Chicago Sun-Times

Lights, camera, action: The top football movies of all-time

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TAMPA, Fla.--Super Sunday is two days away and all is quiet on the Bears' front as the organization works its way through organizational meetings.

It's been rainy here, the kind of weather where you're best holing up and throwing a movie in the DVD.

So we'll change it up here with a different topic, football movies. If your bootleg copy of Super Bowl XX isn't on the viewing list for the weekend, how about the best football movie of all-time?

There are a lot of good ones and certainly Brian's Song (the original) is worthy of being near the top of anyone's list. We reviewed a list found in an in-flight magazine on the way here in our aisle seat in row seven:

All the Right Moves, 1983
Any Given Sunday, 1999
Brian's Song, 1971 and 2002
The Express, 2008
Facing the Giants, 2006
Friday Night Lights, 2004
The Game Plan, 2007
The Gridiron Gang, 2006
Invincible, 2006
Jerry Maguire, 1996
Leatherheads, 2007
Little Giants, 1995
The Longest Yard, 1974 and 2005
Necessary Roughness, 1991
Radio, 2003
Remember the Titans, 2000
The Replacements, 2000
Rudy, 1993
Varsity Blues, 1999
Waterboy, 1998
We Are Marshall, 2006
Wildcats, 1986

By no means is that list complete and there's no good explanation for the omission of the 1979 Nick Nolte film "North Dallas Forty." It is included here. We'll submit the original "The Longest Yard" as our favorite. You can't go wrong with some vintage Burt Reynolds in the role of Paul Crewe. We got a bigger kick a couple years ago out of seeing a guy in a replica Cardinals Rod Tidwell jersey than we did "Jerry Maguire.'' Here's another compilation of top flicks and one more.

Have at it.


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13 Comments

Any Given Sunday is tops on my list.

Go BEARS.

Rudy, then Gridiron Gang, then the Longest Yard 2005

Hey Brad,

Take a gander at the first movie on the list next time before writing, "Also missing is the 1983 classic 'All the Right Moves'".

Any man that doesn't get a little shook-up watch the original "Brian's Song" doesn't have a soul.

Hey, how about Knute Rockne All American (1940)

The best one isn't even on that list. The Program is by far one of the best football movies of all time.

Paper Lion 1968, not my favorite but it should be on the list.
"You try the AFL?"


The Longest Yard 2005, should not be on this list and is an insult to football movies. Sorry Ish, the original was much better.

North Dallas Forty 1979,
"You had better learn how to play the game, and I don't mean just the game of football."

Russ is right how on earth do they leave off "Knute Rockne All American?"
"Now I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years. (pause) None of you ever knew George Gipp. (pause) He was long before your time, but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. (pause) And the last thing he said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. (pause) I don't know where I'll be then, Rock,' he said, 'but I'll know about it and I'll be happy.'"
How on earth do you miss this?


The Program 1993, again no the best football movie but better than some of the garbage on that list.
"I don't know, it's the battle, the going to war with the other guys, hanging together, having our own dorm, staying in hotels the night before the games, setting ourselves apart, being different than everybody else, having a chance to be somebody, to do something that people look up to you for, your strength, your courage, not everybody can play football... we're the lucky ones."

How about "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29". This is a documentary released in 2008. I haven't seen it, but the reviews were very positive. Tommy Lee Jones was the starting guard for Harvard (1968).

The Longest yard remake sucked and shouldn't be on the list.

What about the remake Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty (1978)? Yeah, there's a love story in there but so what else is new?

No worries Creighton. I was not around the time for the first Longest Yard, so I'll take your word for it that it is the better one. My father-in-law says the same about the new one. But I am a fan of Psycho Romanowski and Chris Rock. And Chris Burman wasn't too shabby either. But that is just my view. I also liked the Replacements mailey because it showed that there were players that played from the heart while others played from the wallet. And I was a fan of Orlando Jones' character and that kicker was funny too.

Ish, Ish, Ish, I liked the Replacements, sort of. I would put the TV on mute and only watch the scenes with the cheerleaders. Friday Night Lights is probably the best of the Modern era football movies.

1.Knute Rockne All American, it's the Wonderful Life of Football movies.
2.Brian's Song 1971, may cause a salty dischage to occure from many a Bear fans eyes.
3.Friday Night Lights, just raw.
4.The Longest Yard. Burt at his best.
5.Rudy, sentimental suger that will make you a little sick, but manages to bring out the over achiever in all of us.

Can't miss pick. Waterboy, Gatorade vs. HTO.

I love Invincible if you take it at face value and ignore the "real" story behind it. It was by far my favorite movie and had a great cast with Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear and one of the most underrated actors IMHO Kirk Acevedo. Throw in a great supporting role as Vince's father by Kevin Conway and this was an excellent movie.

Sadly, Conway and Acevedo went on to play parts in The Black Donnelly's which was one of my favorite television series but was cut way too prematurely.

I also agree, The Program wasn't exactly high theatre but it was a lot better than the schlock-fest of movies listed.

For shear entertainment (including one sexy whipped cream bikini) I like Varsity Blues. Scott Caan absolutely made that movie with his portrayal as wild-man Tweeder. I bust a gut every time it's on and he has the alum hold the potted plant over his head and then whacks the guy in the nuts with a wiffle ball bat. "Now say 'I'm dumb and I'm about to get hit in the nuts!'" ... juvenile yes but still funny.

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