Sunday 7th February sees one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, Super Bowl 50! As a big fan of American Football, the Super Bowl is always marked up on my calendar, regardless of whether my team is playing in it or not.
Whether you’re a fan of the sport or just like to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and half-time show, it’s undoubtedly a huge spectacle, and all this week I have been getting in the mood by watching some awesome football movies. Here are 6 films to get you in the mood for the big event! Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts and favourites in the comments below!
1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Would rank pretty high on the list of most people’s favourite sport movies, this classic is everything you would want from a sport movie. It is cheesy and predictable, but then all the best ones are. Denzel Washington is great as Coach Boone, and it also features early performances from a very young Ryan Gosling and an even younger Hayden Panettiere. Even if you don’t like football, this is also a story of friendship and overcoming adversity, and is undoubtedly emotional; the relationship between Gerry and Julius is particularly touching. If crying over sports movies is your thing, then Remember the Titans is right up your street.
2. The Blind Side (2009)
The semi-biographical story of Michael Oher, the gentle giant who overcame a troubled upbringing after he was taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family, and went on to be drafted into the NFL. Sandra Bullock is wonderful as Leigh Anne, and whilst there’s less focus on football and more focus on the relationship between Michael and Leigh Anne, this is still a great watch. This is an easy film to watch even if you have absolutely no interest in the sport, it’s heart-warming, inspirational and genuinely charming.
3. Undefeated (2011)
Documentary about an underdog football team who look to reverse their fortunes thanks to their amazing coach, Bill Courtney. The Manassas Tigers are underfunded, underprivileged and in desperate need of some success. If this wasn’t a documentary, it would have made a great script for a dramatisation, but the fact it is a documentary, makes it even more outstanding. It rightly won an Academy Award, and is probably my favourite football movie. It makes me cry every time, it’s well told and has a huge amount of heart. Anyone who loves an inspirational, feel-good film will enjoy this, whether they’re football fans or not! I absolutely urge you to check this out if you haven’t seen it before.
4. Rudy (1993)
The story of one boy’s journey to fulfil his childhood dream and play for Notre Dame. Sean Astin is incredibly likeable in the lead role, and his unwavering determination to live out his dream is really inspiring. There’s not much football action, but it’s a great story, and certainly very accessible for non-Football fans, especially if you like an underdog story. It is unusual in the sense that you barely see the hero play any football, but it is his determination and passion for the game that inspires.
5. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Featuring a great cast that includes Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, this no holds barred look at a professional football team has a lot to like. It has a great soundtrack, it’s loud, shouty and foul-mouthed; a far cry away from Disney! Does a great job of showing all aspects of the game; success, failures, management, excess, and the great personal cost of playing such a physical game. The final speech is maybe the best you’ll hear in any film, and Al Pacino does a great job as the coach under pressure. The great cast might be enough of a draw for some people but this one might be more of a struggle for casual viewers and non-football fans to enjoy, but if you love the game you’ll love this one!
6. Friday Night Lights (2004)
I expect most people will be familiar with the TV show of the same name, but maybe you don’t know that the TV show is based on this film, which is based on a book, which is based on a true story. There’s a couple of familiar faces from the TV show (as different characters), but it’s very different from the show and much truer to the source material. After their star running back goes down in the first game of the season, the rest of the Permian Panthers must rally to save their team if they have a chance of winning state. Is filmed in a slightly grittier and more realistic style that most other Football movies, and even looks like a documentary in places. With focus on individual stories off the field as well as on, you’ll fine plenty to like in this dramatic film. If you enjoy the nail-biting conclusion, just know that’s how most of us football fans feel every week!!
These are some of my favourite football movies, but what are yours? Let me know in the comments below!