November 23, 2004

Ranking the Top Sports Movies of All Time

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It’s one of those debates that just rages on in infamy. Which movies rank as
the best of all time? Well, we think we know. We’re sure you’ll disagree.
Let the debate begin….

Any Given Sunday (1999)
Jamie Foxx as “Steamin’” Willie Beamen, Al Pacino’s “inches” speech before
the Sharks’ playoff game, and Cameron Diaz just being a babe make this 1999
movie great. Throw in Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J, Bill Bellamy, Lawrence
Taylor, Jim Brown and Jessie from Saved by the Bell playing a hooker, and
you’ve got a classic on your hands. Not only does this movie have stars, it
has a great hip-hop laden soundtrack, and some classic moments. Pacino’s
“inches” speech is one of the best, but often overlooked is his speech
during the closing credits when he surprises everyone by saying he’s
starting over with an expansion team with Willie Beamen as his “franchise
player” — great shock value.
— Chris Mascaro

Bull Durham (1988)
“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions,
and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu,
Shiva,  trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things.”
Annie Savoy is not the only one who worships baseball. Her opening voiceover
sets the tone for the 1988 classic Bull Durham. This movie was not the first
to address the sport and it certainly wasn’t the last. It was, however, the
first to shed light on the wonderful culture of minor league baseball, the
game that takes place every summer below the radar screen. For a segment of
the American sporting universe that never received much attention before, it
was a defining moment — though not necessarily a flattering one. Minor
league baseball is not glamorous, and Durham, N.C. is certainly not sexy.
But Savoy is, and her relationship with veteran catcher Crash Davis and
loose-cannon pitcher Nuke Laloosh is entrancing.
—  Owen Bochner

Chariots of Fire (1981)
Whether or not you’ve seen this movie, you’ve probably heard its theme song