This spring, the whole family is going to love these sports movies, from The Sandlot to Cool Runnings.
It’s almost time for many families to dig out the sports gear and head to the park as winter gives way to spring later this month. Just in time for baseball season, the weather will soon be warm enough for outdoor sports enthusiasts to go back into their routines.
Since the dawn of cinema, sports films have been a mainstay of the family viewing experience. They range from light-hearted comedy to more serious tales of hope and inspiration. Children will like both the stories of children’s sports and the stories of professional sports. In preparation for the upcoming sports season, we have compiled a list of 10 children’s sports flicks.
1. Angels In The Outfield (1994) – 6.2
As a result of its unbalanced mix of boisterous comedy and poignant drama, the 1994 remake of the same-named classic got generally poor reviews upon its initial release. Even if these criticisms are legitimate, the film’s balance of humor and heart is what makes this remake a good family film, as youngsters are sure to enjoy both its more serious and more lighthearted moments.
This version of Angels in the Outfield was made by Disney, although the original was made by MGM, therefore several plot elements were changed to make it more family friendly.
2. Little Giants (1994) – 6.4
Little Giants, a sports comedy from 1994, tells the story of a squad of rag-tag misfits who join together and win the big game against an intimidating and nasty opponent. The character of Danny O’Shea, whose older brother Kevin managed the local children’s football club, features Rick Moranis in this film as a result.
As a result of Danny’s daughter being rejected by Kevin’s club due to her gender, Kevin decides to form a rival team in order to compete in the league.
However, despite its lack of originality, Little Giants is still an enjoyable family film that has its heart in the right place.
3. Space Jam (1996) – 6.5
Space Jam is one of the few family films to feature a plethora of crowd-pleasing aspects.
After its premiere, Space Jam was a huge success, and remains a fun slapstick family comedy to this day. It features Michael Jordan as himself, the Looney Tunes, and Bill Murray. It’s safe to say that a LeBron James-led sequel is already in development, but until then, the original makes for a fun night in with the family.
With Danny DeVito providing the voiceover work and appearances by Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, this is a must-see for fans of basketball, Looney Toons, and comedic antics.
4. The Mighty Ducks (1992) – 6.6
For The Mighty Ducks in 1992, the idea was strange: a lawyer arrested for DUI is ordered to coach a youth hockey team as part of his community service. The Mighty Ducks is a comedy. Surprisingly, the film does well and is still a beloved family classic from the 1990s. His performance in the starring role of a flawed but honest hero who gradually gains the respect of his squad and leads them to victory in the championship game is excellent. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, starring Estevez and Lauren Graham and set to premiere later this month in 2021, was such a commercial success that it spawned sequels and TV shows.
5. Million Dollar Arm (2014) – 7.0
In Disney’s Million Dollar Arms, Jon Hamm plays JB, a sports agent who travels to India in order to acquire cricket players for the Major League Baseball team back home. He persuades two young guys to join him on his journey back to his native country, where they must battle to realize their goals in a foreign land.
Family entertainment with healthy subject matter that is both enjoyable and educational for younger audiences, Million Dollar Arms is beautifully done, albeit a little boilerplate.
6. Cool Runnings (1993) – 7.0
Over ten times its original $14 million budget, 1993’sCool Runningswas a huge box office success, grossing over $150 million worldwide. It tells the story of four Jamaican guys who aim to compete in the Olympic bobsled despite having no prior experience in the sport or even on snow. Irv Blitzer, a disgraced former champion played by John Candy, is brought in to aid the team contend for the gold medals.
Despite its age, the movie continues to be a favorite among moviegoers of all demographics. It was lauded by critics at the time it was released for its strong performances and positive message.
7. The Express (2008) – 7.3
Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis is the subject of a widely-acclaimed film about his life and achievements. Despite its initial mediocre box office performance, The Express has remained a favorite among moviegoers in the years after its debut. True details are smoothly incorporated into a Hollywood genre picture that some critics considered to be overly formulaic, but most audiences appreciated its purpose: to portray the story of a trailblazing athlete who’s on-field challenges paled in contrast to those in his life outside of football.
8. Rudy (1993) – 7.5
The true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, tries to play for the Notre Dame football team, is the subject of 1993’s Rudy. In the most unlikely of circumstances, he makes the team and is carried off the field in a spectacular finale.
The general public and sports aficionados alike regard Rudy to be one of the best sports movies ever made. Since 1940’sKnute Rockne, All American, a film about their football squad, this is also the first film about their team.
9. Hoosiers (1986) – 7.5
Anspaugh and Pizzo, who collaborated on Rudy, wrote and directed Hoosiers, which tells the story of a high school basketball team. It features Gene Hackman as Coach Norman Dale, one of the most beloved characters he has portrayed. Shooter, a known town alcoholic, is appointed as Dale’s assistant coach for the high school basketball team.
There are some serious themes, yet the picture remains an enjoyable story for viewers of all ages. As one of the first sports pictures, it surely had an impact on many others in the genre in the years following.
10. The Sandlot (1993) – 7.8
1993’sThe Sandlotis perhaps the definitive kids sports movie, as it’s
I think The Sandlotis one of the best examples of a children’s sports movie since it’s so much more than a baseball movie. Scotty Smalls and his mother and stepfather just moved to town, so he’s still getting settled in. He is taken under the wing of a local baseball star, and the two have many adventures both on and off the field together.
The Sandlot is a baseball classic, a compelling coming-of-age narrative, a comedy, a drama, a slice of life, and a fantasy all rolled into one.