In this Dec. 6, 1985 file photo, actor Gene Hackman gives fictional Hickory High basketball players instructions during filming of the final game of the movie “Hoosiers” at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler University campus in Indianapolis. AP file photo

AUGUSTA — During the last two months, staff writer Travis Barrett has unveiled his top 10 sports movies ever made.

His list wrapped up Thursday with the great “Bull Durham” taking the No. 1 spot.

Here is how the sports staff at the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel ranked their top 10 sports movies …


Bill Stewart

10. Youngblood. OK, so nothing in this 1986 movie is unpredictable, but it works. And it’s kind of a hockey cult-favorite.

9. A league of their own. The movie is rich with plenty of big name actors and actresses, and they all deliver. Even Jon Lovitz.

8. Rudy. Admit it: When Sean Astin’s character Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger’ finally takes the field at Notre Dame, you are ready to “run through a wall.”

7. Rocky I. Rocky Balboa didn’t defeat nemesis Apollo Creed until Rocky II. That’s part of what makes the first movie so good.

6. The Natural. A wonderful story with an abundance of fascinating characters.

5. We are Marshall. Another terrific story that follows the aftermath of the deadly 1970 plane crash that devastated Marshall University and its football program. The graveyard speech toward the end is one of most underrated scenes I’ve seen.

4. Hoosiers. Ever wonder what you could’ve accomplished had someone like Gene Hackman coached you back in the day?

3. Field of Dreams. The final film role for the great Burt Lancaster, this movie is full of great moments after great moments.

2. Miracle. It’s truly unbelievable how Kurt Russell wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of the great Herb Brooks.

1. Bull Durham. “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.” There are countless great lines in the movie, but this one is tops.

In this Sept. 8, 2006, file photo, actor Sylvester Stallone poses in front of the bronze statue of Stallone portraying the boxer Rocky Balboa after it was unveiled near the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, rear. AP photo


Sandra Pooler

10. Rudy. Rudy Ruettiger overcomes it all to play football at Notre Dame.

9. Miracle. Kurt Russell brings it all together as the U.S. men’s hockey team shocks the Soviet Union en route to winning Olympic gold.

8. Raging Bull. Film has brutal honesty about life and cool boxing scenes.

7. Field of Dreams. Movie makes you care about the characters.

6. A League of Their Own. Big name actors and actresses deliver big time performances.

5. Caddyshack. One liners throughout…not for everyone, but still funny.

4. The Longest Yard. Tough and funny with Burt Reynolds perfectly cast.

3. The Bad News Bears. Coach Morris Buttermaker brings in ringers to save this team from its biggest problem: Their parents.

2. The Natural. 30-something rookie Roy Hobbs overcomes a gunshot wound, his age and a dirty team owner.

1.  Rocky. The ultimate underdog movie. Rocky Balboa doesn’t even win and it doesn’t even matter.


Travis Lazarczyk

10. Hoop Dreams. This documentary follows two Chicago teens as they try to earn Division I basketball scholarships.

9. Dazed and Confused. There’s only one sports scene in the movie, a brief look at the end of a youth baseball game. But the underlying tension involving the upcoming high school football season is always there for the main characters, and that qualifies “Dazed and Confused” as a sports movie to me. Plus, it’s the most honest movie about American teenage life I’ve seen.

8. Major League. If you dropped into one of my high school baseball team’s practices in 1989, you would’ve heard almost every line of this movie repeated with enthusiasm.

7. Miracle. I’m a sucker for anything involving the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Kurt Russell gave the best performance of his career as Herb Brooks.

6. The Bad News Bears. Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker is brilliant. The children playing the Bears are great. Not only one of the best baseball movies of all time, in 1976 it foreshadowed the biggest problem in youth sports: parents.

5. Caddyshack. Maybe the most-often quoted sports movie of all time. It’s ludicrous and juvenile and still makes me laugh every time I watch it.

4. Bull Durham. Every time the clowns currently doing their best to ruin Major League Baseball rile you up, watch “Bull Durham” and you’ll recover a little bit of your love of the game.

3. Slap Shot. It feels a little dated now, but “Slap Shot” is still funny. You can tell the cast, especially Paul Newman, had a lot of fun making this movie.

2. Hoosiers. This movie still inspires countless small town high schools across the country every basketball season. Dennis Hooper should have won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Shooter Flatch.

1. Raging Bull. Both director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro have a library of outstanding work, much of it done together. This 1980 look at the life of boxer Jake LaMotta is the best movie either has made.

The Field of Dreams movie site, rear, is seen as construction of a baseball field continues on June 5 in Dyersville, Iowa. AP photo

Drew Bonifant

10. Friday Night Lights: A compelling story of overloaded expectations, demanding parents and a drive to win. Derek Luke’s breakdown scene in the car is just heartbreaking.

9. The Legend of Bagger Vance: It’s flawed, but I love this movie. It understands how to show golf as both a sport and a spiritual experience, and it comes off as honest and heartfelt.

8. Bull Durham: The comedy hits, of course, but Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis and Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy are so complex and well-rounded, and that’s what drives the movie.

7. Caddyshack: It’s a little dated, and the comedy isn’t for everyone. But Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield are so good, and the script is one-liner heaven.

6. Remember the Titans: Some messages fall flat, they don’t here. The lessons are shown, not just told. And who’d have thought a Disney movie could portray the football on the field so well?

5. Rocky: A raw-feeling underdog story that inspires without coming off as hokey. And the music is riveting.

4. A League of Their Own: The whole cast clicks, but Tom Hanks is incredible. The story is so good and so touching that it’s easy to forget how funny the movie is.

3. Major League: I can’t think of a funnier sports movie. The main actors (and Bob Uecker) get the credit, but Wesley Snipes’s Willie Mays Hays, James Gammon’s Lou Brown and Dennis Haysbert’s Pedro Cerrano steal the show.

2. Raging Bull: Pound-for-pound, probably the best film on this list. Robert De Niro is brilliant, and Martin Scorsese crafts an excellent character study of both boxer and man.

1. Field of Dreams: Baseball isn’t just fun, it’s special, and this movie understands that. The magic in the story works and the emotions the film goes for are honest and ring true. The ending is poignant and perfect.


Dave Dyer

10. The Natural: If you want to be depressed, read the book. If you want to be uplifted and entertained, watch the movie.

9. The Fighter: Excellent telling of the comeback story of boxer Micky Ward. Christian Bale nearly steals the show as screw-up brother Dicky Eklund.

8. Eight Men Out: Underrated film on the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” scandal. While not completely historically accurate, it’s close and entertaining.

7. The Wrestler: The best movie involving professional wrestling I have ever seen. Micky Rourke should have won an Oscar for his performance as falling star Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

6. Rudy: The underdog of all underdogs makes it in a Division I football program. Made me a fan of Notre Dame football. Stinks Joe Montana killed the real Rudy Reuttiger story some years back.

5. Miracle: Might be Kurt Russell’s best movie performance as 1980 US Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks.

4. Slap Shot: The ultimate hockey movie. An absolute riot. Would never be allowed to be made in 2020 America.

3. Bull Durham: I honestly believe Crash Davis might be the best fictional baseball player of all time. Hilarious, easily quotable film.

2. Raging Bull: Greatest boxing movie ever made. Robert De Niro truly all-in physically in his performance of Jake La Motta.

1. Rocky: The ultimate underdog film. The original is the best ever, the rest are just filler. Rocky V should be viewed in prisons as punishment.

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