Who’s ready for some football? Who would like to see football in the context of stories, maybe with some crying? Whether you’re a fan or not, these movies set in the world of football are worth seeing.
Burt Reynolds, who played college football, stars in The Longest Yard as former pro player who puts together a team in prison. (Ignore the Adam Sandler remake, please.)
North Dallas Forty is a darkly comic look at the game with Nick Nolte as an aging player who clashes with the coach.
Remember the Titans is inspired by the true story of the first integrated team at a Virginia high school, with Denzel Washington as Coach Boone. You will cry, I promise.
(Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?). Here Washington and the real Coach Boone talk about the role.
There’s more Ryan Gosling in a little-seen football movie gem The Slaughter Rule:
Chicago is my home town, so I have a soft spot for Brian’s Song, one of the cryingist movies of all time, the true story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, with Billy Dee Williams and James Caan.
Or you could try The Game Plan, featuring real-life former college football player Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson in a more family-friendly story about a selfish quarterback who discovers he has a ballet-loving daughter:
I’m a big fan of the silly but fun Keanu Reeves movie, The Replacements, with Gene Hackman as the coach, a kind of Dirty Dozen of football. Catch “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau on the team.
You can see Favreau in another crying football movie based on a true story, Rudy.
The Express is the true story of the first Black winner of the Heisman trophy, Ernie Davis, played by Rob Brown.
Or watch them all at once. with the ultimate locker room pep talk!