Thanksgiving Top 5: Football Movies

by     Posted 2 years, 248 days ago

Once you’ve gorged yourself on potatoes and pie, and the turkey coma begins setting in, the last thing you want to do is go outside and toss the pigskin around with Junior. Why exercise when there’s plenty of football to just watch on TV? It’s the American way! But if you’re not interested in watching the perennial Lions and Cowboys matchups, perhaps a football-themed movie will do instead. “But there’re so many to choose from and my brain is full of stuffing!” you say. Never fear! We’ve done all the grunt work for you. What follows is the five best movies ever to grace the gridiron. Hit the jump to check out the Collider Thanksgiving Top 5 Football Movies. Down, set, hike! If you missed any of our previous “Thanksgiving Top 5″ articles, click here.

*The following article and clips contain spoilers.*

The Little Giants

Let’s start this one off with a movie you can watch with the kids while you wait for them to pass out. The Little Giants pits two Ohio football coaching brothers, Danny (Rick Moranis) and Kevin (Ed O’Neill) O’Shea, against each other in the Pee-Wee league. While the movie features great performances by the pint-size players, NFL greats John Madden, Emmitt Smith, Bruce Smith and others make a guest appearance. And of course, the “annexation of Puerto Rico.” Here’s the trailer from the 1994 film:

The Blind Side

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Just in case the kids are still awake, you can plunk them down in front of 2009’s The Blind Side, a dramatic telling of the life of Baltimore Ravens’ lineman, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). In a role that won her the Best Actress Oscar, Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mother of the family that adopted Oher. While it’s more about football as a metaphor than the actual game itself, The Blind Side is a nice film the whole family can enjoy at Thanksgiving, just like the following clip shows:

Any Given Sunday

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Now we can get to the hard-hitting stuff. While Any Given Sunday emphasizes the life of the players, coaches and managers off the field, it also has some great in-game footage between the lines. It features a fantastic ensemble cast which includes Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Dennis Quaid, alongside NFL stars Dick Butkus, Johnny Unitas, Lawrence Taylor and others. If you find yourself coaching pee-wee football, feel free to steal Pacino’s motivational speech:

Brian’s Song

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Back to the real life football stories because they honestly make the best movies. Though it was a TV movie, the 1971 drama Brian’s Song starred James Caan and Billy Dee Williams as Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Piccolo was a Wake Forest University football player who was stricken with terminal cancer soon after turning pro with the Chiacgo Bears. Brian’s Song has long been held as the only movie men are allowed to cry at, and if it happens at all, it will probably happen in this scene:

The Waterboy

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Now that everyone’s done crying, let’s lighten it up again. Adam Sandler has made two football related movies, but I’m going with his earlier one for my Top 5. The Waterboy is easily one of Sandler’s most iconic roles (and I wish he’d go back to doing movies like this) as well as being a fun football movie filled with big hits and wild characters. Bobby Boucher’s mama (Kathy Bates) and Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) provide some of the best scenes, but the overall cast makes this a fantastic football flick. Check out some clips below:




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  • Mike F.

    How is Friday Night Lights never mentioned in these sports lists? It’s one of the great ones.

  • JM

    No Rudy? No Friday night lights?The Program? Varsity Blues? Hell…id throw in The Last Boyscout before half of these. Ill give you Brian’s song and Any given Sunday but the rest of this list fails. Reads like someone

    • JM

      …reads like someone who’s never actually held a football.

  • Clay

    Having The Blind Side on the list instead of Rudy is appalling. Rudy is not only one of the greatest football films ever made, it’s arguably THE greatest.

    • Clay

      I completely glossed over the inclusion of The Waterboy. Wow. I have to agree with JM, I doubt the author has ever seen any of these movies.

  • RCW

    No “Rudy” or “The Longest Yard”, the original Burt Reynolds version, completely invalidates this list.

  • Chippy

    With the possible exception of Brian’s Song this list is not only awful, but absolutely intolerable.

    Another grossly overlooked title that hasn’t been mentioned yet – North Dallas Forty

  • Nick

    Am I the only one who liked Remember the Titans? :P

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