Are you a sports fan looking for some inspiration? Disney+ is now streaming some of the best true stories found in American sports movies. If you’re a fan of sports, then you’ll love these films. They are packed with exciting moments and thrilling storylines. Here are 10 must-watch sports movies streaming on Disney Plus now.
#10. “Secretariat” (2010)
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10 | Metascore: 61 | CinemaScore: A
“Secretariat” is based on the story of Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane), who owned Secretariat, one of the greatest racehorses in history. The film follows Secretariat’s rise to fame and his legendary Triple Crown win in 1973.
One of the most iconic moments of the film is Secretariat’s record-breaking victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, where he won by an incredible 31 lengths, setting a new world record that still holds today. This historic win solidified Secretariat’s place in horse racing history and earned him the nickname “Big Red.”
With additional strong performances by John Malkovich (Lucien Laurin) and Dylan Walsh (Jack Tweedy), “Secretariat” is an exciting, fun, and heartwarming movie that will make you feel proud to be a fan of this amazing horse.
The movie earned an A CinemaScore from audiences, making it one of the highest-rated films in Disney+’s sports genre. The film is directed by Randall Wallace and features original music by Nick Glennie-Smith.
#9. “The Rookie” (2002)
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10 | Metascore: 72 | CinemaScore: A
Jimmy Morris was a Texas high school teacher and baseball coach who achieved his lifelong dream of playing in the major leagues. “The Rookie,” tells his highly improbable story whose primary goal was to motivate his team to win a district championship. When he makes a bet with his team to try out for the majors if they win, it works better than expected.
Not really expecting to make it past the tryouts, Jim finds out from scouts that he consistently pitches 98 mph fastballs. He’s picked up by a AAA baseball club and right before he decides to give it all up, he gets called up by the Tampa Bay Devilrays.
The movie stars Dennis Quaid in the lead role as a former baseball coach and Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Morris and is directed by John Lee Hancock. The great supporting cast includes actors Rachel Griffiths (Lorri Morris), Jay Hernandez (Joaquin ‘Wack’ Campos), and Brian Cox (Jim Morris Sr).
Bursting with awards and a brilliant score of 72% on Metacritic, “The Rookie” is truly one of the finest Disney sports movies available. It was even awarded Best Sports Movie at the 2002 ESPY Awards.
#8. “Rise” (2022)
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10 | Metascore: 74
This sports drama is based on the story of three Nigerian-Greek brothers, Giannis, Thanasis, and Kostas Antetokounmpo. It follows their incredible journey from poverty in Greece to superstardom within the NBA. The movie showcases the challenges and struggles they faced, both on and off the court, as they pursued their dreams of becoming professional basketball players.
Directed by Akin Omotoso, “Rise” stars newcomers Uche Agada (Giannis Antetokounmpo), Ral Agada (Thanasis Antetokounmpo), and Jaden Osimuwa (Kostas Antetokounmpo) in the primary roles as the first three brothers to all win NBA championships. It also features actors Elijah Shomanke (Alex Antetokounmpo), Yetide Badaki (Veronika Antetokounmpo), and Dayo Okeniyi (Charles Antetokounmpo) in supporting family roles.
The movie has a solid 74% rating on Metacritic and has already been nominated for Best Original Score by the HMMA. With its inspiring story and a promising cast, “Rise” is surely one of the best sports movies available on Disney+.
#7. “The Greatest Game Ever Played” (2005)
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10 | Metascore: 55 | CinemaScore: A
This Disney Channel original movie tells the inspiring true story of Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer who beat out the reigning British champion in a spectacular match at the 1913 U.S. Open. The film follows Ouimet’s journey from caddy to golfing legend and is sure to make viewers feel inspired as they watch him take on the best.
Based on the Mark Frost book “The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Quimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf,” the movie stars Shia LaBeouf as Francis Ouimet and also features Stephen Dillane (Harry Vardon, professional golfer) and Elias Koteas (Arthur Ouimet, Francis’ disapproving father).
The movie is set in a time when golf was still considered a sport for the wealthy elite, and Ouimet, who comes from a working-class family, is not taken seriously by the golfing establishment. However, with the help of his tenacity, talent, and supportive caddy, Eddie Lowery, played by Josh Flitter, Ouimet perseveres and qualifies for the US Open.
The movie was nominated for an ESPY in 2006 for Best Sports Movie, has an A CinemaScore, and holds a decent 55% on Metacritic, making it one of the highest-rated films in Disney+’s sports genre.
#6. “McFarland, USA” (2015)
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10 | Metascore: 60 | CinemaScore: A
This inspiring drama is based on the story of a high school cross-country team in the predominantly Latino town of McFarland, California. The film follows their unlikely journey to becoming state champions and is an uplifting tale about working hard and believing in yourself.
The movie explores the challenges faced by the students and their families, who are primarily migrant farm workers. They work long hours in the fields, face discrimination, and have limited opportunities. However, despite their difficult circumstances, the students have a talent for running, and Coach White sees potential in them.
Directed by Niki Caro, “McFarland, USA” stars Kevin Costner in the lead role as the coach, Jim White, who moves his family to McFarland and takes a job as a high school teacher and coach.
The film also stars Maria Bello, as Cheryl White; Ramiro Rodriguez, playing Danny Diaz and Carlos Pratts, who portrays Thomas Valles. Valles is a young man with familial difficulties and a background of causing trouble but under the watchful eye of Coach White he learns to funnel his energy into running and in turn emerges as an integral member of their team.
Praised by both critics and spectators, “McFarland USA” earned an impressive A CinemaScore as well as a solid 60% on Metacritic. It was even honored with Best Picture at the 2015 Imagen Foundation Awards. All of these accolades make it one of the top sports movies now streaming on Disney Plus.
#5. “Invincible” (2006)
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10 | Metascore: 63 | CinemaScore: A-
Vince Papale was just an ordinary guy and 30-year-old bartender who got a chance to play for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 when new coach Dick Vermeil decides to hold an open tryout. The movie showcases his unbelievable transition from barkeep to a professional football player and is guaranteed to make viewers cheer him on as he fights to keep his spot on the team.
Directed by Ericson Core, “Invincible” stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role as Vince, a broke recently divorced Philidelphia Eagles fan determined to turn his life around and become the oldest walk-on in NFL team history. It also features actors Elizabeth Banks (Janet), Michael Rispoli (Max), Kevin Conway (Frank Papale), and Greg Kinnear (Coach Dick Vermeil).
With an A- CinemaScore from viewers and a Metacritic rating of 63%, it became one of the most celebrated sports films to date on Disney Plus.
#4. “Glory Road” (2006)
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10 | Metascore: 58 | CinemaScore: A
This powerful drama is grounded in reality, telling the awe-inspiring story of the 1966 Texas Western basketball team from El Paso. The squad was groundbreaking for having an all-black starting lineup and ultimately triumphing against discrimination to win a collegiate national championship in their first NCAA tournament. You can follow their incredible journey as they confront adversity on and off the court.
Directed by James Gartner, “Glory Road” stars Josh Lucas as Coach Don Haskins who is determined to coach NCAA basketball, find and play the best players, and win championships. Playing the best players meant disregarding the status quo and ignoring the naysayers that said black athletes couldn’t compete at the highest level.
“Glory Road” also features actors Derek Luke as Bobby Joe Hill, Austin Nichols as Jerry Armstrong, Mehcad Brooks as Harry Flournoy, Jon Voight as Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp, and Al Shearer as Nevil Shed.
The film was a hit with critics and the public, earning an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. Furthermore, it holds a decent 58% score on Metacritic and won several awards such as Best Sports Movie at the 2006 ESPY Awards.
#3. “Seabiscuit” (2003)
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10 | Metascore: 72 | CinemaScore: A
This inspiring biographical drama chronicles the rousing tale of Seabiscuit, an overlooked and diminutive racehorse who eventually becomes a triumphant champion. Directed by Gary Ross, this true-story movie is based on the book “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand.
Despite taking place during America’s Great Depression when countless people were barely scraping by, this film follows three men whose lives are intertwined with that of Seabiscuit in an improbable alliance.
The movie stars Tobey Maguire in the lead role as Canadian horse jockey John “Red” Pollard whose luck changed for the better the day he won over the temperamental Seabiscuit. It also features Jeff Bridges (Charles Howard owns Seabiscuit) who plays a wealthy businessman who lost his son in a car accident and is looking for a new purpose in life with horseracing. Chris Cooper (Tom Smith) plays the role of Seabiscuit’s trainer who uses his deep understanding of horses to find him the perfect jockey, Red Pollard.
Critics and moviegoers alike praised the film, awarding it an A CinemaScore for its exceptional performance. With a 72% score on Metacritic, it’s one of the highest-rated films in Disney+’s sports genre. It also won several awards, including Best Motion Picture at the 2004 Satellite Awards.
#2. “Miracle” (2004)
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10 | Metascore: 68 | CinemaScore: A
This inspirational drama is based on the real-life story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which was made up of amateur and college players that went on to defeat the seemingly unbeatable Soviet Union and win the gold medal.
“Miracle” stars Kurt Russell in the lead role as Coach Herb Brooks whose “lofty goal” from the start was to win an Olympic gold medal after being the last player cut from the 1960 Winter Olympics hockey team. Picking the “right” players and molding them into a team that could beat the Soviets was no simple task, especially since the players took a while to realize who they played for. Once he made that happen, his game plan was to beat the Soviets at their own game and “shove it right back in their face.”
In a stroke of genius, Coach Herb Brooks schedules an exhibition game against the Soviets before the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. As anyone can tell you in team sports, it’s very difficult to beat the same team twice in one season, since the opponent knows your game plan and what to expect.
The 1980 U.S. hockey team stars Noah Emmerich (as Assistant Coach Craig Patrick), Nathan West (as Left Wing Rob McClanahan), Eddie Cahill (as Goalie Jim Craig), Patrick O’Brien Demsey (as Team Captain and Left Wing Mike Eruzione), and Michael Mantenuto (as Defender Jack O’Callahan).
The movie also features actors Patricia Clarkson (as Patti Brooks), Sean McCann (as Walter Bush), and Kenneth Welsh (as Doc Nagobads) in supporting roles.
The film was well-received by critics and audiences alike, earning an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. It holds a solid 68% on Metacritic and won several awards, including Best Sports Movie at the 2004 ESPY Awards. In our opinion, it’s also one of the best sports movies streaming on Disney+.
#1. “Remember the Titans” (2000)
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10 | Metascore: 48 | CinemaScore: A+
Based on the real-life story of an Alexandria, Virginia high school (TC Williams) football team in the 1970s, this sports drama was made up of players forced to integrate during desegregation. The film follows their journey to becoming state champions as they overcome their own biases and indifferences to connect with each other and become the mighty Titans.
Directed by Boaz Yakin, “Remember the Titans” stars Denzel Washington in the lead role as Coach Herman Boone, whose determination and leadership brought the team together. The Titans team also features actors Will Patton (Coach Bill Yoast), Wood Harris (Julius Campbell plays DE), Ryan Hurst (Gerry Bertier plays DE), Donald Faison (Petey Jones plays RB/DB), Craig Kirkwood (Jerry ‘Rev’ Harris play QB), and Ryan Gosling (Alan Bosley plays DB).
Supporting roles include Kate Bosworth who plays Gerry Bertier’s girlfriend and Hayden Panettiere who fills the role of Coach Yoast’s daughter who’s an overzealous football fan and enthusiast.
It’s not all just sports though, as we get to see players like Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier become “brothers” despite loathing each other at first. In the end, they all realized that being a team meant much more than just winning games. They grew to love and respect each other enough that nothing could tear them apart.
The movie was well-received by audiences, earning an A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers. Despite a low 48% on Metacritic, it won several awards, including Best Sports Movie at the 2001 ESPY Awards. It’s also one of the best sports movies streaming on Disney+.
Whether you’re a fan of sports or just want an inspirational movie, these films are sure to make you believe in the power of hard work and determination. Whether it’s a story about a racehorse, an amateur golfer, or a high school football team, watching each of these sports movies on disney+ is sure to inspire viewers with its uplifting message.
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