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The 15 Best Sports Movies Currently On Netflix, Ranked


Weinstein Company

Last Updated: April 24th

Live sports might be the last thing keeping streaming options from swallowing cable television subscriptions whole. And those barriers are beginning to fall, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of sports content currently on Netflix. In fact, you should have a long list of good sports movies available to watch should your favorite teams have the night off.

While shows like Glow are great for sports fans looking for a slow burn, the best place to start is movies and documentaries. From Netflix originals to classic documentaries and ’90s nostalgia, the Netflix catalog has a little something for everyone. There’s even a bit of romance on the list.

Let’s take a look at the best sports movies Netflix has to offer.

Related: The 50 Best Netflix Original Series Right Now, Ranked

15) The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014)

Did you know Kurt Russell’s dad owned a baseball team? And Kurt played on it? The saga of the scrappy Portland Mavericks is not the most well-executed film on the list, but it’s lovingly done and the archival footage carries the day here. If you’re curious, in need of a true underdog tale, and want to add a bit of baseball trivia to your brain, this might be for you.

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14) Iverson (2014)

This 2014 documentary — which debuted at Tribeca a few years ago — takes a look at the career of former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson and the perception that many had of him. The film is a satisfying nostalgia trip for AI fans but it doesn’t introduce a wealth of new footage or offer anything new about The Answer. It’s still better than watching him in the BIG3, though.

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13) Trouble With The Curve (2012)

Clint Eastwood stars in a film that uses baseball as a backdrop for a story about an out-of-touch scout and his complex relationship with his lawyer daughter (played by Amy Adams). John Goodman and Justin Timberlake also pop up in supporting roles with the latter having a bit of chemistry with Adams. If you need a baseball-themed drama, this is the best Netflix has to offer, presently.

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12) The Short Game (2013)

This 2013 documentary is delightful look at a youth golf championship. Chronicling the 2012 championship at Pinehurst, it follows a handful of charming golf proteges from around the world as they vie for the title of best 7- and 8-year-old players in the world. Golf greats like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Annika Sörenstam provide commentary on the difficulty and drama of the game while we watch young golfers deal with the stress of the tournament, parents, and some nit picky rules. It has its fair share of Sports Parent moments, but the kids are genuinely interesting and full of character.

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11) Mascots (2016)

Christopher Guest’s absurd Mascots features Guest mainstays Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey and Ed Begley Jr. It also co-stars Chris O’Dowd as a mascot called “The Fist,” which is a hockey-playing hand with a six-pack that can give the crowd the finger.

The joy of Guest’s movies is that these super weird and specific subcultures like the mascot world really exist. It makes you realize it’s possible that the fringe people in your life are as much into being a mascot as they are into Garfield or seltzer or whatever entirely earnest secret Facebook group you’re a part of that you never knew existed. While crude at times, Mascots doesn’t make fun of these people as much as it humanizes them in an entirely relatable way.

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10) All Work All Play (2015)

This 2015 documentary chronicles the growth of pro video gamers and the ESL, a competitive e-sports league that features League of Legends and Starcraft II pros duking it out across the world. It also does a great job explaining those two games, so you might actually know what is going on if you stumbled across a match online sometime.

The film is an in-depth look at something that some feel isn’t a sport, but it goes a long way toward disproving that notion by smartly juxtaposing dramatic e-sports moments with major traditional sports moments and showing how fans of these sports fans react with the same enthusiasm and understanding as the fans of more traditional sports fandom. With the NBA getting involved in e-sports next year, this is the perfect Netflix documentary to give you a primer for exactly what will be happening there.

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9) Southpaw (2015)

Every sports movie list needs a boxing movie, and this is a good one to start with. Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer may not sound believable to you given his other roles, but he fills out nicely as BIlly ‘The Great’ Hope here.
The movie follows a classic arc — hubris, tragedy, redemption — but that’s not to say it isn’t well-executed. Gyllenhaal follows the hero’s journey to a tee here, putting out an emotional journey that defines the sports drama genre. Even 50 Cent makes an appearance, so you know it’s going to be interesting. Forest Whitaker’s Tick Wills really shines here, and he’s given a lot to work with as the reluctant trainer of a former superstar.
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8) Pumping Iron (1977)

Part documentary and part scripted film, this 85-minute movie helped launch the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger while taking an extended dive into the very unique world of body building, including Schwarzenegger’s defense of his Mr. Olympia title against the likes of Serge Nubret and Lou Ferrigno before the latter became a star actor in his own right.

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7) GLOW: The Story Behind The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (2012)

If you liked the Netflix original, it’s worth watching the documentary that covers the history of the real show. It’s a good look at what the show is based on, and the interviews with the women who made up the show’s cast allow for a fascinating story about wrestling in the ’80s. It’s also a serious look at the physical toll wrestling takes on its competitors.

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6) Goon (2011)

Goon is the Slap Shot of this millennium, in that it’s utterly ridiculous and also somehow wildly entertaining. In the film (which spawned a recently released follow-up), Seann William Scott plays bruising bouncer Doug Glatt, who is brought onto a hockey team to do one thing: pound the opponent’s face in.

Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (of Superbad fame) co-wrote the film with Baruchel appearing on camera as Doug’s foul-mouthed friend. Allison Pill also co-stars as Doug’s love interest, but it’s Liev Schreiber who steals the show as a veteran enforcer and rival. There’s even a cameo from Georges Laroque. If you can take the brutality of fighting in hockey, you’ll love this film.

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5) The Waterboy (1998)

I wouldn’t say this movie has aged great in a modern world where every hard impact in sports makes you wonder how dangerous it was for the players involved. Still, of all the Adam Sandler and Happy Madison sports movies, this is probably the best one not named Happy Gilmore. All of these titles follow the same basic pattern: scrappy underdogs get to kiss girls and win despite being extremely unconventional and actually borderline bad.

The fun here is in the direct homages to real life. The rival Louisiana Cougars team, for example, is clearly an LSU clone, including the southern drawl and a trickster coach right out of a Les Miles casting call. The LCSU team also beat Iowa in improbable fashion, and the movie has lots of cameos from NFL legends like former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor and former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmie Johnson. Though he’s not a real coach, Henry Winkler does his best to nail his role as a slightly-damaged small-time coach who sees something in Bobby, Sandler’s character.

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4) 42 (2013)

Before he was king of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman took on the role of Jackie Robinson, who became the first black baseball player in the major leagues. After signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson realizes what’s in store for him: facing the prejudice and racism of 1940s America. A biopic of Robinson had been in the works for years, with Spike Lee and Robert Redford both attached at different points. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie, was involved in the production process to make sure the film presented an accurate look at her late husband’s career.

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3) No No: A Dockumentary (2014)

This 100-minute documentary is about Dock Ellis, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher famous for throwing a no-hitter while tripping on acid. It’s one of the most jaw-dropping sports stories of all-time (considering Ellis’ state and the rarity of his feat) and a bit more thorough than the No Mas animated short that was created by James Blagden. Dock is great, and his career is full of stories like the May Day beaning of the Cincinnati Reds. Go learn yourself something about baseball’s wild side.

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2) Fastball (2016)

This Kevin Costner-narrated documentary is definitely the nerdiest movie on the list. It explores the physics behind throwing baseball’s most feared pitch. We’re talking Magnus effects, optical illusions, and how the early hurler’s pitches were measured by scientists. It even features interviews with some of baseball history’s best and most intimidating pitchers: Goose Gossage, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, and many more.

Modern pitchers also pop up, with David Price, Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and the current fastest pitcher of all-time: Aroldis Chapman lending their thoughts. Perhaps most fun: the documentary also has some of the best hitters of all-time talking about the pitchers they fear most. With rare footage of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game and looks at lost almost-legends like Steve Dalkowski.

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1) Field Of Dreams (1989)

If you stream it, they will come. (Sorry, I’m sorry.) Despite the played-out nature of the movie’s signature phrase, this is still a classic. The 1989 story of Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) who awakens the ghosts of the game’s past with the help of author Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones). Kevin Costner has appeared in his fair share of baseball movies over the years, but this one is the best. It teaches a cool bit of baseball history and you even get to see Fenway Park on film before all the renovations freeze it in timeless modernism. This was best picture nominee in 1989 for a reason as it’s a solid film, even if Shoeless Joe looks nothing like Ray Liotta.
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For more of the best streaming picks on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, subscribe to our What To Watch newsletter.


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The 15 Best Sports Movies Currently On Netflix, Ranked

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