Special Report

The Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

5. Breaking Away (1979)
> Starring: Paul Dooley, Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid
> Director: Peter Yates
> IMDb rating: 7.7 out of 10
> Tomatometer score: 95%
> RT audience score: 88%

“Breaking Away” is a coming-of-age movie about a cycling enthusiast in Indiana who dreams of riding with a team of renowned Italian cyclists while he pursues his love interest who has gone away to Indiana University. The film featured emerging stars Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
> Starring: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman
> Director: Clint Eastwood
> IMDb rating: 8.1 out of 10
> Tomatometer score: 90%
> RT audience score: 90%

Clint Eastwood directs “Million Dollar Baby” about a poor 31-year-old woman who is determined to become a professional boxer, only to have her promising career cut short by a tragic injury. The movie won four of the biggest categories — Best Picture, Best Actress (Hilary Swank), Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman), and Best Director.

Source: Courtesy of ACME

3. The Wrestler (2008)
> Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
> Director: Darren Aronofsky
> IMDb rating: 7.9 out of 10
> Tomatometer score: 98%
> RT audience score: 88%

Critics praise Mickey Rourke for his “astounding,” “career-reviving” performance as a popular wrestler who suffers a heart attack and is forced to retire, but struggles with his new life. The movie was directed by Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”).

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

2. Raging Bull (1980)
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
> Director: Martin Scorsese
> IMDb rating: 8.2 out of 10
> Tomatometer score: 93%
> RT audience score: 93%

“Raging Bull” was one of the best movies of the 1980s, a brilliant and disturbing look at the life of self-destructive middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta. Martin Scorsese shot the film in black and white, which adds to the grimness of LaMotta’s life.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

1. The Hustler (1961)
> Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
> Director: Robert Rossen
> IMDb rating: 8.0 out of 10
> Tomatometer score: 98%
> RT audience score: 93%

The Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus describes “The Hustler” as a “dark, morally complex tale of redemption.” Paul Newman plays “Fast” Eddie Felson, an up-and-coming pool player who aims to unseat legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) as the world’s best. The iconic film received positive reviews from 98% of critics and 93% of viewers, per Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Hustler” was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two — for best art direction-set decoration and best cinematography. Newman would later go on to win a best actor Oscar for portraying Fast Eddie in the 1986 follow-up film “The Color of Money,” in which he teaches a young player (portrayed by Tom Cruise) the ropes. It was Newman’s first win and eighth nomination.