Sports has been the backdrop for numerous films over the years. Some have been among the best films ever committed to celluloid or hard drives as the case may be now. The good ones usually say something about our culture that is so much deeper than sports. They are about family, friendship, commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, hope, dreams, violence and love. They are in short about America which is why I have purposely left out any foreign films or movies about soccer. Here is my current list of the top 10 sports movies of all time.

Bad News Bears – Bad language, bad acting, bad baseball, great story with a ton of heart. Walter Matthau is perfectly cast and the kids are just classic. Doesn’t hurt that I was 12 when this movie came out. I thought it was great then and upon further review, this movie has only gotten better with age.

North Dallas Forty – Fun with a capital “F”. This film takes a less than romantic look behind the scenes of a professional football franchise filled with over the top characters who sacrifice their bodies and play the game for the love of the sport. Probably modeled after the Raiders teams of the 60’s and 70’s.

Brian’s Song – Sure it’s kinda cheesy but the true story of friendship between two remarkable athlete’s is enough to make a grown man weep…every time.

Bull Durham – Quirky, romantic and full of great characters, this movie works on a lot of levels. Kevin Costner actually swings the bat and throws the ball like a baseball player and that authenticity holds the whole thing together.

Rocky – I never get tired of the loser makes good story line and Sylvester Stallone created an iconic character that will forever live in the hearts and minds of movie goers. America was in the dumper when this film came out and I think the theme song alone gave people a sense of hope.

Breaking Away – While not your typical sports film, this is one of the truly great movies of the 70’s. A beautiful script, great performances and a killer cast make this one shine even 35 years later.

Field of Dreams – Anyone who loves baseball, loves this movie because it taps into the pure and romantic notion of the great American game. Nostalgic and heartfelt, this film proved that if you make a good movie, they will come to see it.

The Pride of the Yankees – Gary Cooper played Lou Gherig in this Classic film about one of the greatest athletes in American history. Filmed shortly after Gherig’s death from ALS, the film even includes a cameo by Babe Ruth. Another tear jerker!

Hoosiers – An epic tale about a team of destiny that perfectly captures small town America and the spirit of high school sports. Gene Hackman is typically great. Dennis Hopper steals the show and the kids look like they were transported directly from the 1950s.

Raging Bull – Take a great story about a flawed hero. Shoot it in highly contrasted black and white with Scorsese at his technical peak. Mix in DeNiro, Pesci and a few other good fellas and BAM….Pure magic. The fight scenes are brutal poetry and the story is Shakespearean tragedy from start to finish. Never get tired of watching this one. Okay I left a bunch out, so sue me or better yet, write your own damn list. This is America after all.