Iconic lines, other info on sports movies in the AP Top 25

April 24, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2005, file photo, Robert De Niro, left, and boxer Jake LaMotta stand for photographers before watching a 25th anniversary screening of the movie "Raging Bull," in New York. The Associated Press has compiled a list of the best sports movies ever made — a one-of-a-kind AP Top 25. Seventy writers and editors who work for the company around the world participated in the vote. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
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FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2005, file photo, Robert De Niro, left, and boxer Jake LaMotta stand for photographers before watching a 25th anniversary screening of the movie "Raging Bull," in New York. The Associated Press has compiled a list of the best sports movies ever made — a one-of-a-kind AP Top 25. Seventy writers and editors who work for the company around the world participated in the vote. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

A look at iconic lines and other key information about the sports movies that made the AP Top 25:

1. “Hoosiers”

Year: 1986

Screenwriter: Angelo Pizzo

Director: David Anspaugh

Starring: Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey

Plot: A coach with a shaky past (Hackman) and his assistant who’s a drunk (Hopper) take a small-town high school basketball team in 1950s Indiana to the state tournament.

Iconic Line: “I think you’ll find it’s the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory.” -- Coach Norman Dale (Hackman)

Oscars: 2 nominations


Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPiXuGojahA


2 (tie). “Bull Durham”

Year: 1988

Screenwriter: Ron Shelton

Director: Shelton

Starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

Plot: The lives of a career minor leaguer (Costner), a young, wild pitcher (Robbins) and a local fan (Sarandon) intertwine.

Iconic Line: “The only church that truly feeds the soul, day in and day out, is the church of baseball.” -- (Sarandon)

Oscars: 1 nomination

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXb0Gu3oHK8


2 (tie). “Rocky”

Year: 1976

Screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone

Director: John G. Avildsen

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers

Plot: A small-time boxer (Stallone) living in Philadelphia gets a shot at the heavyweight championship.

Iconic Line: “Yo, Adrian.” -- Rocky Balboa (Stallone)

Oscars: 3 wins (Picture, Director, Editing), 10 total nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YApt5kJhfdo


4. “Caddyshack”

Year: 1980

Screenwriters: Douglas Kenney, Harold Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray

Director: Ramis

Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray

Plot: A brash new member (Dangerfield) shows up at an exclusive golf course, which employs a gopher-chasing groundskeeper (Murray).

Iconic Line: “You’ll get nothing and like it.” -- Judge Elihu Smails (Knight)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kTfHRzm5k0


5. “Slap Shot”

Year: 1977

Screenwriter: Nancy Dowd

Director: George Roy Hill

Starring: Paul Newman

Plot: The coach (Newman) of a struggling minor league hockey team turns to goonery to attract fans.

Iconic Line: “They don’t want you to score goals! They want blood!” -- Reggie Dunlop (Newman)


Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TarLKKgR4I


6. “Field of Dreams”

Year: 1989

Screenwriter: Phil Alden Robinson

Starring: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta

Plot: An Iowa corn farmer (Costner) hears voices, clears his crop to build a baseball diamond and gets a visit from the 1919 Chicago White Sox and a few others.

Iconic Line: “If you build it, he will come.” -- Voice from the corn fields

Oscars: 3 nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlTX_ckJ4nM


7. “Raging Bull”

Year: 1980

Screenwriters: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin

Director: Martin Scorcese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci

Plot: Based on the life, in and out of the ring, of boxing champion Jake LaMotta (De Niro).

Iconic Line: “Hey, Ray, I never went down, man! You never got me down, Ray! You hear me? You never got me down.” -- LaMotta (De Niro)

Oscars: 2 wins (Actor, Editing), 8 total nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHhzOM4gBIA


8 (tie). “Major League”

Year: 1989

Screenwriter: David S. Ward

Director: Ward

Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Rene Russo, Bob Uecker

Plot: The Cleveland Indians win despite a new owner (Margaret Whitton) who wants to sabotage and relocate the team.

Iconic Line: “Juuuuuuuuuust a bit outside.” -- Commentator Harry Doyle (Uecker)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_ILz9bC-VU


8 (tie). “The Natural”

Year: 1984

Screenwriters: Roger Towne, Phil Dusenberry; based on a novel by Bernard Malamud

Director: Barry Levinson

Starring: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger

Plot: Years after getting shot while he was a young prospect, Roy Hobbs (Redford) makes it to pro baseball with hard-to-believe talent.

Iconic Line: “I coulda broke every record in the book. ... And then when I walked down the street, people would’ve looked and they would’ve said, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.’” -- Hobbs (Redford)

Oscars: 4 nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvohEXFQZnQ


10. “A League of Their Own”

Year: 1992

Screenwriters: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Director: Penny Marshall

Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell

Plot: Rival sisters (Davis, Petty) join the first female professional baseball league amid World World II and help it grow.

Iconic Line: “There’s no crying in baseball.” -- Manager Jimmy Dugan (Hanks)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQRwvMIKbsA


11. “Moneyball”

Year: 2011

Screenwriters: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin

Director: Bennett Miller

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill

Plot: The true story, based on the book by Michael Lewis, of how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane used analytics to take advantage of market inefficiencies and built a successful baseball team despite a low payroll.

Iconic Line: “If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good.” -- Beane (Pitt)

Oscars: 6 nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4QPVo0UIzc


12 (tie). “The Bad News Bears”

Year: 1976

Screenwriter: Bill Lancaster

Director: Michael Ritchie

Starring: Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal

Plot: An alcoholic former minor league baseball player (Matthau) coaches a team made up of a ragtag band of misfit kids.

Iconic Line: “This quitting thing -- it’s a hard habit to break once you start.” -- Morris Buttermaker (Matthau)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6De-XP7x4


12 (tie). “Miracle”

Year: 2004

Screenwriters: Eric Guggenheim, Mike Rich

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Starring: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich

Plot: The true story of coach Herb Brooks (Russell), who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet Union.

Iconic Line: “Great moments are born from great opportunity.” -- Brooks (Russell)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v64ofT1rGOw


14. “Hoop Dreams”

Year: 1994

Screenwriters: Steve James, Frederick Marx

Director: James

Starring: William Gates, Arthur Agee

Plot: Documentary following the lives of two high school students in Chicago who hope to play professional basketball.

Iconic Line: “People always say to me, ‘When you get to the NBA, don’t forget about me.’ Well, I should’ve said back, ‘If I don’t make it to the NBA, don’t you forget about me.’” -- Gates

Oscars: 1 nomination

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TRIx7oD3lo


15. “Eight Men Out”

Year: 1988

Screenwriter: John Sayles

Director: John Sayles

Starring: John Cusack, Jace Alexander

Plot: Based on the book by Eliot Asinof about the Black Sox scandal, when “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series.

Iconic Line: “Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.” — Peewee (Brad Garrett)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSHQw85pvek


16. “Chariots of Fire”

Year: 1981

Screenwriter: Colin Welland

Director: Hugh Hudson

Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson

Plot: The fact-based story of two runners — one Christian, one Jewish — who compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Iconic Line: “I’ve known the fear of losing, but now I am almost too frightened to win.” -- Olympian Harold Abrahams (Cross)

Oscars: 4 wins (Picture, Screenplay, Score, Costume Design), 7 total nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPe27x0_W2M


17. “White Men Can’t Jump”

Year: 1992

Screenwriter: Ron Shelton

Director: Shelton

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez

Plot: A couple of basketball hustlers (Snipes, Harrelson) team up.

Iconic Line: “There’s rules to hustling. There’s an ethics involved.” -- Billy Hoyle (Harrelson)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4aNy-3n1GU


18 (tie). “Remember the Titans”

Year: 2000

Screenwriter: Gregory Allen Howard

Director: Boaz Yakin

Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton

Plot: Based on the true story of Herman Boone (Washington) and his attempt to integrate a Virginia high school football team in the early 1970s.

Iconic Line: “I don’t care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other.” -- Boone (Washington)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6_v3WQ3o_g


18 (tie). “Rudy”

Year: 1993

Screenwriter: Angelo Pizzo

Director: David Anspaugh

Starring: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty

Plot: A kid from a steel mill town overcomes several obstacles to play college football at powerhouse Notre Dame.

Iconic Line: “I’ve been ready for this my whole life.” -- Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Astin)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm0pTMbDaMI


18 (tie). “Seabiscuit”

Year: 2003

Screenwriter: Gary Ross

Director: Ross

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks

Plot: Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book, the true story of undersized and crooked-legged Seabiscuit, who captivated the sports world in 1938 and became a symbol of hope during the Great Depression.

Iconic Line: “You know, everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way we kinda fixed each other, too.” -- Jockey Johnny “Red” Pollard (Maguire)

Oscars: 7 nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv6RnFTlu4I


21 (tie). “Breaking Away”

Year: 1979

Screenwriter: Steve Tesich

Director: Peter Yates

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Dennis Christopher, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot: The story of four working-class friends who are recent high school graduates in Indiana, including one obsessed with Italian cycling.

Iconic Line: “I thought that was the whole plan -- that we were going to waste the rest of our lives together.” -- Cyril (Stern)

Oscars: 1 win (Screenplay), 5 total nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL3U44It_No


21 (tie). “The Pride of the Yankees”

Year: 1942

Screenwriters: Jo Swerling, Herman J. Mankiewicz

Director: Sam Wood

Starring: Gary Cooper, Babe Ruth

Plot: Based on the life of baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig (Cooper), the New York Yankees star who died at age 37 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Iconic Line: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” -- Gehrig (Cooper)

Oscars: 1 win (Editing), 11 total nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipZeKbAZ80Q


21 (tie). “When We Were Kings”

Year: 1996

Screenwriter: None

Director: Leon Gast

Starring: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King

Plot: Documentary about “The Rumble in the Jungle,” the 1974 heavyweight championship fight in Zaire between champion George Foreman and challenger Muhammad Ali.

Iconic Line: “Last night, I cut the light off in my bedroom, hit the switch and was in the bed before the room was dark.” -- Muhammad Ali

Oscars: 1 win (Documentary), 1 total nomination

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBauogNmRqY


24 (tie). “Brian’s Song”

Year: 1971

Screenwriter: William Blinn

Director: Buzz Kulik

Starring: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden

Plot: The evolution of the real-life friendship between Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo (Caan) and Gale Sayers (Williams) and the bond they form after Piccolo learns he has terminal cancer.

Iconic Line: “I love Brian Piccolo. And tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.” -- Sayers (Williams)

Emmys: 5 wins (Program, Writing, Supporting Actor Cinematography, Editing), 11 total nominations


24 (tie). “Friday Night Lights”

Year: 2004

Screenwriters: David Aaron Cohen, Peter Berg

Director: Berg

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke,

Plot: Based on the book by Buzz Bissinger, about a high school football team and the Texas town obsessed with it.

Iconic Line: “Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire town are riding on your shoulders. You may never matter again in your life as much as you do right now.” -- Coach Gary Gaines (Thornton)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-mI9GajrBc

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF8lEfuqAL4


24 (tie). “The Sandlot”

Year: 1993

Screenwriters: David Mickey Evans, Robert Gunter

Director: Evans

Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Art LeFleur, Patrick Renna

Plot: Coming-of-age story about a group of baseball players in the summer of 1962.

Iconic Line: “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.” -- Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Renna)

Oscars: No nominations

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pz8mbHxBWE


More on the AP Top 25 poll of sports movies: https://apnews.com/Sportsmovies