The baseball game in The Naked Gun (1988)
The denouement of this Citizen Kane of slapstick takes place at a baseball game and makes a delightful mockery of everything from umpires' elaborately choreographed strike calls (the moonwalking punch-out of Leslie Nielsen, right) to scoreboard blooper reels (a sliding base runner is mauled by a tiger).
The football game in M*A*S*H (1970)
The showdown between the 4077th and the 325th evac hospital has everything a big game should—ringers, a trick play and a strategically employed hypodermic needle—plus some deathless dialogue. Major Houlihan: "My God, they've shot him!"
Lieutenant Colonel Blake: "Hot Lips, you incredible nincompoop. That's the end of the quarter."
The tryout scenes in Grease (1978)
Guys play sports for one reason: to impress girls. Hence John Travolta's futile attempts, in a series of scenes, to make the Rydell High basketball, wrestling, baseball and track teams (he trips over a hurdle), all to win the heart of Olivia Newton-John.
The Super Bowl scene in Black Sunday (1977)
Before he gave us Hannibal Lecter, Thomas Harris wrote a novel about a disgruntled Vietnam vet, played on screen by Bruce Dern, who plans to blow up a blimp filled with steel darts at the Super Bowl. The suspenseful climax included footage filmed at Super Bowl X in Miami.
The Giants game in When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Billy Crystal shows just how programmed to cheer we can become by mindlessly taking part in a wave at a football game as he recounts to Bruno Kirby the dissolution of his marriage.
The basketball dream scene in Fletch (1985)
Chevy Chase imagines himself as a Lakers star—receiving a pass from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scoring on a reverse layup—all to the play-by-play of Chick Hearn. ("Fletch: He truly defines grace under pressure.")
The golf scene in Swingers (1996)
In one of the best male-bonding scenes in a movie full of them, Jon Favreau and Ron Livingston commiserate about Favreau's love life and Livingston's stalled acting career while counting up strokes at a par-3 hole ( Favreau takes an eight...or a nine). A close second from the same film: Vince Vaughn makes the Wayne Gretzky figure's head bleed on a video game, sparking a wrestling match with Patrick Van Horn.
The tennis match in Strangers on a Train (1951)
This thriller about a tennis player (Farley Granger) lured into a murderous scheme by the deranged Robert Walker features one of director Alfred Hitchcock's eeriest scenes: As Granger sits courtside watching a practice match, every head in the crowd swivels to follow the action—except Walker's, which stays focused on Granger.