The 10 Best Sports Biopics About Players Who Overcame It All

With the release of 42 starring Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, we look back on the best films that told the true stories of athletes that challenged the system. Many greats have overcame adversity to become the legends they are today. Check out who made the list and let us know who we forgot.

10. Invincible (2006)

Mark Wahlberg’s first entry on this list is as Vince Papale, a longtime Eagles fan who makes a go at open tryouts. The 30-year-old player is tested as he attempts to gain the acceptance of the team and the city’s devout fans.

9. Soul Surfer (2011)

The sole female sports biopic on the list is about surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack. Despite her loss, she refuses to give up surfing. The film starring AnnaSophia Robb was the more, serious and at times cheesier version of Blue Crush. But the story is still a powerful one in itself.

8. The Express (2008)

Rob Brown portrays Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, in this sports biopic. The film offers a surprisingly realistic look at the racial issues faced by Davis.

7. Seabiscuit (2003)

The player here is a horse named Seabiscuit. While not your typical biopic, the film tells the story of an undersized and overlooked horse that raced during the Great Depression. Tobey Maguire plays Red Pollard, the horse’s most famous jockey who rode him to victory.

6. Cinderella Man (2005)

In this rags to riches story, Russell Crowe portrays James Braddock, a boxer who makes an unlikely climb back into the contenders list when he returns to boxing. His journey becomes an inspiration for those suffering in the Great Depression.

5. The Rookie (2002)

This baseball biopic tells the story of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) who after giving up on his dream of playing professional baseball becomes a teacher and coach. But then at the age of 35 he is pushed to try out for the Major Leagues.

4. The Blind Side (2009)

A boy who had nothing turned into a man with everything – or that’s how it is portrayed in The Blind Side. The film tells the story of NFL player Michael Oher who found love and support from an unlikely source: Leigh Anne Tuohy. Sure it has its cheesy moments but powerful acting by Sandra Bullock saved the film.

3. Ali (2001)

Will Smith turned in an Oscar-nominated performance as the Muhammed Ali. The film spans much of his career but zeros in on his return to glory in the title fight with George Foreman (yes of George Foreman Grills) during 1974’s Rumble in the Jungle.

2. The Fighter (2010)

Mark Wahlberg stars as “Irish” Mickey Ward, a boxer who was counted out after his hand is broken in a fight with the police. After being lured back into the world of boxing, he gets another chance at glory when goes to London for the title fight. The film received many accolades including two Oscars for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.

1. Chariots Of Fire (1981)

Often considered one of the best sports films of all time, COF tells the story of two runners representing Great Britain at the 1924 Olympic Games. Harold Abrahams has to overcome anti-Semitism and prejudice while Eric Liddell runs for the glory of God in an effort to take home gold.