With the school year beginning, kids’ sports will be starting up again too! To get your kids pumped for some physical activity I have compiled a list of some of my favorite sports movies. For this list I tried to keep it appropriate for all members of the family. Maybe I will make an adult version in the coming months.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see affiliate disclaimer here.
A classic movie the whole family will love. I could quote this movie all day long (“You’re killin’ me smalls!”). A boy moves to a new neighborhood and tries to fit in with the local kids by joining their sandlot baseball game. Unfortunately, the kid stinks and tries to make up for his lack of skill by offering a baseball to use from his house. The baseball is hit into the neighbor’s backyard where a scary dog lives. The baseball turns out to be extremely valuable and the rest of the movie is spent trying to come up with plans to get the baseball back without being eaten by “the Beast”.
Growing up, I wanted to be Icebox (the female football player). In elementary school I quickly realized that if you wanted to hang around with the cute boys it helped to be good at sports. I was always the first girl to be picked while selecting teams in gym class and at recess. I dazzled the boys with my awesome throwing arm (pretty easy when it is a small Nerf football). In any case, I still love football to this day.
In this film, when Icebox doesn’t make the local football team because she is a girl, her dad steps in to form a misfit team of his own. Because the town can’t have two football teams, the coaches agree to a game that will determine which team will get to continue once and for all.
When Emilio Estevez’s character gets sentenced to community service after receiving a DUI, he ends up coaching a local hockey team. The team needs a lot of help. After losing to another team for which the coach played for when he was young, he recruits a variety of children with differing backgrounds to help out. With tons of practice the team gets whipped in shape as they continue their season to eventually face off against the same team again.
A wonderful, feel-good movie (and true story!!) about runners from Jamaica who don’t end up qualifying for the summer Olympics because one of the runners trips during qualifiers taking down the other two. Still wanting to go to the Olympics, the runners find a retired bobsled coach on the island. The athletes convince the coach to help them create a Jamaican bobsled team to compete at the winter Olympics. The film shows the guys trying to raise money, practicing, and eventually competing against the best bobsled teams in the world.
Another movie about a bunch of misfit kids coming together in the name of sports – this time being soccer. A teacher starts to teach her students soccer to get them motivated about something in life. As with all these movies, the team plays a much better team and loses in the beginning but as the movie goes on (with many comedic scenes) the group gets better and has to play the same team in the final game of the season.
The second set of movies tend to lean towards the more dramatic side, often including more serious topics but are still appropriate for kids;
A teenager moves with his single mom to new town. After getting bullied, he asks the old Japanese maintenance man at his apartment to help teach him how to fight. The coach often teaches the teen lessons and Karate through unconventional means. At the end of the movie, the teenager faces his bully in a karate tournament.
Another true story! Taking place in 1971, a local town in Virginia is forced to desegregate their schools as well as the high school’s football team. The head coach is replaced by an African-American coach and the town is not happy about it. The football team goes away to training camp and learns how to trust and respect one another but not everyone at home feels the same way.
One of my absolute favorite movies and another to quote often (“There’s no crying in baseball!”). With WWII taking all the male athletes overseas, a women’s baseball league is formed to keep Americans entertained at home. You get to see the girls being recruited, going through try-outs, and playing the entire season while under pressure to attract a large audience.
A classic underdog film. Rudy’s life-long dream is to play football for Notre Dame. Rudy doesn’t have the grades or money but with hard work and perseverance he eventually manages to make it on to the Notre Dame practice squad. Before he graduates all Rudy can wish for is to play in one game.
One of the many true stories on this film list. A wealthy family takes in a homeless African-American student who becomes part of the family. The high school student struggles with his grades but is amazing at football even though he has never played before. With tutoring, the family’s goal is to get him to play football in college.
Like this list? Check out my movie guide for family classic movies.