The 10 Greatest Football Movies of All Time

Football has had a long tradition in Hollywood. If you are one of the approximate 100 million Americans who watch football (and even if you aren't), these movies about football show surprising depth and each packs an emotional punch. So 'rush' right out and score one of these great movies depicting America's game on every level, from high school to college to the NFL.

of 09

'Remember the Titans' (2000)

Movie poster for Remember the Titans

Walt Disney Pictures

Based on the true story of Coach Herman Boone, Denzel Washington gives an amazing performance as the coach who forced integration on his football team only to have the team discover that friendship and loyalty are colorblind.

of 09

'Brian's Song' (1971)

Movie poster for Brian's Song
Columbia Pictures

This is one tearjerker you'll remember years (if not decades) after viewing. Another football movie based on true events, James Caan (Brian Piccolo) and Billy Dee Williams (Gale Sayers) star as teammates who overcome obstacles to become best friends. When Piccolo's diagnosed with cancer, the two find strength and courage in each other.

Brian's Song was remade in 2001 starring Sean Maher and Mekhi Phifer.

of 09

'Rudy' (1993)

Movie poster for Rudy
TriStar Pictures

After Sean Astin was a Goonie but before he was a hobbit he starred in the true story of "the little guy who could." Desperate to play for Notre Dame, Rudy triumphs over his own small stature, low academic scores, and his below-average athletic skills to make his dream come true.

of 09

'Jerry Maguire' (1996)

Movie poster for Jerry Maguire
TriStar Pictures

Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger star in this fictional movie that spawned two catch phrases still uttered today: "You had me at hello" and "Show me the money!"  Plus, there are actual agents who now go by Jerry Maguire's code of conduct—or at least attempt to.

of 09

'The Longest Yard' (1974)

Movie poster for The Longest Yard
Paramount Pictures

Burt Reynolds turns in one of his finest performances in this 1974 comedy/drama. Reynolds plays a former pro football player who lands in a prison lorded over by a sadistic warden. Directed by Robert Aldrich, this football film was nominated for four Golden Globes and an Oscar.

The Longest Yard was remade in 2005 featuring Adam Sandler as the star and Reynolds in a supporting role.

of 09

'Friday Night Lights' (2004)

Still from Friday Night Lights


Director Peter Berg took his cousin's best-selling novel, Friday Night Lights, and adapted it for the screen, bringing his own style and voice to the football film. Like the book, the resulting film doesn't paint the prettiest picture of a small Texas town, but it does provide a brutally realistic look at the Permian Panthers football program back in the late '80s. A spinoff TV series followed and ran from 2005 to 2011.

of 09

'The Express' (2008)

Still from The Express

 Davis Entertainment

Rob Brown does an incredible job of portraying the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy award in The Express, also stars Dennis Quaid and Omar Benson Miller. Running back Ernie Davis broke the color barrier, earning a spot in college football history at a difficult time in American history.

of 09

'Invincible' (2006)

Still from Invincible

Mark Wahlberg stars in this true story based on the incredible tale of Vince Papale, a real-life Cinderella story. Papale was a part-time bartender who loved football yet never dared to dream of playing in the NFL. But when Dick Vermeil took over as head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, he opened up tryouts to everybody. Papale was talked into giving it a try and the rest, as they say, is history.

of 09

'We Are Marshall' (2006)

Still from We Are Marshall

This is the moving story of how Marshall University, its students, teachers, and members of the community were able to fight back after a horrible plane crash took the lives of their football team and supporters on November 14, 1970.