We're not only looking for something to do with all our extra time at home nowadays, but we're all in need of some inspiration—adults and kids alike!
We couldn't think of a better place to turn to than classic sports films for the family. From lighthearted movies about friendship, loyalty and teamwork like Air Bud, to deeply moving classics like Remember the Titans, we pulled together a list of films that warm the heart and inspire with positive messages about hard work, perseverance, helping others and reaching for your goals.
As you consider this list it is important to note that with so many of the best sports films coming from the inspired stories of real people and real events, it's hard to come by a movie in this genre that doesn't have some mature content or language. For this reason, it's always a good idea to screen the movies ahead of time to be sure your child is ready to view and discuss the film with you based on your own family values and individual comfort level.
The Rookie (G)
Based on a true story, The Rookie chronicles the story of major league baseball's oldest rookie. The movie's message is one of pursuing your dreams no matter how old or improbable they may seem. It's also a story about supporting the dreams of loved ones and family, complete with protagonists and antagonists. While the main character is an adult pursuing his dreams, viewers of all ages will find characters to connect with as his kids and students (he's a teacher and a father) are a major part of the movie, making it a film the whole family can enjoy.
Full Out (PG)
Any aspiring gymnast or dancer will find particular inspiration from this film based on the true story of gymnast Ariana Berlin. At age 14, the young gymnast suffered major injuries from a car accident that brought her dreams of the Olympics to a screeching halt. Through hip hop dance and the relationships she forms along the way, Ariana finds her way back to gymnastics and another opportunity to pursue her dream of a championship win. It's an inspiring story about heart, confidence, perseverance and hope even in the most unlikely circumstances.
Angels in the Outfield (PG)
"It could happen!" is the mantra of this hope-driven movie. This film follows two young foster kids on a heart-warming journey tracking and cheering for the Anaheim Angels baseball team. They're hoping for a series win after years of a losing record. The twist is that they get a little help from some angels, believe it or not! If your child has a baseball team they plan to stick with no matter its wins or losses, they're sure to find this tale relatable, inspiring and fun. It's a story of love, family, hope and baseball, and the messages of belonging and never giving up hope make this film meaningful for the whole family.
You don't have to play hockey to find inspiration from this film. Based on a true story about the U.S. hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, Miracle tells a story where teamwork, discipline and perseverance lead to success. There is some harsh language and character conflict that may need to be addressed, but the positive message shines through. Don't be surprised if you find yourself gripping your seat and cheering from your couch in the final moments of this exhilarating and heart-warming movie.
McFarland, USA (PG)
Cross country may come across as more of an individual sport than a team sport, but McFarland USA is here to refute that. Based on a true story, this film shines a light on the role and power of the individual to a team, and the team to the individual. The boys and their coach develop a relationship and drive that helps them all grow, thrive and succeed. Some themes make this film more appropriate for older viewers, but if you decide your child is ready to acknowledge and discuss these with you, it's a movie the entire family will enjoy. McFarland, USA is a story of bridging differences, overcoming adversity and supporting each other—family, team and community alike.
Air Bud (PG)
With a bit of light language, this movie is about more than just sports. It's about friendship and teamwork as a boy meets a dog who becomes a star player on his basketball team. Together they help each other work through difficult situations to provide some heavier content (the boy is grieving the death of his father, and both the dog and the boy rise up out of abusive situations). But in this movie the good guys prevail, and the message leaves viewers feeling positive, happy and inspired.
Soul Surfer (PG)
Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii was a promising surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack just as her career was on the rise. Along with this seeming loss of her life's goal and work, Bethany also had to face fears of going into the water again to do what she loved. Bethany is an individual of true strength, determination, bravery and passion—just be prepared for the shark attack about 20 minutes into the film. It's depicted somewhat graphically in the film, and may be very scary for some kids. Other than that, it's an inspiring story of a strong, talented female athlete.
Remember the Titans (PG)
This iconic movie is a perennial favorite when it comes to family sports films. With strong, positive characters and messages, this story brings viewers through a whole range of emotions: frustration, sadness, hope, excitement and happiness. Based on a true story about a post-segregation high school football team in 1971, Remember the Titans speaks to how sports and good leadership help humankind work through and see beyond perceived differences. This movie is about love, family, football and teamwork. There's certainly some mature content, but it's a movie the whole family will ultimately be able to discuss and enjoy.
Rudy is the ultimate underdog story about how perseverance, hard work and a never-give-up attitude will help you reach your goals. Working class Rudy achieves his dream of playing football for Notre Dame in the face of academic and financial challenges (as well as plenty of naysayers). It contains many mature scenes, language and content, but the positive message is enduring and strong. The story is captivating, and the protagonist (Rudy) is an inspiration to many young athletes. This movie helps drive home the message of never giving up on your dreams, no matter the obstacle.
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