages in The Wrestler, a richly affecting, heart-wrenching yet ultimately rewarding drama.
Synopsis: Aging wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is long past his prime but still ready and rarin' to go... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#3

I, Tonya (2017)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 118226%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong work from Margot Robbie and Alison Janney, I, Tonya finds the humor in its real-life story without losing sight of its more tragic -- and emotionally resonant -- elements.
Synopsis: In 1991, talented figure skater Tonya Harding becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition.... [More]
Directed By: Craig Gillespie

#2

Creed (2015)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106968%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#1

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 114308%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

(Photo by Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox Film Corp, TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection)

RT Recommends: 68 Inspiring Sports Movies

We’ve put together the ultimate starting lineup of inspiring sports movies! In no time, you’ll be riding horses, climbing rocks, driving powerful race cars, bolting cross-country, and coaching underdog teams to miraculous victory.

Or they’ll at least get you off the couch.

Some of the most esteemed Certified Fresh inspirational sports movies take on MMA (Warrior), boxing (Creed, Cinderella Man), auto-racing (Rush, Senna), basketball (Hoosiers, He Got Game), hockey (Miracle, Goon). Of course, not everything that glitters is strictly critics’ gold. Which is why we included movies like The Cutting Edge, Stick It, or Lords of Dogtown: They may be lower on the Tomatometer, but they’re high on electric inspiration.

Read on for our recommendations of the most inspiring sports movies of all time! (And you can find them all in Vudu’s inspiring sports movies collection, with most on sale!)

#68

42 (2013)
81%

#68
Adjusted Score: 87776%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 98704%
Critics Consensus: The Bad News Bears is rude, profane, and cynical, but shot through with honest, unforced humor, and held together by a deft, understated performance from Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: Hard-drinking, ex-minor-league hopeful Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) grumpily agrees to coach a Little League team at the behest of lawyer-councilman... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 90204%
Critics Consensus: Inspiring, compassionate, and with a sly undercurrent of social commentary, Bend It Like Beckham is a lively feel-good movie that genuinely charms.
Synopsis: Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), the daughter of a strict Indian couple (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan) in London, is not permitted... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha

#65

Blades of Glory (2007)
70%

#65
Adjusted Score: 77996%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the spirited performances of a talented cast - particularly Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as rivals-turned-teammates -- Blades of Glory successfully spoofs inspirational sports dramas with inspired abandon.
Synopsis: Figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) take their intense rivalry too far during the... [More]
Directed By: Will Speck, Josh Gordon

#64

Brian's Song (1971)
92%

#64
Adjusted Score: 92567%
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by standout performances from James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, Brian's Song is a touching tale of friendship whose central relationship transcends its standard sports movie moments.
Synopsis: Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) are teammates on the mid-1960s Chicago Bears. At a time... [More]
Directed By: Buzz Kulik

#63

Bring It On (2000)
64%

#63
Adjusted Score: 67406%
Critics Consensus: Despite the formulaic, fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading instead of taking itself too seriously.
Synopsis: The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#62

The Bronze (2015)
36%

#62
Adjusted Score: 41580%
Critics Consensus: Enthusiastically unpleasant and mostly unfunny, The Bronze fails to stick the landing -- or much else along the way.
Synopsis: A spoiled and largely forgotten Olympic medalist (Melissa Rauch) takes action when a promising young gymnast (Haley Lu Richardson) threatens... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Buckley

#61

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#61
Adjusted Score: 87981%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#60

Cinderella Man (2005)
80%

#60
Adjusted Score: 87609%
Critics Consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#59

Cool Runnings (1993)
76%

#59
Adjusted Score: 79071%
Critics Consensus: Cool Runnings rises above its formulaic sports-movie themes with charming performances, light humor, and uplifting tone.
Synopsis: Four Jamaican bobsledders dream of competing in the Winter Olympics, despite never having seen snow. With the help of a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#58

Creed (2015)
95%

#58
Adjusted Score: 106968%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#57

The Cutting Edge (1992)
57%

#57
Adjusted Score: 59392%
Critics Consensus: Part contrived romance, part hackneyed sports drama, The Cutting Edge shows how difficult it can be to figure skate through cheese.
Synopsis: Stuck-up figure skating whiz Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly) is denied a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics after a fall.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 97326%
Critics Consensus: Better than your average football pic, Damned United is carried by another star turn from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough.
Synopsis: The story of Brian Clough's 44 day stint as manager of Leeds United Football Club takes place in 1974 England.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#55

Downhill Racer (1969)
85%

#55
Adjusted Score: 85228%
Critics Consensus: Downhill Racer plunges the viewer thrillingly into the action of the sport -- and continues to hold the attention as a thoughtful drama.
Synopsis: A smug and overly self-assured downhill skier, David Chappellet (Robert Redford), joins the American ski team and quickly makes waves... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#54

Eddie the Eagle (2016)
81%

#54
Adjusted Score: 93632%
Critics Consensus: Eddie the Eagle's amiable sweetness can't disguise its story's many inspirational clichés -- but for many viewers, it will be more than enough to make up for them.
Synopsis: Cut from the Olympic ski team, British athlete Michael "Eddie" Edwards travels to Germany to test his skills at ski... [More]
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher

#53

Endurance (1998)
50%

#53
Adjusted Score: 50344%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This docudrama focuses on the life and accomplishments of Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, who won a gold medal at the... [More]

#52

Fair Play (2014)

#52
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the 1980s, Anna, a Czech sprinter, starts training for the Olympics. After she collapses during training, she learns she... [More]
Directed By: Andrea Sedlácková

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 106889%
Critics Consensus: Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering.
Synopsis: Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Merchant

#50

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#50
Adjusted Score: 114308%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#49

Free Solo (2018)
97%

#49
Adjusted Score: 106087%
Critics Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason - and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.
Synopsis: Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.... [More]

#48

Girlfight (2000)
88%

#48
Adjusted Score: 91715%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Rodriguez gives a compelling performance, despite lack of a boxing background; Karyn Kusama packs a punch with this directorial debut.
Synopsis: Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas. Nothing comes easy for Diana... [More]
Directed By: Karyn Kusama

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell are thrown together in the double sculls just five weeks before the final of the... [More]
Directed By: David Blair

#46

Goon (2011)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 84988%
Critics Consensus: Goon is a crude slapstick comedy with well-formed characters and a surprising amount of heart.
Synopsis: Though a misfit among his brainy family members, Massachusetts bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) has a knockout punch that... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dowse

#45

Gracie (2007)
61%

#45
Adjusted Score: 64450%
Critics Consensus: Gracie can be rousing and touching in spots, but is ultimately undone by its predictable story arc and a lack of nuance.
Synopsis: Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder) is the only girl among her parents' four children. Her brothers and father (Dermot Mulroney) eat,... [More]
Directed By: Davis Guggenheim

#44
Adjusted Score: 66004%
Critics Consensus: Despite all the underdog sports movie conventions, the likable cast and lush production values make The Greatest Game Ever Played a solid and uplifting tale.
Synopsis: Blue-collar Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) fights class prejudice while mastering golf, a game guarded by the upper crust. Employed as... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#43

Happy Gilmore (1996)
61%

#43
Adjusted Score: 63868%
Critics Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.
Synopsis: All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#42

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 83074%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#41

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#41
Adjusted Score: 94988%
Critics Consensus: It may adhere to the sports underdog formula, but Hoosiers has been made with such loving craft, and features such excellent performances, that it's hard to resist.
Synopsis: Failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#40

I Am Bolt (2016)
86%

#40
Adjusted Score: 79139%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The career and the legacy of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt.... [More]

#39
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This sequel to "National Velvet" follows Sarah Brown (Tatum O'Neal), a young girl who is sent to England after her... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Forbes

#38

Invictus (2009)
76%

#38
Adjusted Score: 85442%
Critics Consensus: Delivered with typically stately precision by director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.
Synopsis: Following the fall of apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces a South Africa that is racially and... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#37
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this stirring biographical drama, young Native American Jim Thorpe (Burt Lancaster) pursues his dreams of athletic stardom. Mentored by... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz

#36

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#36
Adjusted Score: 91184%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#35
Adjusted Score: 100573%
Critics Consensus: The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.
Synopsis: Named "Video Game Player of the Century" in 1999, Billy Mitchell sets a record score in "Donkey Kong" that many... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#34

Lords of Dogtown (2005)
55%

#34
Adjusted Score: 59525%
Critics Consensus: Lords of Dogtown, while slickly made and edited, lacks the depth and entertaining value of the far superior documentary on the same subject, Dogtown and Z-Boys.
Synopsis: A drought in 1970s Southern California has an unexpected side effect: as people empty their swimming pools, a group of... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 86380%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#32

Maiden (2018)
98%

#32
Adjusted Score: 104747%
Critics Consensus: Enthralling viewing even for audiences with little to no knowledge of or interest in sailing, Maiden pays powerful tribute to a true pioneer.
Synopsis: In 1989 Tracy Edwards leads the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a grueling yachting competition... [More]
Directed By: Alex Holmes

#31

Major League (1989)
83%

#31
Adjusted Score: 84881%
Critics Consensus: Major League may be predictable and formulaic, but buoyed by the script's light, silly humor -- not to mention the well-built sports action sequences and funny performances.
Synopsis: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians, former showgirl Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), has a sweetheart deal to move the... [More]
Directed By: David S. Ward

#30

Meru (2015)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 90447%
Critics Consensus: Gripping visually as well as narratively, Meru is the rare documentary that proves thought-provoking while offering thrilling wide-screen vistas.
Synopsis: Three elite climbers fight through obsession and loss as they struggle to climb Mount Meru.... [More]

#29

Miracle (2004)
81%

#29
Adjusted Score: 85821%
Critics Consensus: Kurt Russell's performance guides this cliche-ridden tale into the realm of inspirational, nostalgic goodness.
Synopsis: When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#28

Nadia (1984)

#28
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci trains as a child (Leslie Weiner) and wins three gold medals as a teen (Johann Carlo)... [More]
Directed By: Alan Cooke

#27

The Natural (1984)
82%

#27
Adjusted Score: 85279%
Critics Consensus: Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.
Synopsis: On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 87506%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story of Lithuania's 1992 Olympic basketball team whose athletes won the bronze medal.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Marius A. Markevicius

#25

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84164%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#24

Personal Best (1982)
73%

#24
Adjusted Score: 74349%
Critics Consensus: Mariel Hemingway has a career-making star turn in this highly physical drama about two Olympic athletes who find each other during competitive training.
Synopsis: Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#23

Prefontaine (1997)
56%

#23
Adjusted Score: 56692%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Olympic defeat matures a selfish distance runner (Jared Leto) into a sports activist before his 1975 death in a car... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

#22

Pride (2007)
47%

#22
Adjusted Score: 50311%
Critics Consensus: Pride features a typically stellar performance from Terrence Howard, but ultimately falls victim to its over usage of sports movie clichés.
Synopsis: In 1970s Philadelphia, Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard), who is driven by a love of competitive swimming, fixes up an abandoned... [More]
Directed By: Sunu Gonera

#21

Pumping Iron (1977)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 93896%
Critics Consensus: In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.
Synopsis: This partly real and partly scripted film documents what many consider to be the golden age of bodybuilding that occurred... [More]

#20

Race (2016)
63%

#20
Adjusted Score: 71768%
Critics Consensus: Race is nowhere near as thrillingly fleet or agile as its subject, but the story -- and a winning central performance from Stephan James -- are enough to carry it over the finish line.
Synopsis: Young Jesse Owens (Stephan James) becomes a track and field sensation while attending the Ohio State University in the early... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#19

Redbelt (2008)
67%

#19
Adjusted Score: 72546%
Critics Consensus: Mamet's mixed marital arts morality play weaves between action and intellect but doesn't always hit its target.
Synopsis: Martial artist Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives by a strict code of no competitions, for he feels that such contests... [More]
Directed By: David Mamet

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 76982%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#16

The Rookie (2002)
84%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87870%
Critics Consensus: A heart-warming sports flick, The Rookie greatly benefits from understated direction and the emotional honesty Dennis Quaid brings to the role of Jim Morris.
Synopsis: A true story about a coach who discovers that it's never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#15

Rudy (1993)
78%

#15
Adjusted Score: 81459%
Critics Consensus: Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.
Synopsis: Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) wants to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but has neither the money for... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#14

Rush (2013)
89%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97522%
Critics Consensus: A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a finely crafted sports drama with exhilarating race sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.
Synopsis: In the mid-1970s, charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) share an intense... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#13

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#13
Adjusted Score: 68719%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#12

Senna (2010)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 96740%
Critics Consensus: Even for filmgoers who aren't racing fans, Senna offers heart-pounding thrills -- and heartbreaking emotion.
Synopsis: Ayrton Senna becomes a three-time Formula One racing champion and Brazil's national hero before his untimely death at age 34.... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#11

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#11
Adjusted Score: 93172%
Critics Consensus: The plot is utterly ridiculous, and the soccer in the movie is unlike any ever played anywhere on Earth, but watching Shaolin Soccer, you will probably find it impossible to care.
Synopsis: All his life, an ordinary young man (Stephen Chow) has been treated like dirt. Still, he's never given up believing... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

#10

Space Jam (1996)
45%

#10
Adjusted Score: 48942%
Critics Consensus: While it's no slam dunk, Space Jam's silly, Looney Toons-laden slapstick and vivid animation will leave younger viewers satisfied -- though accompanying adults may be more annoyed than entertained.
Synopsis: Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Pytka

#9

Stick It (2006)
31%

#9
Adjusted Score: 34716%
Critics Consensus: Director Jessica Bendinger is unable to transfer her winning Bring It On formula to the world of gymnastics, despite Missy Peregrym's strong lead performance.
Synopsis: Haley (Missy Peregrym) is a naturally gifted athlete but, with her social behavior, the teen seems intent on squandering her... [More]
Directed By: Jessica Bendinger

#8

Sugar (2008)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 97281%
Critics Consensus: Sugar is an exceptionally-crafted film -- part sports flick, part immigrant tale -- with touching and poignant drama highlighted by splendid performances.
Synopsis: Like many young men in the Dominican Republic, 19-year-old Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) dreams of winning a slot... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#7

Teen Wolf (1985)
42%

#7
Adjusted Score: 44217%
Critics Consensus: Though Michael J. Fox is as charismatic as ever, Teen Wolf's coming-of-age themes can't help but feel a little stale and formulaic.
Synopsis: When high school nerd Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) learns from his father, Harold (James Hampton), that being a werewolf... [More]
Directed By: Rod Daniel

#6

Unbroken (2014)
51%

#6
Adjusted Score: 60996%
Critics Consensus: Unbroken is undoubtedly well-intentioned, but it hits a few too many of the expected prestige-pic beats to register as strongly as it should.
Synopsis: As a boy, Louis "Louie" Zamperini is always in trouble, but with the help of his older brother, he turns... [More]
Directed By: Angelina Jolie

#5

Victory (1981)
63%

#5
Adjusted Score: 32081%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The head of a German POW camp, soccer enthusiast Karl von Steiner (Max von Sydow) organizes a match between Nazi... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#4

Warrior (2011)
83%

#4
Adjusted Score: 90315%
Critics Consensus: Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock -- and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.
Synopsis: An estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with a... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#3

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97954%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#2

Whip It (2009)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91770%
Critics Consensus: While made from overly familiar ingredients, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut has enough charm, energy, and good-natured humor to transcend its many cliches.
Synopsis: Bliss Cavendar lives in small-town Texas and yearns to break free of her mother's world of beauty pageants and conformity.... [More]
Directed By: Drew Barrymore

#1

Without Limits (1998)
79%

#1
Adjusted Score: 80522%
Critics Consensus: This drama about American track star and hero Steve Prefontaine intelligently looks at the character of this oft mythologized athlete and features a fantastic performance by Donald Sutherland as Prefontaine's trainer.
Synopsis: Before Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) makes it to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he is an unlikely track star at... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

The 33 Best Boxing Movies of All Time

Pugilists have been popular camera subjects since the start — boxing, at the time, being arguably the most interesting thing you do to another person in public. In the odd century-plus that’s passed since, boxing cinema has evolved past mere punching for spectacle. It’s about personal toil. Training. Strength. Sacrifice. Undying commitment to the physical vision. And then it’s about hitting somebody for money. Or respect, sure.

Tonight’s title bout: The best-reviewed boxing movies ever! In one corner, we have heavyweight classics like Rocky and Raging Bull. In the other, hungry newcomers like Creed and Million Dollar Baby. And in another corner (we have a lot of corners): hard-hitting documentaries, repped by When We Were Kings and Unforgivable Blackness. And, yes, we’re going international in this corner: see Knuckle all the way from Ireland, and China Heavyweight, all the way from, er, China. To be a contender, the movie needed to put up a Fresh rating after 20 reviews, before we ranked them with our weighted formula calculating a film’s Tomatometer score, its number of reviews, and year of release.

Think you got what it takes to take on the champs? Hit ’em where it counts! Hit ’em right in the 33 Best Boxing Movies of All Time!

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 64742%
Critics Consensus: While sluggish in spots, Resurrecting the Champ is a sports/newsroom drama elevated by high-caliber performances by Samuel Jackson, Josh Hartnet, and Alan Alda.
Synopsis: Things are not going well for Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett). Erik, a sports reporter, is stuck covering the bush leagues... [More]
Directed By: Rod Lurie

#32

I Am Ali (2014)
64%

#32
Adjusted Score: 64175%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Muhammad Ali's own audio journals, friends, family and fellow boxers provide insight into the extraordinary life and legendary career of... [More]
Directed By: Clare Lewins

#31

Rocky III (1982)
66%

#31
Adjusted Score: 68160%
Critics Consensus: It's noticeably subject to the law of diminishing returns, but Rocky III still has enough brawny spectacle to stand in the ring with the franchise's better entries.
Synopsis: Having become the world heavyweight champion, former working-class boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is rich and famous beyond his wildest... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#30

Before the Fall (2004)
67%

#30
Adjusted Score: 66858%
Critics Consensus: Despite a degree of predictability and cliches, the high production values and sincere performances by the leads elevate this coming-of-age story set in Nazi Germany.
Synopsis: An idealistic boxer (Max Riemelt) bonds with an aspiring writer (Tom Schilling) while training at a Nazi academy.... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Gansel

#29

Real Steel (2011)
60%

#29
Adjusted Score: 69069%
Critics Consensus: Silly premise notwithstanding, this is a well-made Hollywood movie: Thrilling and exciting action with just enough characterization.
Synopsis: Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) used to be a prizefighter but lost his chance to win a title when heavy, towering... [More]
Directed By: Shawn Levy

#28

Ali (2001)
68%

#28
Adjusted Score: 72998%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps no film could fully do justice to the fascinating life and personality of Muhammad Ali, Mann's direction and Smith's performance combine to pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: With wit and athletic genius, with defiant rage and inner grace, Muhammad Ali forever changed the American landscape. Fighting all... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#27

Rocky II (1979)
71%

#27
Adjusted Score: 72156%
Critics Consensus: Rocky II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog -- and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax.
Synopsis: Although working-class Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) lost his high-profile bout with the cocky world champion Apollo Creed (Carl... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#26

Jungleland (2019)
73%

#26
Adjusted Score: 76157%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to muscular work from director/co-writer Max Winkler and his stars, Jungleland punches above its weight in a crowded genre.
Synopsis: When a devastating loss in the ring leaves Lion and his manager/brother Stan in debt to a local crime boss,... [More]
Directed By: Max Winkler

#25

Bleed for This (2016)
70%

#25
Adjusted Score: 77643%
Critics Consensus: Bleed for This rises on the strength of Miles Teller's starring performance to deliver a solid fact-based boxing drama that takes a few genre clichés on the chin but keeps on coming.
Synopsis: Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza (Miles Teller), a local Providence boxer, shoots to stardom after winning two world title fights.... [More]
Directed By: Ben Younger

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 79790%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With the help of a dedicated coach, two teenagers in rural China hope to become successful professional boxers and escape... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Yung Chang

#23

The Hammer (2007)
80%

#23
Adjusted Score: 80793%
Critics Consensus: The Hammer perseveres as both an above-average sports comedy and a perfect starring vehicle for Carolla.
Synopsis: On his 40th birthday, chronic underachiever Jerry Ferro (Adam Carolla) loses his carpentry job and his girlfriend. However, all is... [More]

#22

The Bleeder (2016)
81%

#22
Adjusted Score: 85595%
Critics Consensus: Chuck is hit with a handful of sports biopic clichés but ultimately punches above its weight, largely thanks to a muscular performance from Liev Schreiber.
Synopsis: He was the pride of Bayonne, N.J., a man who went 15 rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. But... [More]
Directed By: Philippe Falardeau

#21

Rocky Balboa (2006)
77%

#21
Adjusted Score: 84717%
Critics Consensus: Implausible but entertaining and poignant, Rocky Balboa finds the champ in fighting form for the first time in years.
Synopsis: Now long-retired, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) runs a Philadelphia eatery and mourns the loss of his beloved wife, Adrian. Yearning to... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#20

The Boxer (1997)
80%

#20
Adjusted Score: 84309%
Critics Consensus: The Boxer is a standard drama that packs a true emotional wallop thanks to the highly tuned central performances.
Synopsis: Rising teen boxer and Belfast native Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) was imprisoned for 14 years after getting involved with the... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#19

Cinderella Man (2005)
80%

#19
Adjusted Score: 87609%
Critics Consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#18

The Hurricane (1999)
83%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87862%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington is Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#17

Killer's Kiss (1955)
82%

#17
Adjusted Score: 82638%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Davey Gordon (Jamie Smith), a New York City boxer aging out of his profession, meets dancer Gloria Price (Irene Kane),... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#16

Tyson (2008)
85%

#16
Adjusted Score: 90680%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, emotional, and frank confessional from Iron Mike that sheds a sympathetic light on one of boxing's most controversial icons.
Synopsis: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson reflects on his tumultuous life both in and out of the ring. Filmmaker James... [More]
Starring: Mike Tyson
Directed By: James Toback

#15

Girlfight (2000)
88%

#15
Adjusted Score: 91715%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Rodriguez gives a compelling performance, despite lack of a boxing background; Karyn Kusama packs a punch with this directorial debut.
Synopsis: Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas. Nothing comes easy for Diana... [More]
Directed By: Karyn Kusama

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 91213%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Rosaria Parondi (Katina Paxinou), an impoverished Italian mother, moves to Milan with her close-knit family of five sons to find... [More]
Directed By: Luchino Visconti

#13

Knuckle (2011)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 94070%
Critics Consensus: A gritty documentary that captures the brutality and banality of bare-knuckle fights among Irish Travellers.
Synopsis: Two feuding Irish families resolve their differences through bare-knuckle boxing.... [More]
Starring: Ian Palmer
Directed By: Ian Palmer

#12

Creed II (2018)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 101853%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#11

The Champ (1931)
95%

#11
Adjusted Score: 97244%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Champ (Wallace Beery) is a down-on-his-luck boxer in Tijuana whose son, Dink (Jackie Cooper), adores him despite Champ's addictions to... [More]
Directed By: King Vidor

#10

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#10
Adjusted Score: 99782%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#9

The Quiet Man (1952)
91%

#9
Adjusted Score: 97218%
Critics Consensus: Director John Ford and star John Wayne depart the Western for the Irish countryside, and the result is a beautifully photographed, often comedic romance.
Synopsis: After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne) leaves America and returns to his native... [More]
Directed By: John Ford

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100203%
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.
Synopsis: Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer who keeps almost everyone at arm's length, except his... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#7
Adjusted Score: 101475%
Critics Consensus: The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki sidesteps sports biopic clichés with a beautifully filmed, well-acted look at the balance between career fulfillment and personal happiness.
Synopsis: Olli Mäki loses a fight for the world championship in the second round by knockout in front of a packed... [More]
Directed By: Juho Kuosmanen

#6

Raging Bull (1980)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 100240%
Critics Consensus: Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.
Synopsis: The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 99508%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing documentary that's as much about a time and a place as it is about a fight.
Synopsis: On October 30, 1974, perhaps the most famous heavyweight championship boxing match of all time took place in Kinshasa, Zaire:... [More]
Directed By: Leon Gast

#4

Rocky (1976)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#3

Fat City (1972)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102105%
Critics Consensus: Fat City is a bleak, mordant, slice of life boxing drama that doesn't pull its punches.
Synopsis: Washed-up boxer Tully (Stacy Keach) is inspired to restart his career after seeing potential in a teenager, Ernie (Jeff Bridges),... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#2

Gentleman Jim (1942)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102356%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jim Corbett (Errol Flynn) is a bare-knuckles boxer, who is determined to rise above his station. Jim and his friend,... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Walsh

#1

Creed (2015)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 106968%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Depicting boxing is a tradition of cinema which traces back to its zoetrope days (echoing the medium’s working class appeal), and in this week’s gallery we look through this history for 24 thoroughly Fresh boxing films.


It’s the beginning of the month again, which means there’s a lot of new choices on streaming services, so we’ve pared it down to the very best, from the Back to the Future and Star Trek franchises to classics like The Shining, The Sting, and more. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) 98%

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell star in Howard Hawks’s classic musical comedy about a showgirl who travels to Paris with a friend in search of a wealthy husband, only to fall in love with a poor private eye instead.

Available now on: Netflix


Back to the Future (1985) 96%

– Franchise

Netflix has added all three films in Robert Zemeckis’s massively popular adventure trilogy, which stars Michael J. Fox as a spunky teenager who is pulled into time-traveling hijinks by his mad scientist friend (Christopher Llloyd).

Available now on Netflix: Back to the Future, Part II, Part III


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 1 (2015) 97%

Rachel Bloom stars in this CW musical comedy series about a career woman who leaves her job and Manhattan lifestyle to find love in California.

Available now on: Netflix


The Sting (1973) 94%

This twisty multiple Oscar-winner (including Best Picture) from George Roy Hill stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman as a pair of grifters who team up on a monumental scam to take down a local racketeer with a lot of enemies.

Available now on: Netflix


Deliverance (1972) 89%

Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight star in John Boorman’s acclaimed adaptation of the eponymous James Dickey novel about a group of friends on a canoe trip in Georgia who are terrorized by unfriendly locals.

Available now on: Netflix


Insomnia (2002) 92%

Christopher Nolan’s remake of the Norwegian thriller of the same name stars Al Pacino as an Alaskan detective who mistakenly shoots his partner while in pursuit of a dangerous killer and Robin Williams as the killer himself, who witnesses the crime and knows the truth.

Available now on: Netflix


A War (2015) 89%

This Danish drama — nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar — follows a soldier in Afghanistan whose decision while under fire has serious consequences.

Available now on: Netflix


Lethal Weapon (1987) 80%

– Franchise

It may have suffered diminishing returns with each sequel, sure, but Richard Donner’s iconic buddy-cop action comedy franchise remains a fan favorite, starring Mel Gibson as perpetual loose cannon Riggs and Danny Glover as his partner Murtaugh, who’s getting too old for this s***.

Available now on Netflix: Lethal Weapon, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


Beverly Hills Cop (1984) 83%

Speaking of action comedies about cops in Los Angeles, Netflix has also added the first two entries (helmed by Martin Brest and Tony Scott, respectively) in this popular franchise powered by Eddie Murphy as fast-talking Detroit transplant Axel Foley.

Available now on Netflix: Beverly Hills Cop, Part II


Mean Girls (2004) 84%

With breakout performances from Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lizzy Caplan, as well as a sharp script from Tina Fey, Mean Girls remains one of the definitive comedies of the 2000s.

Available now on: Netflix


Cinderella Man (2005) 80%

Russell Crowe makes his first appearance on this week’s list in Ron Howard’s Oscar-nominated drama about the life of Depression-era heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock.

Available now on: Netflix


Penny Dreadful: Season 1 (2014) 80%

Eva Green and Timothy Dalton lead an ensemble cast in Showtime’s gothic supernatural drama, which draws characters from classic literature like Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Dracula. With the series officially over, Netflix has added its first two seasons.

Available now on: Netflix


Gladiator (2000) 77%

And here’s Russell Crowe’s second Oscar-nominated (and Oscar-winning, in this case) appearance on this list, namely Ridley Scott’s historical epic about a betrayed Roman general who triumphs in the gladiatorial arena as a means to exact his revenge.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Rosemary's Baby (1968) 96%

Roman Polanski’s chilling adaptation of Ira Levin’s bestselling novel stars Mia Farrow as a young wife who moves with her husband (John Cassavetes) into a new apartment building populated by peculiar tenants, becomes pregnant, and suspects that her child may not be entirely human.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Hannibal: Season 3 (2015) 98%

NBC’s popular series — starring Mads Mikkelsen as the titular psychiatrist with a taste for human flesh — was, by most accounts, cancelled far too soon, but if you want to catch its final season, it’s on Amazon Prime now.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) 86%

Amazon has also added six films from the Star Trek universe for its Prime subscribers, including the widely acclaimed Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, and Undiscovered Country.

Available now on Amazon Prime: The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country, Insurrection


The Shining (1980) 85%

Stanley Kubrick’s iconic adaptation of the Stephen King novel stars a creepy Jack Nicholson as a struggling writer who relocates his family to an empty hotel during a harsh winter season and slowly goes mad.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Hunt for Red October (1990) 88%

Before Jack Ryan was a Shadow Recruit, he was… Alec Baldwin! This is the first adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel centered on his Jack Ryan character, a CIA analyst who, in this film, must infiltrate a Russian sub commanded by a man (Sean Connery) who plans to defect.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Trekkies (1997) 85%

It looks like Amazon is prepping for the release of the upcoming Star Trek film, since they’ve not only added previous films in the franchise, but also this affectionate documentary that chronicles the hit sci-fi series’ far-reaching cultural impact.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 85%

Quentin Tarantino’s bloody two-part homage to martial arts revenge flicks features his distinct flair for nonlinear storytelling, a mixture of tone and style (including an animated segment), and a standout cast that includes Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, David Carradine, Gordon Liu, Sonny Chiba, Michael Madsen, and more.

Available now on Amazon Prime: Vol. 1, Vol. 2


Casino (1995) 79%

Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, and James Woods star in Martin Scorsese’s epic drama about the rise and fall of an expert bookmaker and the colorful characters who made a killing in Las Vegas’ more lawless days.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

A Hollywood pro from the age of five, Ron Howard set the template for every actor who’s ever hoped to make a successful jump behind the cameras after scoring a plum role on a hit TV series (or two). A beloved small-screen star on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, he’s spent the last 35 years focusing on directing — and his latest effort, the aquatic drama In the Heart of the Sea, arrives in theaters this weekend, so we decided to dedicate this week’s list to a rundown of some of the brighter critical highlights from a career full of crowd-pleasers. Goodbye gray sky, hello blue — it’s time for Total Recall!


Night Shift (1982) 92%

Night Shift

Howard could have been accused of tempting fate when he elected to direct his Happy Days buddy Henry Winkler in 1982’s Night Shift — a particularly risky move considering that in the movie, Winkler shed his Fonzie cool to play the nebbishy Chuck Lumley, a newly hired morgue attendant who finds himself going against his better judgment to participate in the cockamamie schemes hatched by his fast-talking co-worker Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton) and ends up becoming the de facto co-manager of a thoroughly unusual brothel hosted by a free-spirited hooker (Shelley Long). Ralph Malph was nowhere in sight, in other words, but there was plenty of sitting on it going on — and loads of critical praise, including a positive review from Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader, who wrote, “This isn’t as snappily directed or as caustically conceived as the subsequent Risky Business, which has a similar theme, but it’s arguably just as sexy and almost as funny.”

Watch Trailer


Splash (1984) 91%

Splash

Starring in a frothy romantic comedy as a man who falls in love with a mermaid may not seem like the surest path to starting a film career, but then, 1984’s Splash was no ordinary movie — in fact, it started a lot of things, among them an entire studio (Touchstone Pictures, created to allow Disney the ability to release more “adult” fare without sullying its name brand), a surge in the number of girls named Madison, and, supposedly, a name change for the Disneyland ride that eventually became Splash Mountain. Not bad for a movie featuring a pair of largely untested stars (Hanks was fresh from Bosom Buddies, and Hannah was known mainly for her role in Blade Runner) and a director most people still thought of as Opie Taylor (or Richie Cunningham). Nearly $70 million in domestic receipts (and one Academy Award nomination) later, and all three were on their way to bigger and brighter things, thanks in part to positive critical buzz that has proven surprisingly durable; recently, Empire’s Ian Freer held it up as “the movie that really showed Tom Hanks’ promise as a deliverer of great comedy and heart-warming pathos.”

Watch Trailer

Cocoon (1985) 74%

Cocoon

Round up a group of wily old acting pros like Don Ameche, Maureen Stapleton, Wilford Brimley, Jessica Tandy, and Hume Cronyn, and you can have them do pretty much any old thing and make it well worth watching — even if the script in question is a gauzily sentimental sci-fi dramedy about senior citizens accidentally stumbling across a batch of age-reversing alien pods while Steve Guttenberg does his uniquely 1980s Guttenberg thing. The threat of heartstring-tugging sap was high with Cocoon, but screenwriter Tom Benedek (working from David Saperstein’s novel) treated his characters with dignity, and Howard’s direction left plenty of room for the cast to carry the movie with remarkably deft performances that managed to be funny, thought-provoking, and heartbreakingly poignant — sometimes within the same scene. “Mr. Howard brings a real sweetness to his subject, as does the film’s fine cast of veteran stars; he has also given Cocoon the bright, expansive look of a hot-weather hit,” wrote Janet Maslin for the New York Times. “And even when the film begins to falter, as it does in its latter sections, Mr. Howard’s touch remains reasonably steady.”

Watch Trailer

Parenthood (1989) 91%

Parenthood

Ten years after redefining doofus comedy with 1979’s The Jerk, Steve Martin had (mostly) traded in props and pratfalls — and he cemented his more reflective, mature on-screen persona with his appearance as sensitive dad Gil Buckman in Ron Howard’s Parenthood. Blending comedy and drama with crowded casts was trendy for a time in the late ’80s (thirtysomething, anyone?), and there are few better examples of the “dramedy” subgenre than this tender, witty look at the tangled bonds between parents and their kids; Parenthood was greeted with a wave of glowing reviews upon its release, many of them reserving their highest praise for the uncommon dexterity with which the story (written by Howard, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel) jumps between its numerous threads. As Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers pointed out, “It’s a shock, and a welcome one, to see Steve Martin cast against type as a doting dad. Martin’s nippy wit continually lifts this movie above the swamp of sentiment.”

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The Paper (1994) 88%

The Paper

Howard reunited with his Night Shift star, Michael Keaton, for a very different kind of project in 1994: The Paper, an ensemble dramedy about the frantic goings-on behind the scenes during 24 hours in the life of a New York City newspaper. While things have changed drastically for the publishing industry in the years since The Paper’s release, rendering the movie’s backdrop rather quaint, the sharp writing (from brothers David and Stephen Koepp) and rock-solid acting — rounded out by a showy cast that also included Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Jason Robards, and Marisa Tomei — are timeless. “Howard, after stumbling with Far and Away, is back in form, and perhaps at the top of his game,” enthused Chris Hicks for the Deseret News. “There are times when the sheer size of the film seems enough to throw it off the track, but Howard manages, for the most part, to keep things rolling along in his usual slick, if sometimes obvious fashion.”

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Apollo 13 (1995) 96%

Apollo 13

Splash buddies Tom Hanks and Ron Howard reunited for 1995’s Apollo 13, a dramatization of NASA’s aborted 1970 lunar mission that combined one of Hanks’ biggest personal passions — space travel — with Hollywood’s favorite thing: a blockbuster prestige picture. With a cast that featured a number of similarly prolific actors (among them Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, and Hanks’ Forrest Gump costar Gary Sinise), Apollo probably would have made decent money even if it had played fast and loose with the real-life details of the launch, but Howard and his crew strove for verisimilitude, going so far as to shoot portions of the film in actual zero gravity. The result was a summertime smash that restored some of space travel’s luster for a jaded generation — and made for an exceedingly good filmgoing experience according to most critics, including Roger Ebert, who called it “a powerful story, one of the year’s best films, told with great clarity and remarkable technical detail, and acted without pumped-up histrionics.”

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A Beautiful Mind (2001) 74%

A Beautiful Mind

Only a year after scoring his Best Actor Academy Award for Gladiator, Russell Crowe resurfaced on Oscar ballots for his work in Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, which dramatized the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a Nobel-winning economist whose struggles with schizophrenia have darkened a remarkable life. Though its historical accuracy was questioned, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman was accused of cherry-picking details from Nash’s life to make him a more sympathetic character, the result was still a film that grossed more than $300 million and earned four Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as another Best Actor nomination for Crowe). As Bob Bloom of Lafayette Journal and Courier wrote, “A brilliant performance by Russell Crowe, who takes his audience on a terrifying journey inside a man tormented by self-created mental demons, propels A Beautiful Mind.”

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Cinderella Man (2005) 80%

Cinderella Man

One good biopic deserves another, A Beautiful Mind teammates Ron Howard and Russell Crowe reunited four years later for another life story — the tale of Depression-era heavyweight champion James J. Braddock, who was dubbed “The Cinderella Man” even before he overcame 10-to-1 odds and defeated Max Baer to claim his title. Surrounded by a top-shelf cast that included Renee Zellweger, Paddy Considine, and Paul Giamatti (who received one of the film’s three Oscar nominations), Crowe embodied both the raw physicality and the inner struggle of a fighter who risked his health, and his marriage, to stay in the ring. Though Cinderella Man wasn’t a Beautiful Mind-sized hit, it did break the $100 million mark — and it earned the admiration of most critics, including Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, who wrote, “How exceptional a film actor is Russell Crowe? So exceptional that in Cinderella Man, he makes a good boxing movie feel at times like a great, big picture.”

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Frost/Nixon (2008) 93%

Frost Nixon

Howard earned some of the better reviews of his career for 2009’s Frost/Nixon, which adapts the Peter Morgan play that dramatized British broadcaster David Frost’s (played by Michael Sheen) efforts to secure and sell a series of TV interviews with the politically exiled former president (portrayed by Frank Langella). Although plenty of pundits took umbrage at the way Morgan’s screenplay took liberties with the actual events that inspired the film, for the vast majority of critics, Frost/Nixon‘s flaws seemed pretty minor when weighed against the script, direction, editing, completed picture, and Langella’s performance — all of which received Oscar nominations. For the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, it all added up to “A must-see for political junkies, history buffs, and folks still fascinated by the paranoia-fueled follies of the twitchy, sweaty, decidedly uncharismatic 37th president.”

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Rush (2013) 89%

Rush

As he’s shown repeatedly throughout his career, Howard is adept when it comes to finding the cinematic drama in a nonfiction story — and there was plenty of it to distill for the fact-based fuel that powers Rush, his 2013 biopic about the real-life rivalry between Formula 1 racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Where many filmmakers might use a racing biopic as an excuse to focus on glossy, Days of Thunder-style revving and zooming, Howard honed in on the human element at play between his dual protagonists, crafting an engrossing tale of two temperamental opposites conjoined by a career that could kill either one of them every time they step on the track. “Howard keeps his cameras small and all over the cars, to show us dazzling machinery in motion, the ground whizzing by in a blur underneath,” observed Stephen Whitty for the Newark Star-Ledger. “Playing to his own strengths, though, he keeps this a movie about character.”

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This week, the long-awaited Iron Man storms theaters. Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, and Jeff Bridges also star, but Robert Downey Jr. is the man of the hour, playing Tony Stark and the titular armor-plated superhero. Thus, we at RT thought it would be a good time to run through some memorable flicks with Man in their titles.

First, some ground rules. We decided against loading up the list with superheroes, so there’s no Batman, no Spider-Man, and no Blankman. Secondly, we decided to go with movies that end with “man,” so don’t get all bent out of shape over the fact that The Man with the Golden Gun and The Man with Two Brains didn’t make the cut. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite Men!

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10. Encino Man
(14%)A caveman (Brendan Fraser) caught in a prehistoric avalanche is thawed out by a high school dweeb (Sean Astin), waking up to a radically different California filled with sun, babes, and Pauly Shore. Astin cleans up the caveman and figures hanging out this exotic character will improve his social standing, only to find the girl of his dreams falling for Fraser. Bummer! Riding the wave of good vibes and MTV-style
bodaciousness cresting at the time of its release, Encino Man is an undemanding comedy that milks early ’90s SoCal culture for all it’s worth.

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9. Demolition Man
(61%)
Imagine a future where a ghastly event known as the Franchise Wars has left only one fast food chain standing. Where doing your business in the bathroom turns into an ordeal involving three seashells. Where human contact is so reviled that even high-fives are things of comedic beauty.
It’s going to take a particular kind of man — a demolition man, if you will — to shake things up. Enter Sylvester Stallone as John Spartan, a cop awakened in the future after a long cryogenic sleep to stop a maniacal crook (Wesley Snipes). And he’ll do it the only way he knows how. You are a savage creature, John Spartan!

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8. The Omega Man
(61%)In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Charlton Heston starred in a series of sci fi films that found mankind in a state of disarray; specifically, man vs. ape (Planet of the Apes), worldwide famine (Soylent Green), and in The Omega Man, the end of humankind. Heston stars as a man who has survived a deadly plague that has wiped out the rest of the population — save for some scary mutants. If it looks dated today, The Omega Man‘s eerie themes continue to permeate sci fi and horror flicks – most notably, the Will Smith-toplined I Am Legend from last year.

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7. The Running Man
(63%)1980s sci-fi was unusually prescient. Blade Runner dissected eroding humanity, and Robocop briefly delved into the pervasiveness of advertisements. The Running Man depicts a world whose voracious appetite for violence and titillation leads to sadistic game shows. Sound familiar? Here, Arnold Schwarznegger stars as a wrongly convicted man forced to run a televised gauntlet of traps and killer combatants. With its macho 1980s swagger and non-stop scenery chewing, The Running Man is about as subtle as a game of Smash TV. But it is cheesy fun, and we’ll take this kind of abuse over Moment of Truth‘s emotional torture porn any day.

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6. Cinderella Man
(80%)What can be more rousing than a good boxing movie? Starring Russell Crowe as James “Cinderella Man” Braddock, a Depression-era boxer reduced to hanging around the docks for work, Ron Howard‘s movie makes little attempt to break the formula, right down to the comeback kid theme and singled-out villainous boxer. But Crowe hands in a reliably captivating role as the down (but not out) pugilist. And don’t forget Paul Giamatti‘s stunning performance as Braddock’s coach!

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5. Inside Man
(86%)It was practically the last thing anyone expected a Spike Lee Joint to be: a genre heist picture. However, with Inside Man, Lee managed to craft one of the most memorable thrillers of recent years, and it was his biggest commercial hit to boot. Clive Owen stars as Dalton Russell, a man with the perfect scheme to rob a Manhattan bank. But the establishment’s president (Christopher Plummer) has something inside he really doesn’t want to get out, so he calls in a fixer (Jodie Foster) to make sure his assets are protected. Meanwhile, Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) tries to untangle a plot that grows more complex — and tense — until virtually everything has been upended. Copping riffs from Sidney Lumet‘s classic Dog Day Afternoon, Lee still finds plenty of room for political commentary, tackling racial profiling, post-9/11 anxiety, and violent video games without sacrificing an iota of suspense.

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4. Rain Man
(89%)Raymond isn’t a superhero, but he does have super powers: a staggering memory and a knack for counting. But he certainly can’t fly (that is, of course, unless he takes Qantas). The Best Picture winner of 1988 stars Tom Cruise as a car dealer/hustler who learns a thing or two about life from his autistic savant brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). Not everyone was charmed; a number of critics, Pauline Kael included, felt Hoffman’s performance was an example of one-note stunt acting. Still, Hoffman had the last laugh, picking up a little gold man (a.k.a. an Oscar) for Best Actor.

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3. The Elephant Man
(91%) 

Taglines don’t get much better than “I am not an animal! I am a humanbeing! I…am…a man!” Born with grotesque facial and cranial deformities, what John Merrick lacks in physical beauty, he more than makes up for with inner spirituality and an open mind. John Hurt stars as Merrick, who we first see as a sideshow freak and, throughout David Lynch‘s movie, we see him open up and attempt to institutionalize himself into society. There was no Oscar for Best Make-Up in place when The Elephant Man came out, but the stunning work by the film’s technician prompted the Academy to create the category for the 1981 ceremony.Video

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2. Grizzly Man
(93%)Werner Herzog‘s filmography is filled with men who wage losing battles with nature. One of the saddest (simply because it’s true) is Grizzly Man, a doc on bear-lover and cohabitator Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell lived in Alaska among his beloved grizzlies for 13 summers — until he and his girlfriend were attacked and killed by one of them. Herzog utilizes Treadwell’s stunning, magisterial footage of the bears and the Alaska wilderness to tell the story of a man who has divided audiences since the film’s release: was Treadwell a tireless devotee and champion of the natural world, or was he just plain nuts? As with many of Herzog’s films, there are no easy answers; as the German master says during Grizzly‘s voiceover, “I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature.”

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1. Repo Man
(97%)”An ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.” So intones Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a wise sage of the repossession game, in Alex Cox‘s cult classic Repo Man. One of the most bizarre tales ever committed to celluloid, Repo Man stars
Emilio Estevez as a young punk rocker who, in the course of day’s work repossessing cars, comes into contact with rival repo men, the Circle Jerks, and a deadly secret in the trunk of a 1964 Chevy Malibu. Plus, it’s hard not to love a movie with an exchange like this: “Let’s go do some crimes.” “Yeah, let’s go get sushi and not pay!”

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Honorable Mention: Dog
Star Man
The six-part Dog Star Man is probably the late, greak avant-gardist Stan Brakhage‘s best-known work, and it’s a strange, trippy marvel; its fuzzy images include Brakhage climbing a mountain, his newborn child, and abstract paintings that were crafted directly on the film stock. Its rapid-fire editing and dreamlike imagery have exerted a powerful influence on music video, commercial, and Hollywood directors alike (check out the phantasmagoric ending to Kubrick’s 2001 and the scratchy, jumpy opening credits of David Fincher‘s Seven for examples). As a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Brakhage counted South Park-ers Matt Stone and Trey Parker among his students; he returned the favor by appearing in their debut, Cannibal! The Musical. He may not have been a superhero, but Stan Brakhage was still the man.

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Dishonorable Mention:

The Man, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy, which at 11 percent on the Tomatometer is decidedly not the man.

And finally, we thought we’d include one more classic clip to whet your appetite for Friday’s big release. Enjoy!

 

 

Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.

Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.

For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.

With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.

The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell CroweRenee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.

Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.


"Yay, pregnancy."

Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.

"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.


Where Dane Cook gets his career advice.

Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.


The mullet-headed heckler is always an important training component.

Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.


"Day Watch"

None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.

"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.

"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.

LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

It’s spring again, and we all know what that means: The NBA and NHL are getting down to the wire, P.A. announcers across the land have dusted off their copies of John Fogerty’s "Centerfield," and the Nationals have already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. In honor of this pivotal time of year, we at Rotten Tomatoes are proud to present our Top Sports Movie Countdown!

We’ve got a veritable plethora of scrappy underdogs, from Jamaican bobsledders ("Cool Runnings") to foul-mouthed little leaguers ("The Bad News Bears"). We’ve got inspiration galore, from rags-to-riches prizefighters ("Rocky," "Cinderella Man") to rough-and-tumble paraplegics ("Murderball"). And we’ve got films that remind us sports are more than a game ("Hoop Dreams," "Remember the Titans," "Offside").


"Cinderella Man" only 42 on the list? Angry Giamatti demands recount!

Before getting up in arms about some of your favorites being omitted from the list ("Brian’s Song," "The Endless Summer," etc.), allow us a word of explanation. Each film on our list has at least 20 reviews, a number we felt would allow some older movies to make the cut, but maintain a measure of critical weight. And we left certain movies off the list for not being "sporty" enough ("The Big Lebowski," "Match Point," "On the Waterfront").


"Murderball" kills the competition with a surprising #2 placing.

From dramas to comedies to fiction to documentaries, from hoops to baseball to golf to bowling, our countdown has a little something for every sports fan — and for those who couldn’t tell Albert Pujols from Albert Einstein. Ready? Get set! Go here for our complete list!

While out promoting his new Michael Apted film, "Saving Grace," actor Ioan Gruffudd has to field a lot of "Fantastic Four" questions, but he seems to handle the stuff pretty well, going so far as to offer a few new tidbits to AICN.

AICN’s Quint was the one throwing the questions out, and Mr. Gruffudd followed them up with "Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer" answers that weren’t too spoiler-y.

"I’m very excited about it because it takes our movie and our franchise to a whole new level. It’s up there now where they’re comparing the effects to those of the SPIDER-MAN movies, which is a film that is $100 million more expensive than our movie, and rightfully so, it’s an awesome franchise. I think the fans will not be disappointed. It is as he (The Silver Surfer) arrived in the comic books. He’s an ambiguous character. Is he the protagonist or evil, or just the messenger of evil? We’re not quite sure."

The actor then goes on to discuss a few problems with the original flick, the relief at being freed from an "origin story," the wedding between his sister and Flameboy, and the presence of something called … Galactus. Click here for the full interview.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is allegedly earning a $4 million dollar paycheck for his adaptation of Dan Brown‘s "Angels & Demons," which features the character played by Tom Hanks in an adventure that predates what went on in "The Da Vinci Code." Yeah, just like what happened with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

From Deadline Hollywood Daily: "Akiva Goldsman, who adapted Dan Brown’s worldwide bestseller into a $755.6 mil hit pic, is receiving $4 million for the Da Vinci Code sequel in the works by both Imagine Entertainment and Sony Pictures. Not only is that major moola, but agents are telling me this represents a new $$$ high for hiring a screenwriter (not buying a spec script) — and not even an original screenplay, but an adaptation of a book. And, no, Goldsman isn’t getting a producer credit, so this is for straight scribbling."

Click here for the rest of the report, but before you do that, let’s all take a look at Akiva Goldsman’s batting average: "The Client" (1994), "Silent Fall" (1994), "Batman Forever" (1995), "A Time to Kill" (1996), "Batman & Robin" (1997), "Lost in Space" (1998), "Practical Magic" (1998), "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), "I, Robot" (2004), "Cinderella Man" (2005), "The Da Vinci Code" (2006), and the upcoming "I Am Legend."

This weekend, multiplexes hope to cram in lots of moviegoers thanks to a wide selection of new films. Six movies open or expand nationally on Friday making for what will be one of the most competitive weekends of the holiday season.

Adult audiences looking for a laugh can see Will Ferrell in a more mature role in "Stranger Than Fiction." The female vote will be split with daughters going for a scare with Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Return" while their mothers can spend the evening with Russell Crowe in the romantic comedy "A Good Year." The action flick "Harsh Times" rounds out the menu of new releases targeting young men.

In addition, the cross-continent drama "Babel" expands across the country after two weeks of stellar results in limited release. Despite all the new opponents entering the field, reigning box office incumbent "Borat" will go fully national in an attempt to be re-elected for a second term as commander-in-chief. Rarely does a November weekend have so many new offerings. The fight for screens and moviegoer attention will be fierce. Not every film will survive so some casualties will be left behind on the battlefield by the end of the frame.

After battling Sacha Baron Cohen with race cars last summer in "Talladega Nights," Will Ferrell once again takes on the British comedian at the box office with "Stranger Than Fiction" which will try to stop the seemingly unstoppable "Borat" machine. In the PG-13 film, the funnyman plays an agent with the IRS who begins to hear a voice narrating his life and his every move. Emma Thompson provides the voice while Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah co-star. Directed by Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland," "Monster’s Ball"), "Stranger" takes an A-list comedian and puts him in a more mature and serious film that still has some comedic elements. That means that the 14-year-old boys who powered "Talladega Nights" to a $47M opening will take a pass this time around.

When Jim Carrey went arthouse, he saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" open to $8.2M with a $6,042 average and "Man on the Moon" bow to $7.5M with a $3,615 average. Adam Sandler‘s "Spanglish" debuted to $8.8M and a $3,617 average. It can often be a tough sell to take a comedian known mostly for mainstream comedies and put him into a more mature film, even if it still has laughs. "Stranger Than Fiction" might find it difficult to pull in teens and young adults, but mature adults will have interest. Reviews have been generally good and the concept makes the film stand out in the current marketplace. Competition for adults will come from both "Babel" and "A Good Year" while "Borat" will continue to steal away millions of moviegoers looking for a good laugh. Launching in 2,264 theaters, "Stranger Than Fiction" might open with roughly $16M.


Will Ferrell screaming at a bus in "Stranger Than Fiction."

Halloween may have passed but those in search of a scare, and were disappointed that "The Grudge 2" did not have Sarah Michelle Gellar in a full role, will have a chance to see their favorite vampire slayer in the new supernatural thriller "The Return." With a commercially friendly PG-13 rating, the spookfest finds Gellar playing a young businesswoman guided by mysterious forces to avenge her own death from a previous life. In the horror genre, Gellar is a bonafide star and can pull in teens and young adults. But with so many fright sequels cramming into theaters recently during the pre-pumpkin period, many genre fans might be all scared out by now. Luckily for "The Return," competition will not be too fierce as nothing else is exciting teenage girls at the moment. The marketing push has been decent, but in many ways it does not stand out as something special or unique that is worth seeing right away. Opening in 1,986 theaters, "The Return" might gross around $8M over the weekend.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, padding her horror credentials in "The Return."

Russell Crowe reteams with his "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott for a trip to a new genre (romantic comedy) in "A Good Year." The PG-13 film finds the former Maximus playing a financial guru who finds women and wine at a french vineyard he inherits. Talk about a tough sell. On paper, the Scott-Crowe combo is box office gold, only they chose to try out a type of film that will repel fans who spent $187.7M on the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner. Plus the Fox release has no notable female star to boost its potential. Add to that the bad buzz that "Year" received at the Toronto Film Festival plus the mostly negative reviews from critics, and it surely will have its work cut out for it. Could this be "All the King’s Men" all over again?

"A Good Year" stands as that rare film which reunites an Oscar-caliber director with an Oscar-winning actor that earns bad reviews and lukewarm studio support. Crowe’s last film "Cinderella Man" bowed to $18.3M from 2,812 theaters for a $6,515 average in June of last year and was considered an underperformer. The actor’s latest picture lacks the Ron Howard film’s strong critical support, added starpower from Renee Zellweger, and sizable push from Universal. "A Good Year" should play mostly to adult female audiences as the male appeal is low. That makes "Babel" and "Stranger Than Fiction," which have better cross-gender appeal, direct competitors this weekend for mature couples. Opening in 2,066 theaters, "A Good Year" could find itself with about $8M this weekend and a rough road ahead.


Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott enter chick flick territory with "A Good Year."

Still in the top ten with "The Prestige," Christian Bale comes back for double duty in the new action thriller "Harsh Times" from MGM. The R-rated film from the writer of "Training Day" finds the Caped Crusader playing an ex-Army Ranger enlisting with the LAPD who still has ties into the crime world in South Central. "Harsh" will play to urban audiences and should skew male but will find the marketplace difficult to navigate with bigger titles like "Borat" and "Saw III" already doing strong business with that demo. Bale lacks the drawing power of Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role in "Training Day" so the grosses should not be in the same ballpark. A moderate national release in over 900 theaters will also limit the potential. "Harsh Times" will have to fight hard in order to crack the top ten and could finish the frame with around $3M.


Christian Bale as a psychopath in "Harsh Times."

Among holdovers, all eyes will be on "Borat" this weekend. Can the Kazakh superstar spend another weekend at number one? Following its robust $26.5M bow from 837 theaters, the Sacha Baron Cohen starrer has delivered solid midweek results grossing over $3M on both Monday and Tuesday. Now, Fox will expand the raunchy comedy on Friday by more than tripling the run to 2,565 theaters allowing everyone to have easy access to the most-talked-about film of the season. Word-of-mouth has been encouraging and "Borat" might even reach the Holy Grail of the box office – repeat business.

Last weekend’s potent average of $31,607 will certainly come crashing down since the film will be in more theaters and most of the hardcore fans have now already seen it. But the buzz is still hot and the Uzbekistan-hating TV journalist is now trying to crossover into new audience segments not initially sold on the concept last week. With the frame’s new films all a mixed bag without a surefire smash among them, "Borat" looks ready to retain its hold on the number one spot. A weekend gross of around $24M could result giving Fox a stellar $62M in only ten days.


"Kazakhstan is the greatest…"

Another cross-cultural film with a five-letter title starting with a B expanding over the weekend is "Babel" starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Paramount Vantage has attracted scorching results in limited release for two weeks and is now hoping that moviegoers nationwide are ready for the acclaimed drama. Last weekend, "Babel" popped into the Top 20 with a stellar $26,264 average from 35 locations. On Friday, the R-rated film expands to over 1,200 sites and should continue to play to an upscale adult audience.

"Babel" is likely to play to the same crowd that powered last December’s "Syriana" to a $11.7M bow from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. That film had more theaters and a star, George Clooney, who is despised by many American moviegoers for his political beliefs. On the other hand, Pitt can cheat on his wife and father a baby with another woman, and the public still can’t get enough of him. That’s pure starpower. But "Babel" is not the type of commercial role that Pitt attracts large crowds to. Still, the average should be solid so given its level of distribution, "Babel" could gross about $10M this weekend.


Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, looking rather disheveled in "Babel."

Disney and Paramount went head to head last weekend with competing kidpics and split the family vote in half pretty evenly. "Flushed Away" is getting better word-of-mouth and is offering audiences something new so its decline might be smaller than that of "The Santa Clause 3." Kid movies opening in early November typically have good legs and enjoy strong second weekend holds. Sophomore drops for recent films of the genre include 21% for last year’s "Chicken Little," 29% for 2004’s "The Incredibles," 15% for 2003’s "Elf," and 15% for 2002’s "The Santa Clause 2." This weekend, "Clause 3" might drop by 25% and "Flushed" could wash away 20% leaving each with a three-day tally in the neighborhood of $15M. That would push ten-day cumes to roughly $39M a piece for the Mouse House pic and the rat toon.

LAST YEAR: Disney’s poultry toon "Chicken Little" stayed at number one for a second weekend with an impressive $31.7M. Three new releases followed within a tight range. Sony’s big-budget kidpic "Zathura" bowed in second with $13.4M on its way to a disappointing $28.2M. Jennifer Aniston was close behind with her thriller "Derailed" which opened to $12.2M. The Weinstein Co. release went on to gross a moderate $36M. Paramount’s urban action pic "Get Rich or Die Tryin’" debuted in fourth place with a $12M weekend and $17.7M over five days. The 50 Cent starrer finished its run with $31M. Rounding out the top five was the military drama "Jarhead" which tumbled 58% to $11.7M. Premiering to sensational results was the period film "Pride & Prejudice" which grossed $2.9M from only 215 theaters for a sizzling $13,326 average. The Focus release went on to become an awards contender and took in $38.4M making it the top-grossing pic among the weekend’s new films.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

How much money will moviegoers spend on watching two celebrities yell and scream at each other for 106 minutes? That is the question that Universal, and the film industry in general, will be asking itself with the opening of The Break-Up, the new romantic comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.

Just like with last weekend, the frame only boasts one wide release hitting the multiplexes. In scheduling their summer, studios are more likely to have wanted to avoid clashing with the second weekend of X-Men: The Last Stand, than to not go head to head with the swinger and the friend. After a record-breaking bow, the mutant sequel aims to keep its command over the North American box office for the second straight week.

There have been no major star-driven romantic comedies in nearly three months so Universal hopes to fill the void with The Break-Up. Directed by Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Down with Love), the PG-13 concoction is aimed at adult couples with a clearly-defined premise that most can relate to. Vaughn plays a tour bus operator while Aniston plays an art gallery worker. As boyfriend and girlfriend, the two own and live in a spacious Chicago condo, but when they go splitsville, each refuses to move out and the former lovers must learn how to co-exist as just roommates.

Break-Up looks to play to an adult audience and females will surely outnumber dudes. Vaughn has been a rising box office powerhouse in recent years drawing in more moviegoers each year when anchoring comedies. In 2003, Old School was a leggy hit taking in $75.6M while 2004’s summer smash Dodgeball hit the mark with $114.3M. Last summer though, the funnyman struck gold twice with a supporting role in the former Mr. Aniston’s action hit Mr. & Mrs. Smith followed by Wedding Crashers which became the sleeper hit of the season zooming to $209.2M. The Break-Up will end that streak, unfortunately.

Vaughn excels at delivering guy humor opposite funny male co-stars. But this time, he is asked to star opposite a woman and still try to make ticket buyers laugh. Although the highlights of the film revolve around his humor, The Break-Up just doesn’t pack enough laughs to be a huge hit. In fact, the constant fighting between the two lead characters will put off many. What the filmmakers don’t realize is that couples actually go to the movies to get away from that sort of thing. Starpower, tabloid gossip, a lack of comedies, and a decent marketing push will help pump up the opening, but word-of-mouth should lead to hefty declines in the weeks ahead. Bad reviews are not going to help either.

The Universal release has gotten months of free publicity from the endless media attention on the off-screen relationship between Aniston and Vaughn. Last weekend’s birth of Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s baby has also added some free plugs too. The Break-Up should attract the same crowd that spent $24.4M on the opening of March’s Failure to Launch, although the grosses could be a bit higher since the starpower is arguably greater this time. Competition should not be too much of a factor this weekend. With no other new films in national release, the entertainment media will focus fully on this one. Plus, X-Men and Over the Hedge are playing to different audience segments. The only direct foe it will face is The Da Vinci Code which has been drawing in tons of adult women over the last couple of weeks. Opening in 3,065 theaters, The Break-Up could debut with about $26M this weekend.

Mutant fever ruled the box office last weekend with X-Men: The Last Stand opening to a record $122.9M over four days. That was nearly $3M better than originally estimated giving Fox an explosive start to what could be its final film of the franchise. Super hero pics and sequels tend to fall hard on the second weekend and coming off of a huge holiday bow will certainly up the decline as well. Last weekend’s Friday gross included sales from midnight shows on Thursday night while Sunday was stronger than usual thanks to the Monday holiday.

However, X-Men is not facing much new competition since the Aniston crowd does not consist of too many Magneto fans. Two years ago, Fox launched its effects-driven actioner The Day After Tomorrow over the Memorial Day frame and saw its Friday-to-Sunday gross tumble 60% on the second weekend. The weather disaster pic also had the towering $93.7M opening of the third Harry Potter film to deal with so some of the fall was attributed to the new kid on the block. The first two X-Men films debuted over non-holiday frames and dropped by 57% and 53% respectively in their sophomore sessions. X2 faced only one new opener in its second mission helping to soften the blow.

With more upfront demand and a holiday start, The Last Stand should fall harder. A 60% drop from the massive $102.8M three-day bow would give Fox about $41M for the weekend and the top spot once again. The ten-day cume for the latest adventure from the mutant heroes would shoot to a stunning $183M. With $700M in global grosses from the first two films, the X-Men trilogy should break through the $1 billion milestone in worldwide box office this weekend.

After suffering a steep 56% second weekend decline, The Da Vinci Code showed that long legs are not in its future. Add in the fact that The Break-Up will steal away many adult couples and it looks like another rocky frame for the Tom Hanks mystery. The Friday-to-Sunday take could drop 50% this time around and pull in about $17M. That would give Sony a still-impressive $170M in 17 days.

As Da Vinci fades away this weekend, so will Sony’s market share lead for the year. The studio has dominated for much of the year with six number one openings and more wide releases than any other studio. However, with the surging strength of X-Men, plus grosses from the year’s number one blockbuster Ice Age: The Meltdown, Fox looks to capture the market share lead by Sunday. As of the end of Memorial Day, both studios had about 18% of the box office pie year-to-date with Sony’s $608M sitting $18M ahead of Fox. That lead will be erased this weekend as the two distributors will swap positions but more shifting is likely to occur throughout the summer.

Paramount’s backyard adventure Over the Hedge will remain the only major option for little kids so a good hold is likely. A 40% drop from last weekend’s Friday-to-Sunday tally should lead to a $16M frame and a 17-day cume of $107M. All other holdovers should drift away with less than $5M a piece.

LAST YEAR Memorial Day weekend leftovers ruled the charts as the top three films remained the same, although some musical chairs led to a new order. The DreamWorks toon Madagascar rose from second to first place with $28.1M in its sophomore weekend pushing its ten-day cume to a solid $100.4M. Adam Sandler‘s comedy The Longest Yard also climbed a notch taking second scoring $26.1M. The Paramount remake pushed its sum to $95.8M in ten days. After two weeks on top, Star Wars Episode III tumbled 55% and placed third with $25.1M but watched its overall domestic gross soar to $307.9M. No other film in the year since has reached the triple century mark. Among new releases, Universal’s early Oscar contender Cinderella Man debuted in fourth with a weaker-than-expected $18.3M. The Russell Crowe drama went on to punch up $61.6M. Bowing in fifth was the estrogen pic The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with $9.8M while opening in seventh was the testosterone film Lords of Dogtown with $5.6M. Cumes reached a commendable $39M and a dismal $11M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Yesterday we shared the news that the "Da Vinci Code" prequel was being discussed, and today comes word that screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will definitely be returning. (We can only hope he read some of the "Da Vinci" reviews.) No word yet on Ron Howard or Tom Hanks, but you just know they’ll be back. Well, Hanks, anyway.

From Variety: "Striking while the iron is sizzling, Sony has signed "The Da Vinci Code" scribe Akiva Goldsman to adapt author Dan Brown‘s first religious thriller, "Angels & Demons." "Code" grossed $231.8 million worldwide in its first five days.

In "Angels," Langdon’s character tries to solve a murder and unravel a plot by an ancient group, the Illuminati, to blow up the Vatican during a papal conclave. Sony acquired the feature rights to "Angels" as part of its 2003 deal with Brown for "The Da Vinci Code."

Akiva Goldsman’s earlier screenplays include "A Time to Kill," "Batman & Robin," "Lost in Space," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Cinderella Man."