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TOP Fifteen
Jack McCallum
February 05, 2001
What makes a sports movie? Not just Marlon Brando saying "I coulda been a contender. "Sports movies revolvearound athletes or sports. What makes a great sports movie? That's much harder to define. Let the arguments begin.
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February 05, 2001

Top Fifteen

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What makes a sports movie? Not just Marlon Brando saying "I coulda been a contender. "Sports movies revolve
around athletes or sports. What makes a great sports movie? That's much harder to define. Let the arguments begin.

1. Bull Durham (1988): The action and little details are perfect. And there's Susan Sarandon.

2. Raging Bull (1980): It's so widely (and deservedly) praised that no one points out that the stylized boxing scenes are unrealistic.

3. Rocky (1976): Director John Avildsen says Rocky's and Adrian's skating scene resonates for him; we like Sly brutalizing a side of beef.

4. Hoosiers (1986): Hackman, Hopper, Hershey and hoops. It doesn't get more heavenly than that.

5. Body and Soul (1947): Few movie lines are colder than the one by the gangster (Lloyd Gough) as he studies an unconscious boxer with a blood clot: "Everybody dies."

6. The Hustler (1961): The foreboding Twilight Zone ambience of this pool film, with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman, is riveting.

7. Chariots of Fire (1981): Who can forget Ian Holm, as coach Sam Mussabini, punching his hand through his hat after his student wins gold at the '24 Games?

8. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962): As the washed-up fighter trying to avoid selling out as a pro wrestler, Anthony Quinn gives an immortal performance.

9. Slap Shot (1977): The tableau of the Hanson Brothers—dried blood, broken glasses, blank expressions—standing at rapt attention in a minor league rink for the national anthem is priceless.

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