10 Best Football Movies to Stream
Like an All-American middle linebacker, these football movies hit on another level.
Everyone has a different idea of what makes a great football movie. Some like a lot of on-field action, while others enjoy the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolds beyond the gridiron.
No matter your preference, the sport of football has been a mainstay in cinema for over a century. And we’re here to narrow that crowded history down into a list of our ten favorite movies.
You may agree or disagree with our selections. Just don’t hit us with unnecessary roughness if your top football film isn’t listed here.
#10: The Waterboy (1998)
Of the various Adam Sandler sports movies, The Waterboy is probably the silliest. But it’s still an enjoyable college football movie that’s sure to make you chuckle. Eagle-eyed viewers will also find a few connections to other films in the so-called Sandlerverse.
#9: The Freshman (1925)
Speaking of football comedies, Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman is the OG of the genre. The silent film starred Lloyd as a student looking to become the big man on campus in his first year of college. Funny enough, Lloyd’s granddaughter sued Disney for The Waterboy’s similarities with The Freshman. But a district court judge ruled that the Sandler pic didn’t infringe copyright law.
#8: Leatherheads (2008)
As a director, George Clooney has quite a diverse filmography. But one movie that sticks out the most comedically is the delightfully charming Leatherheads. Starring Clooney, Renée Zellweger, and John Krasinski, Leatherheads tells a fictional account of pro football’s legitimization during the 1920s. It’s a fun and quirky movie full of old-timey, slapstick humor—reminiscent of Clooney’s work with the Coen brothers.
Stream Leatherheads on Freevee.
#7: Heaven Can Wait (1978)
In Heaven Can Wait, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) gets a new lease on life after he’s escorted to the afterlife too soon. Unfortunately, there are several obstacles to overcome, as he can only continue on Earth in someone else’s body. But his ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl propels him beyond each hurdle in this fantastical sports comedy.
Stream Heaven Can Wait on Paramount+.
#6: The Blind Side (2009)
Based on the early life of Michael Oher, The Blind Side was a box office hit during the 2009 holiday season. Oher’s rags to riches story touched film-going audiences and even earned Sandra Bullock the Academy Award for Best Actress. Now, over ten years after the film’s release, The Blind Side still holds up—packing an emotional punch with each viewing.
Stream The Blind Side on Peacock.
#5: Varsity Blues (1999)
James Van Der Beek’s popularity escalated quickly when Dawson’s Creek made a splash on TV in the winter of 1998. Then, a year later, Van Der Beek hit the big screen with his first leading role in Varsity Blues. The result is a high-octane film about high school football in Texas. It has its goofy coming-of-age moments—sometimes feeling like it’s trying to be American Pie. But when its game face is on, Varsity Blues knows how to pack a punch.
Stream Varsity Blues on Paramount+.
#4: Remember the Titans (2000)
Like most movies based on a true story, Remember the Titans takes many creative liberties with its narrative. But that doesn’t subtract from the legacy of coach Herman Boone and the T. C. Williams High School football team. In fact, Boone’s portrayal by Denzel Washington elevates Remember the Titans into the category of modern sports classic. And the film’s message of standing up to adversity never falters, even on repeat viewings.
Stream Remember the Titans on Disney+.
#3: Friday Night Lights (2004)
The quintessential high school football movie is Friday Night Lights. Like Varsity Blues, it follows a Texan team’s journey to the state championship. But there’s a much more delicate side to Friday Night Lights that’s expertly juxtaposed with football’s on- and off-field brutality. Plus, Billy Bob Thornton has a knack for playing coaches.
Stream Friday Night Lights and its acclaimed TV adaptation on Peacock.
#2: Rudy (1993)
“It’s the last practice of the season, and this asshole thinks it’s the Super Bowl!” Those are the words of a riled-up teammate harping on Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) for his never-ending commitment. It perfectly sums up the spirit of Rudy, an inspiring film centered on one man’s dream to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.
#1: Jerry Maguire (1996)
People should view Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire for what it is: an epic sports movie. At well over two hours long, the film expertly maneuvers between comedy and drama while telling a romantic tale set in the sports industry. Tom Cruise is at the height of his acting powers as the title character, a recently fired sports agent hoping to make a difference in his career. Along the way, he finds love, friendship, and—most importantly—the kwan.
Stream Jerry Maguire on HBO Max.