Top 10 Most Inspirational Sports Movies

Inspirational movies can change your life for real.

They have the power to awake strong emotions in ourselves. They give you the strength to achieve great things. They make you want to fight hard. They make you want to train harder. They make you want to run the extra mile. They inspire us to become the best we can be…

Here is a selection for you of 10 brilliant sports movies to push you up! You can find all these videos on our Youtube page too.

Remember the Titans (2000, directed by Boaz Yakin, starring Denzel Washington)

Remember The Titans is based on a true story, which tells the story of a coach’s struggle to integrate a high school football team in the early 1970s. Great performance by Denzel Washington, of course. 

Miracle (2004, directed by Gavin O’Connor, starring Kurt Russell)

The story behind Miracle is one of the most famous events in US sports history:  the U.S. Men’s Hockey team’s victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics.  The movie captures the drama of that time -Cold War- and shows how symbolic this game was for the whole world. 

Rocky I (1976 , directed by John G. Avildsen, starring Sylvester Stallone)

What would our list be without Rocky ? No need to tell you the story of this great movie. The «Gonna Fly Now » music theme has been used all around the world, the training scene where Rocky is running in Philadelphia became one of the most famous scenes of cinema… Rocky is not just about boxing of course, it’s also a tribute to the American Dream.

Rocky won three Academy Awards in 1977, including Best Picture.

Coach Carter (2005, directed by Thomas Carter, starring Samuel L. Jackson)

Samuel L. Jackson is surely one of the best actors in recent times. In this movie, he plays the role of a high school basketball coach who is determined to bring out the best in his athletes. Coach Carter is also about racial tension and difficult cooperation between communities.

Chariots of fire (1981, directed by Hugh Hudson, starring Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell)

The best running movie of all times, Chariots of fire tells the fact-based story of two British athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. The opening scene shown on our playlist is still in all memories: the Chariots of fire theme song by Vangelis fits perfectly on a running playlist. The movie won four Academy Awards in 1982 including Best Picture and Best Original Score.

Million Dollar Baby (2004, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood)

The relationship between the coach (Clint Eastwood) and the athlete (Hilary Swank) is very inspirational : Clint Eastwood is a tough coach that will help her improve every day. This movie makes you want to train harder, and run that extra mile or do those extra push ups which will make a difference. Great performance by both actors. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture!

The Fighter (2010, directed by David O.Russell, starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale)

The Fighter is also based on a true story. Another movie about the coach / coachee relationship, but also about the relationship between two brothers, complicated by the fact that one is a drug addict. The atmosphere of the 90s is perfectly captured.

Any Given Sunday (2000, directed by Oliver Stone, starring Al Pacino)

“Life is a contact sport” tells the advertising poster – there are some contacts indeed in this movie about American football ! Al Pacino’s speech displayed on our playlist is probably one of the most inspirational speeches in the history of cinema.

Inch by inch, play by play, till we’re finished (…) That’s a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys.

With such a speech, and such a coach, you HAVE to surpass yourself.

Rush (2013, directed by Ron Howard, starring Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth)

Great movie about the true rivalry between two champions, the two race car drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season. Their relation is a mix of intense competition, fear but also respect. We don’t want to spoil it for you – so watch it!

Invictus (2009, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon)

The movie title is inspired by a Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley that Nelson Mandela had written on a paper in his prison cell to keep faith during his years in prison – 27 long years ! This biographical sports movie describes the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted in that country: how sports can help build a nation and fight discrimination.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. 

We selected only 10 inspirational sports movies, but there are plenty! Do you have other movies in mind that made a big impact on you and pushed you to change your life? Share them with us in the comments section and we’ll add them to the list!

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About Arthur Catani

Arthur is co-founder at goalmap, in charge of the marketing and business development. He joined goalmap straight after graduating from HEC in France and completing a trip around the world by bike with his girlfriend.

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