Is there anything better than an iconic moment within a sports movie? These moments are immortalized and talked about among friends almost as much as actual sports moments are. Ranking them is highly subjective, but we gave it a shot.
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15. The Replacements – Shane Falco Game Winner
Shane Falco gets his redemption story. The underdog who could never come up big when it mattered most finally makes the big play to send the Washington Sentinels to the playoffs. Plus, he gets the hot cheerleader while he’s at it. Hard to root against someone who silences the haters.
14. Dodgeball – Comeback Against Globo Gym
One of the greatest comebacks in sports history. The Patriots’ comeback in last year’s Super Bowl doesn’t have shit on Average Joe’s overcoming a 4 to 1 player disadvantage in the Dodgeball Championship to save Average Joe’s Gym. The unsung hero of the movie, Justin Long, leads his team of misfits to the win and even gets the hot cheerleader at the end (hey, it’s a movie). A true hero for all fellow underdogs.
13. Friday Night Lights – Loss On Final Play
A football movie that’s not really about football, Friday Night Lights managed to capture what it feels like to peak in high school, in a town where that’s the norm. Watching this team lose by inches on the final play was truly heartbreaking to watch. Don’t lie to yourself: you know you cried when Tim McGraw gave his old state championship ring to his son. It doesn’t make up for his character being a lying, drinking scumbag, but all in all, still a nice gesture.
12. The Mighty Ducks – The Flying V
The greatest hockey play ever was drawn up by a lawyer being punished for going on a bender and hopping behind the wheel of his car. If you were born in the ’90s, The Mighty Ducks were a massive part of your childhood, and you probably gave the flying V a shot on some roller blades down your neighborhood street. Ducks fly together!
11. Angels In The Outfield – Angel Wings
Another ’90s kid fan favorite. If you didn’t flap your arms like angel wings in your youth league baseball games as a kid, you were a pariah in the clubhouse. By the way, did anyone know that Matthew McConaughey was in this movie? Crazy.
10. Major League 2 – Vaughn Strikes Out Parkman
“Okay, Rick, let’s get nasty!” Parkman comes in batting .900 against the Wild Thing and gets his ass struck out. The Wild Thing is one of the most badass sports characters ever written. A true legend on and off the field. We aren’t entirely sure Charlie Sheen realizes he’s only a movie character, but still fun for the rest of us!
9. Rocky lV – Drago Knock Out
With tensions high between Russia and the US when this movie was released, Stallone provided one of the best movie moments with a salt of the earth American getting the upset over the favored Russian opponent. If you can get past the idea of a 5’6 Stallone beating a juiced-up 6’5 Ivan Drago into a pulp, this one is for you.
8. A League of Their Own – There’s No Crying In Baseball
A League of Their Own was made 15 years ago and pretty much everyone with a pulse knows where this quote came from. Tom Hank’s character, Jimmy Dugan, initially treats managing a women’s baseball team in an experimental league as a joke, but eventually the professionalism of his players converts him into taking it seriously. The team goes on to win the World Series, but the iconic moment from this movie is, of course, this speech.
7. Space Jam – Jordan’s Half Court Dunk
The Looney Tunes were able to pull MJ out of his first retirement in order to save the Looney Tune universe, which as a kid was more important to me than being able to breathe. MJ, doing MJ things, comes in clutch at the end with some type of gravity-defying dunk to win the game and save the day. As a kid, this was a monumental movie moment to me, and it still is. Could this scene appear on a list of “Corniest Sports Movie Scenes” as well? Sure, but it’s the defining moment in a movie EVERYONE has seen.
6. Rudy – Rudy’s Sack
Another victorious underdog makes the list. Everybody’s favorite lovable little guy, Rudy, fights to finally get his moment of glory for Notre Dame. We’re all for great moments in movies being based on actual real-life events, but if we’re all being honest with each other, Rudy was offsides when he lined up and we shouldn’t even be having this conversation. Terrible officiating…
5. The Sandlot – Wendy Peppercorn CPR
“Been plannin’ it for years!” Squints became a legend after this. I’m all about taking your shot with the hot girl who’s out of your league, and Squints chunked up a half court buzzer beater here. Did it work out in the moment? No, but in the end Squints gets the girl, and that should give every little geek hope. The writers of this movie should have had Babe Ruth visit Squints instead of Benny. The “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die” speech is way more relatable to Squints getting the girl.
4. Remember The Titans – Strong Side, Left Side
This is the moment in the movie that crystallizes being able to overcome our racial prejudices. Coach Boone is charged with bringing together a newly racially integrated football team in a time fraught with tension (1971). His plan is to then take them out to a camp in the middle of nowhere and have them run until they all hate him more than they hate each other. Not exactly ethical, but it seemed to work pretty well. Plus, the scene is a nice payoff.
3. Any Given Sunday – Al Pacino Speech
It’s impossible to watch this clip without wanting to immediately run through a wall at full speed. If you ever need the motivation to fill out some meaningless report at work, we suggest you pull up this speech on YouTube and prepare for your adrenaline and motivation levels to go through the roof. This speech has eclipsed all other memories people have from Any Given Sunday, and to be honest, that’s probably a good thing.
2. The Natural – Home Run
The oldest movie on the list, but the most iconic. Roy Hobbs comes back to baseball as an old-timer after being shot when he was 19 by a she-devil who wanted to ruin the careers of young, up-and-coming baseball players. Hobbs’ final home run, while he bleeds out from his old gunshot wound, assures the (formerly last place) Knights a pennant and one of the greatest comeback stories in sports movie history.
1. Field of Dreams – Playing Catch With Dad
Is it a little misty in here? Just asking for a friend…
In the greatest sports movie ever made, we get one of the best sports movie moments ever written. Ray’s tumultuous relationship with his father as a child is redeemed in one of the greatest acts a father and son can have together: a simple game of catch.