NFL Training camps are in full swing and that means football is back, baby! It’s a perfect time to take a look at the best gridiron films ever made. A solid football flick has plenty of action and a few goosebump-worthy scenes. Plus, it’s the only genre that can make a grown man cry. So here are Suburban Men’s 12 Favorite Football Movies of All Time
Jerry Maguire (1996)
One of Cameron Crowe’s best films, ‘Maguire’ is arguably the funniest and most quotable movie about the business of professional sports. Tom Cruise stars as an agent tired of playing the game, but Cuba Gooding Jr. — in an Oscar-winning turn — steals the show as his demanding client, a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Oliver Stone’s ambitious examination of the NFL is typical for the director: It’s fascinating, frustrating and a half hour too long. Note: Co-star Jamie Foxx’s moves are real. As a high school player, he passed over 1,000 yards in a single season.
The Replacements (2000)
In this predictable but charming comedy, set during a fictional NFL players strike, Gene Hackman is tasked with coaching a bunch of has-beens and wannabes, led by none other than Keanu Reeves. Can you say “ragtag team of underdogs”?
You’re a 30-year-old bartender who dreams of playing in the NFL. It could happen, and it did to Vince Papale, who made it onto the Philadelphia Eagles roster from 1976 to 1978. Mark Wahlberg is in fine form as Papale in this crowd-pleaser.
Varsity Blues (1999)
James Van Der Beek was at the peak of his “Dawson”s Creek” fame when he was cast as a sensitive Texas high school quarterback squaring off against one of the meanest football coaches in movie history (Jon Voight).
Friday Night Lights (2004)
Before it was a critically-acclaimed TV series, ‘Friday Night Lights’ started out on the big screen, with Billy Bob Thornton playing a coach trying to help a team of Texas teens struggling with life on and off the field. Director Peter Berg would lend his gritty, “you are there” aesthetic to the series as well, as executive producer and director of the pilot.
The Blind Side (2009)
It was the sleeper hit of 2009, and Sandra Bullock won an Oscar playing real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy, who adopted a runaway named Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and helped him become a gridiron superstar. (Oher currently plays for the Tennessee Titans.)
The Longest Yard (1974)
he 2005 Adam Sandler remake has its moments, but the original is a down and dirty classic. Burt Reynolds leads a group of prison inmates who take on their guards in one of the greatest movie football matches of all time.
We Are Marshall (2006)
The film is clichéd, but its story – about Marshall University’s quest to rebuild its football program after a 1970 plane crash killed the entire team – is worth hearing, and everyone involved, especially Matthew McConaughey, gives it their best shot.
Brian’s Song (1971)
This fact-based weepie – a TV movie – still wrings tears out of even the toughest football fans. James Caan is terminally ill Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo, whose friendship with teammate Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) sustains him in his final days. ‘Brian’s Song’ is the one movie guaranteed to bring out the tears in even the toughest man.
Rudy is the ultimate underdog film; the movie you can’t help but watch whenever you catch it on cable. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) dreams of playing for Notre Dame, and valiantly overcomes each and every obstacle that stands in his way. You just can’t get more feel-good than ‘Rudy.’
Remember the Titans (2000)
Our top pick is ‘Remember the Titans’. In this first class drama, Denzel Washington play Coach Herman Boone, presiding over a Virginia high school’s newly-integrated football program in 1971. Racial prejudice runs high, but Boone’s leadership in the face of adversity is truly inspiring — as is Washington’s performance.