The start of fall means the start of the school year
and the start of football season. There is nothing like throwing on your layers, eating some bright orange, cheesy nachos, and heading to the stands to root for the home team. But for times when there is no actual game available, a football movie for kids and families is a good substitution. Watching a sports movie is like the equivalent of attending a pep rally. It’s hard not to get excited to see everyone play on the field and root on all of the characters looking to bring their team to victory. Some of these films are too hilarious, like The Game Plan and Air Bud: Golden Receiver, using humor to showcase the great sport of football.
But there is more to these movies than just making you practice your best cheers. These films teach sportsmanship, what it means to be a team player
, and how to overcome adversity . You’ll also find that, for the most part, these movies are based on real people and events.
But whether you’re an active fan or just like watching
movies about sports, any of these movies about football will get you in the mood for this fantastically fun sports season. Air Bud: Golden Receiver
Buddy, the super talented golden retriever, has already proved himself to be a basketball playing pooch and has decided to try his hand... erm... paw... at a new sport: football. But when a pair of dastardly animal collectors see him demonstrate his skills on the field, they decide to kidnap the pooch to join their circus in Moscow. Can Buddy thwart their evil plans and win the big game?! (I mean, yes, obviously. This is a movie about a dog playing football: it's going to have a happy ending.)
Rent Air Bud: Golden Receiver, rated G, on Amazon Prime for $3.99. Gus
Yugoslavian farm boy named Andy loves football... well,
international football aka soccer. Unfortunately he’s not very good. But you know who’s surprisingly talented at the sport? His beloved mule. Soon, Andy has trained Gus to kick the ball pretty far and with impressive accuracy. Soon Gus the goal-kicking mule is making headlines, which come to the attention of the owner and coach of the California Atoms, a hapless and hopeless American football team. They decide recruitng a new player is just what they need.
While this Disney film is just a little dated, since it is from 1976 – which you might have guessed considering Yugoslavia hasn’t been a country since 1992 – it’s filled with plenty of belly laughs for the kids.
Stream Gus, rated G, on Disney+. Invincible
When the Philadelphia Eagles’ new coach hosts an unprecedented open try out for the team, no one is more eager to give it a go than Vince, a local bartender who has recently lost his job as a substitute teacher and his wife. So what if he's 30 – far older than the average rookie – and the fact that he hasn't really played football since high school. After he makes the team, he must rely his street smarts, determination to make it through this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The movie is based on the true story of Vince Papale, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978.
Watch Invincible, rated PG, on Disney+. Little Giants
Sick of falling into second place next to his former college football playing brother, a gas station owner named Danny forms his own youth football team to face off against his brother’s more polished one. This is the perfect, funny football film for people who love the 1990’s and the classic family entertainment that came out of that era. Also show me a single human person who doesn't want to watch a movie starring Ed O'Neill and Rick Moranis and I will show you a liar: those two are a delight.
Rent Little Giants, rated PG, on YouTube Movies for $3.99. The Game Plan
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Joe Kingman, an arrogant NFL star whose life is turned upside down when the 8-year-old daughter who he never knew existed shows up on his front door step – the result of a final fling he had with his ex-wife. Though his agent is skeptical of Joe’s ability to focus on his career and raise a daughter, he learns to balance football with his new role as a dad. Slowly, his hardened exterior begins to soften when he realizes that his most important fan is the one who calls him Dad.
Stream The Game Plan, rated PG, on Disney+. The Longshots
Curtis Plummer is a down-on-his-luck former football player who finds a second chance at the game when he becomes the new coach of his niece Jasmine's Pop Warner football team. And it just so happens that Jasmine, the quarterback, is not only the team's first female player, but their secret weapon. Will Curtis turn his life around and find redemption? Will the residents of the small Illinois town find hope, team spirit, and civic pride? Will seeing young Keke Palmer play Jasmine fill you with joy? The answer to all three is probably yes.
Rent The Long Shot, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99. Can of Worms
Following a football injury, teenage boy, Mike Pillsbury, believes he sees an alien. Neither Earth nor football, which his dad insists he should play, seem to be a particularly good fit for him. But when aliens actually do end up invading the earth, it’s up to Mike to enlist the help of his friends and football teammates to help save the world.
OK, as far as football movies go this one is... perhaps less football-centric than others, but who doesn't love a campy sci-fi romp from time to time? And it's not
unrelated to football, so it’s worth watching. Stream Can of Worms, rated TV-PG, on Disney+. Quiet Victory
This 1988 made-for-TV tearjerker is based on the true story of Charlie Wedemeyer. (In fact, the full titles is
Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story.) Charlie is former football player who now coaches high school coach with the support of his loving wife and two children. But at just 32 years old, he is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. Doctors tell him he has about a year to live and, naturally, the school expects him to retire from coaching. But in spite of his struggles, Charlie is determined to lead the team to their first state championship. Grab some tissues, people... Watch Quiet Victory, rated TV-PG, on Netflix. Remember the Titans
When a high school in Alexandria, Virginia integrates its football team for the first time in 1971, tensions are high: this is a town that loves football... but is somewhat less keen on change. Denzel Washington stars as a tough and opinionated football coach who must overcome his differences with the town’s beloved football coach to bring their high school team to victory. After watching this film, it will be impossible to forget the Titans, “the mighty, mighty Titans.”
The film is – at this point you have probably guessed it – based on a true story.
Watch Remember the Titans, rated PG, on Disney+. Radio
In a racially divided town, Coach Jones befriends a mentally disabled Black student named Radio. Soon, Radio is Jones' loyal assistant, much to the joy of Radio's school principal, who is pleased to see the boy's self-confidence increasing. And it turns out this uplift is very much mutual for Coach Jones. But when some fans feel Jones' connection to Radio is getting in the way of the team's chances for the state championship, things take a dramatic turn.
Like many movies on our list, this movie is based on a true story. This one is both inspiring but, at times, treacly, as evidenced by the fact that Cuba Gooding Jr. earned both Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance but also an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor.
Rent Radio, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Video, for $3.99. Rudy
Rudy Ruettiger wants to play football. But not just anywhere: he wants to play at top-tier college Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the odds are not in his favor: he doesn't have the money for tuition, and he doesn't have the grades for a scholarship. But Rudy won't let that stop him. After securing a job in a steel mill, he finds a tutor to help him overcome dyslexia and bring his grades up to snuff. Buy even after he gains admission to Notre Dame, the challenges are far from over as he fights to make it onto the team.
And now, all together now: this movie is based on a true story.
Rent Rudy, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Video, for $3.99. Safety
Ray McElrathbey, is a freshman at Clemson University when his world is turned upside-down: his mother has fallen back into addiction, leaving his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr without a stable guardian. Rather than see Fahmarr enter the foster-care system, Ray hides the boy in his dorm room... but raising a tween and trying to play football proves a remarkable challenge. But with the help of his team and his community, the phenom is able to succeed on and off the field.
This film is based on the story. (Yes, another one. What can we say? Football is extremely inspiring and dramatic, y'all.)
Watch Safety, rated PG, on Disney+. We Are Marshall
When Southern Airways Flight 932 crashes on November 14, 1970 it claims the lives of 75 people: including 37 players, five coaches, and other staff for the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team. Following the tragedy, the university president considers suspending the football program, but is persuaded by students to keep going. He hires Jack Lengyel as head coach who manages to rebuild the team and begin to heal in the wake of such devastating loss.
It hardly seems worth it to say this is also based on a true story at this point since it feels like there are very few football movies that aren't (animal and child movies excepted) but... you know. True story.
Rent We Are Marshall, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $3.99. Woodlawn
1973, Birmingham, Alabama. The city, including Woodlawn High School, continues to live in an atmosphere of racism and violence, even as the schools finally become desegregated. On the football team, Black and white players often clash, but Coach Tandy Geralds' is determined that neither he, nor the team, will allow hatred to break their spirits: love win the day.
When the team makes an astounding run at the playoffs, they play the largest high school football game ever and give rise to one of the first African American superstars of the game, Tony Nathan.
Based on a true story.
Rent Woodlawn, rated PG, on YouTube Movies for $3.99. The Blind Side
After a mom in a small, southern town takes in a homeless prospective high school football player, his talents shine and he begins to thrive, thanks to his newfound love of the sport... and his family, both his adoptive family and his football family on the field. This film is
based on the true story of NFL player, Michael Oher, but is rated PG-13 due to a scene involving brief drug use and violence, according to IMDB.
Still, viewers will be inspired by Oher’s story in this Academy Award winning film.
Rent The Blind Side, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime Video, for $3.99.
Whatever you choose, any of these are great options for watching in-between actual games!
This article was originally published on
Aug. 19, 2021