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Disney’s Best Sports Movies, Ranked


Disney is essentially perfect at hitting its target audience. They’ve created one of the largest production companies in the world, and it is all dedicated to the youth. They inspire with their tales and motivate with every story generated, no matter what kind of movie it is.


With the intention to encourage young adults, they’ve designed and released some of the best sports movies — some true and some constructed through imagination.

10 Herbie: Fully Loaded

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Herbie: Fully Loaded stars Lindsay Lohan as Maggie Peyton, a determined teenager who became impassioned by NASCAR. When Maggie graduates from college, her family takes her to the junkyard to choose a car as a present for her achievements. Choosing Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle, Maggie had some work ahead of her before she could drive her new vehicle, as it needed a mechanic’s touch for safety.

Being the daughter of NASCAR legend Ray Peyton Sr., Maggie inherited her love for racing. Though Herbie was a recycled NASCAR vehicle, Maggie was able to enliven its spirit and turn him back into an elite machine for racing. Not only that, but Maggie had the talent to do so. She won an impromptu race against NASCAR driver Trip Murphy and soon had the support of her entire community and family.

Related: Here are Lindsay Lohan’s Best Teen Movies, Ranked

Herbie had a mind of his own. He winked with his headlights and could be put into full throttle within a matter of seconds. Though some were afraid of Herbie’s human abilities, Maggie and her car were just right for each other. At times, Herbie took full control, causing Maggie to at first be hesitant to drive him, but soon she fell deeply for both the sport of NASCAR and Herbie.

Maggie turns Herbie into a stallion of a car, as his spirit was full of confidence. The two take part in multiple races in hopes to win money for Maggie and her family, as they were slowly going broke. When the final race happened, Herbie had some difficulties but was able to muster enough pace to beat Jeff Gordon and everyone on the track. Not only did Maggie give Herbie life, Herbie in turn, gave it right back.

9 The Luck of the Irish

The Luck of the Irish
Disney

In The Luck of the Irish, Kyle goes about his high school experience as very well-liked and a star basketball player. This superiority didn’t just happen because he was naturally gifted, it was because of his lucky gold coin. Kyle has everything going for him, but when he asks his mom where they came from for a school project, she refuses to answer. Kyle brushes this off, but after a trip to the Irish festival with his friend Russell, he begins experiencing odd happenings. His hair turns orange, he’s shrunk in size, and his ears have changed in shape.

Noticing he doesn’t have his lucky gold coin anymore, Kyle and his family set out to find who stole it. Finally, they realize it was an evil leprechaun named Seamus. Kyle desperately needs the coin back so that he, his mom, and his dad can be disguised as humans. They find Seamus, but the return of the lucky gold coin isn’t an easy feat. To decide who takes ownership, Kyle and his friends agree to compete against Seamus and his friends in a game of basketball. Kyle still doesn’t have the coin, and to make matters worse, his friend Reilly had been shrunk and taken by Seamus.

Placing a bet that he and his team would win, Kyle realizes he doesn’t need the coin once they won the game. Kyle finally embraces his heritage, and he decides to remain as a leprechaun.

8 Motocrossed

Motocrossed
Disney Channel

In Motocrossed, Andrew and his sister Andrea find themselves at a crossroads when they both want to be the successor in their father’s eyes. They each loved motocross, but their father, Edward, didn’t think that it was a girl’s sport, so he and their mother, Geneva, only allowed Andrew to take part in the games.

On one occasion of the siblings competing without their parents knowing, Andrew crashes his bike and injures his knee. Now the family is left having to seek extra sources for finances as well as find an alternative racer for The Cup where Andrew was supposed to secure corporate sponsorships. Andrea, Andrew, and their mom come up with a scheme to have Andrea compete in disguise as Andrew. However, they have to do this behind Edward’s back, and before he finds a replacement racer for their brand Carson Racing.

Edward eventually finds out that it’s Andrea competing and instead of supporting her for placing third in her first competition, he finds someone else to compete for The Cup. However, the replacement, Cartier, is double-crossing the family by talking to the competition. Not only that, he was disrespecting the entire family.

Realizing that Cartier wasn’t a good fit for them, Edward lets him go as a racer. He then finally allows Andrea to compete after coming to terms with her passion and skill for the sport. Andrea finally gets to compete in The Cup and wins first place. Being that Cartier lost to her, he outed her as racing as a female in a “male” sport. Rules and regulations are read, and Andrea is deemed allowed to compete. The whole family receives sponsorship and finally, they have no more financial struggles.

7 Double Teamed

Double Teamed
Disney

Based on the true story of Heather and Heidi Burge, Double Teamed follows the twins through their high school basketball career. Having moved to a new town and away from friends and their comfort zone, Heather and Heidi tried all they could to fit in. Embarrassed, they lied about living in a motel but soon found their place. Initially, the twins were going to play volleyball, but the school’s basketball coach was so impressed by their height that he confronted them to play for the girl’s basketball team.

Heather was all in, but Heidi was hesitant to join, as she wanted to step out of her sister’s shadow. With a little convincing from the head coach and their father, the twins joined their high school basketball team. Through sweat and tears, both Heather and Heidi led their team to many wins. However, one night before one of their most important games, Heather accidentally sprains her ankle while practicing outside her motel room. Though injured, she musters enough spirit to join her team in the remaining minutes of their tournament play-in game to take home the win.

The twins not only exceeded expectations as new basketball players, but they also surpassed great barriers to becoming drafted into the WNBA. Heather played for the Sacramento Monarchs and Heidi played for the Los Angeles Sparks. Though the twins wouldn’t face off during regular season games, they continued to thrive as professional basketball players well into their adulthood.

6 Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Cool Runnings is a Disney comedic sports classic. With a budget of only $17 million, the film had great success with a box office gross of $154.9 million. The film is based on the true story of the Jamaican National Bobsleigh team from the 1988 Winter Olympics. Originally, one of the four team members, Derice Bannock, was a sprinter training for the Olympics, but when he tripped and fell during his meet, he was disqualified from the standings.

Related: Best Movies About The Olympics, Ranked

He and his three friends then seek out other ways to accomplish Bannock’s Olympic goals and decide to try to qualify for the Winter Olympics with a bobsled team. However, none of the teammates knew how to race, nor did they have snow or ice to practice on. Training themselves on how to properly bobsled, they knew they needed additional help, so they asked Irvin Blitzer, an ex-bobsledder who cheated in the 1972 games. In hopes that Blitzer can lead them to a gold medal, they do everything to convince him to coach them.

Thinking that the team will bring shame to Jamaica, Blitzer refuses to help the four men raise the $20,000 needed to participate in the Olympics. They end up selling a teammate’s car, aiding in their entry fee. Though it would take some time to get used to the climate and conditions, the team eventually learns and develops enough skills as an established bobsleigh team. They may not have won or medaled, but their story shows exactly where determination and hard work can lead.

5 Miracle

Miracle 2004
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Miracle tells the true story of a USA hockey team playing in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, leads his highly skilled team to victory against their anticipated rivals, the Soviet Union, but not before a journey of hard work and extreme dedication. Brooks was a new coach of the team and landed his leadership by explaining how he’d meticulously beat the Soviets by adjusting the practice regiment of the men’s USA hockey team.

Having chosen 26 players, Brooks initiated some of the hardest conditioning practices to reduce the team down to 20 of the best players in the country. Though college rivals are now playing together, the players eventually learn to work together, putting their hopes to win gold first. Practices became so difficult, but Brooks knew the players had to succumb to their weaknesses in order to play to their best ability.

In one of the film’s most iconic scenes, Brooks orders the entire team to the end line on the ice after only tying to team Norway. With blood and sweat, he worked the players to the bone by commanding them to skate full ice suicides over, and over, and over again. And when he was just about to break them fully, he leaned right into his tactic even more by having the players call out their own names and who they play for, wanting to know if the players would say their Olympic team or their college team, as they had still been playing as if they were rivals against each other.

As underdogs to the Soviets who had only lost one game since 1964, the game was fierce. Both teams go back and forth with scoring goals, making the score 4-3 with the USA in the lead. They hold the Soviets off until the end, unexpectedly winning the game. The next face-off would be against Finland, and this one was for the gold medal. They defeat their opponents 4-2 and with pride and sentiment, step to the podium to accept their gold.

4 Air Bud

Air Bud with basketball
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Of course, we can’t discuss some of Disney’s best sports movies without mentioning Air Bud. When Josh’s father passed, he and his family were mourning and needed some extra support. So when Josh came across a runaway golden retriever dog while practicing basketball after school, he brought him home. The two build a friendship as any dog and young boy would, and it deepens when Josh realizes he can play basketball.

Josh names the retriever Buddy and has his hopes set on keeping him. First, his mother proposes that he can keep the dog until Christmas. After seeing how much Buddy loved their family and vice versa, Josh’s mom allows Buddy to stay indefinitely.

Though Josh was still missing his father, he tries out for the school basketball team and to his surprise, makes it. While Josh’s team was competing in one of their first games, Buddy shows up at the school, finds his way to the basketball court, and makes a basket. The crowd loved it! Buddy was then made the official mascot.

When Buddy’s old owner, who was an abusive man, saw his success and fame, he orders that Josh and his family return Buddy to him. Not wanting Buddy to undergo abuse, Josh sneaks into his owner’s backyard and sets Buddy free to the woods, hoping he will have a better life. However, the love between Josh and Buddy was so strong, Buddy found his way back to Josh. Not only that, he showed up just in time for the championship game, and instead of mascotting, he joined the team and led them to a victory.

Though Buddy’s original owner had taken him back before the championship game, the community and police officers agreed to let Buddy choose who he wanted to go home with. Buddy runs to Josh as opposed to his old owner. Not only did they win the championship game together, they finally get to be family forever.

3 The Rookie

The Rookie
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The Rookie is one of those classic films that not only warms the heart but inspires you to keep going despite your alleged shortcomings. Based on the true story of MLB player Jim Morris, actor Dennis Quaid captured the essence of a man who never gave up on his dream exceptionally. The film explains Morris’ passion for baseball, and though many counted him out, he never fell to the demise of people’s opinions.

Throughout the movie, we see Quaid as Morris who serves as a family man in a small town in Texas. He grew up as a top-tier pitcher but lost his interest in baseball somewhere along the way. Though he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers early in his career, he tore his shoulder and was forced to leave the game he loved. When he started coaching a high school baseball team his dream began creeping up on him. The team knew of his skill and passion, pushing him towards his goal to be an MLB pitcher once more.

Related: Best Speeches from Coaches in Sports Movies, Ranked

Though he was in his mid-thirties with the odds against him, the team he coached made a bet with him. They agreed that if their team won district, Morris had to try out for the major leagues. Morris showcases his fiery fastball at 98MPH, granting him a place in the lineup of the Tampa Bay Rays. He succeeds at achieving his childhood goal and plays for two seasons before returning home to Texas.

2 The Mighty Ducks

the-mighty-ducks
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The Mighty Ducks serves as one of the best representations of what teamwork is all about. The film follows a youth hockey team with both boys and girls coached by Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez). Though its storyline is fictional, this somewhat true story is based on the Anaheim NHL team which was founded by the Walt Disney Company.

When Bombay was sentenced to 500 hours of community service, he took on the role of coach to The Mighty Ducks, a mismatched and underachieving team. However, with Bombay’s investment, they reached goals they never thought they could accomplish. Bombay was able to purchase new gear and instill his hockey knowledge into the team, as he was a previous hockey player himself.

With a little encouragement and the proper equipment, The Mighty Ducks were able to go from losing every game to making the playoffs and winning the title against Bombay’s team he grew up playing on, still coached by the same coach, Jack Reilly. What’s more, The Mighty Ducks initiated one of the most epic lineups in hockey history. Inspired by the way in which ducks fly together, the team formed a v-shape line called “The Flying V” while on the ice, making it impossible to defend them.

There are two sequels in the franchise which feature Bombay getting back into the game he loved by trying out for a minor-league team. Both coach and players continue their hockey success as the story unfolds, making this saga a great inspiration for those who are motivated by underdogs.

1 Remember the Titans

remember-the-titans
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Remember the Titans is probably one of the most iconic films about football. Its story is that of courage and leadership. When Coach Boone, a Black man in the South during the ’70s was called to coach a team of mixed races, he knew he had to be as collected as possible, as the town of Alexandria, Virginia did not encourage mixed race teams. Though he faced backlash from the community, Boone proved to be the standout coach he knew he was.

The Titans were led by players Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell. Though it took time to mesh, they developed into a determined team of endurance and skill. They not only started as a dominant team in their high school league, but they also continued to defeat their opponents to the very end. Advancing to the championship game, the Titans were quick to celebrate with their town who turned their perspective around to support the superior football team.

However, celebrations were cut short when the starting captain Gerry Bertier was struck by an oncoming vehicle and became paralyzed from the waist down. Mourning the strife of their linebacker, the Titans had no choice but to continue forward to the state title game. They ended up winning while Bertier watched from his hospital bed. Ten years later, Bertier is in yet another car accident and loses his life. To end the film, the team comes together at his funeral and commemorates his honor with their team song NaNa Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

Though the list could go on, the Disney movies named above tell some of the most relatable stories in sports. From training so hard you become an Olympic champion, to changing the game because you’re a female that placed first in a “male” sport, the stories of youth in sports continue to inspire and engage through its emotive content.



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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