MMA Warrior! Rocky! HOCKEY! The Greatest Underdog Sports Movies EVER!

Mickey: You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!

The underdog. Nobody gives them a chance…no matter HOW MUCH thunder they crap! But a true champion will keep fighting on: for respect, for self-esteem, for the need to overcome all obstacles and WIN…


The best sports movies show you the raw human emotion that is part of every great sports film, like this one…


And then, there are sports movies that take you right to THIS:

Hanson Brothers Hockey

The best sports films mix great sports action with dramatic human emotion – and some comedy as well!


First up: a modern day classic that was tragically overlooked in 2011 – a GREAT GREAT film…the poster says it all!

Warrior Poster


Tom Conlon: So you found God, huh? That’s awesome. See, Mom kept calling out for him but he wasn’t around. I guess Jesus was down at the mill forgiving all the drunks. Who knew?

One of the best movies of 2011, “Warrior” is violent, raw, and very inspiring…check out the trailer:

Warrior movie

The plot has a classic setup: Two brothers face the fight of a lifetime – and the wreckage of their broken family – within the brutal, high-stakes world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Congrats Tom Hardy!


Tom Hardy plays Tommy Riordan, an ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, who returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport.

warrior nick nolte

Nick Nolte plays the alcoholic Dad who trains him, but can’t win back his love….and now add Tommy’s brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family.


Tom Conlon: Not much of a woman’s touch around here.
Paddy Conlon: No women for me anymore, Tommy.
Tom Conlon: Yeah. Must be tough to find a girl who could take a punch nowadays.


GREAT dialogue between father and son, and of course, terrific action sequences as the two brothers head toward one last confrontation…


“Warrior” is a GREAT sports movie, beautifully directed by Gavin O’Connor, who also directed another film on this list – “Miracle”.

Miracle. This 2004 film uses Kurt Russell perfectly – because he is the kind of guy you WANT to see win the big one – and boy does he ever!

Miracle tells the true story of Herb Brooks (Russell), the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

When you think about how dominating the Russian Olympic team was, this really is one of the biggest upsets of all time in sports. And in making the movie, they tried to capture the realism as best as possible. For example, according to IMDB:

The scene where Herb Brooks makes the team skate back and forth on the ice all night, after their 3-3 tie with Norway, was actually done by the real actors over a span of three days – 12 hours a day. The director wanted the moment to be as realistic as possible.

Well, it pays off, as the film is gritty and real…and, while we are on the ice, let’s skate with one of Hollywood’s legends!

Slap Shot.

In 1977, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Paul Newman, showed his flair for comedy, and his iconic cool, by starring in this tough, foul-mouthed comedy about hockey. Check out the trailer, which only hints at the mayhem to come:

Paul Newman Slap Shot

The premise is simple, but hilarious: A failing ice hockey team finds success using constant fighting and violence during games, when they uncover the vicious Hanson brothers, who see a hockey rink as a boxing ring.

Hanson Brothers Hockey

Newman is absolutely hilarious as the coach more than willing to go along – especially when he sees how these brothers approach the sport – skates high and out for blood!

This is a hilariously profane movie. I mean, PROFANE. The Hanson brothers that Newman finds to lead his hockey team love to fight, fight, fight – and curse, curse, curse…and Newman is too!

slap shot movie paul_newman

One referee decides to stop them Hanson’s before they can get started. The ref skates over to them during the playing of the National Anthem and tries to muzzle them, to no avail:

Peterboro Referee: “I got my eye on the three of you. You pull one thing, you’re out of this game. I run a clean game here. I have any trouble here, I’ll suspend ya.”

Steve Hanson: “I’m listening to the fucking song!”

Paul Newman Slap Shot

The movie works because Newman goes all-in with the profanity, summed up by this short exchange he has with another Coach, who makes an observation:

Tim McCracken: Dunlop, you suck cock.
Reggie Dunlop: All I can get.

And Newman says it with the vintage Paul Newman smile…hilarious!

The Rookie. Dennis Quaid stars as real-life Pitcher Jim Morris in this 2002 underdog classic. Blessed with an awesome fastball, Morris nursed dreams of pitching for Major League Baseball during his 20s; injuries and bad luck, however, forced him to give up hope and become a teacher and coach. Years later, pressed by students and colleagues to try out for “the Show” one more time, Morris discovered he still had a powerful arm, and he was signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

An early scene has Quaid stopping by a roadside speed detector for cars. He throws a fastball by it to measure his speed – and is dejected to see it read only 76 mph. Frustrated, he gets in his pickup and drives home – while behind him, the malfunctioning sign flickers again to reveal the last part of the number, and the true speed of his fastball: 96 mph. From that point on you just want him to succeed…”The Rookie” is a terrific movie.

He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!

That is what every great sports movie does: celebrate the underdog, who has a unique story, a unique style, and always comes out on top – even when they don’t win the big game – they are winners in life!

Here’s to the underdog in all of us!

Rocky. It’s the greatest underdog movie of all time, so let’s get started here. Rocky Balboa overcomes every obstacle in life to reach the pinnacle in sports…AND HE LOST. Welcome to the 70’s, when gritty, slice of life films like “Rocky” weren’t just sports movies, they were movies about an underdog who fights his way to the top…or close to it.

burgess meredith oscar

Mickey: You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!

Burgess Meredith took home an Oscar for his portrayal of the trainer to helps Rocky in his quest for the heavyweight championship…something that Apollo Creed’s Manager realizes too late:

He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!

“Yo, Adrian!”

Who can forget this classic line? Stallone was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay…as well as Best Actor…

sylvester stallone oscar

Sly also wrote a relative into the movie – Butkus his dog – credited in the film as “Butkus Stallone”!


It’s the classic underdog story: a broken-down, small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ.


Mickey: You’re a bum, Rock. You’re a bum.
Rocky: I ain’t no bum, Mick. I ain’t no bum.


The making of the film was as big an underdog story as the movie itself: struggling Actor Sylvester Stallone wrote the script, and refused to sell it unless he played the lead. One studio gave him a chance – with a low budget and a seasoned Director willing to take the challenge.

This is a beautifully made movie that has brilliant direction by John G. Avildsen – an unexpected smash hit that captured the hearts of movie fans around the world – And talk about winning – “Rocky” took home the Oscar! – here are the films that “Rocky” beat out for Best Picture of 1976: “Network”, “Taxi Driver”, “Bound For Glory” and “All The President’s Men.” Wow.


Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Awards, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, Golden Globes, Movies, Revenge Movies, Sports, Sports Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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