8 best sports movies on Hulu for every type of fan
As a wise man once said: “For most of us, the dream of becoming a champion remains a fantasy. But for a special few, it is very much a reality. We cheer them. We live through them. Athletes are our last warriors.”
Sports movies can be a lot of things, but they’re all bound together by a shared interest in shining a light on human greatness. The “special few” who reach the pinnacle of their athletic potential often live out amazing stories simply as a byproduct of their arduous journey.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration, big laughs, taut drama, or plain old knowledge, Hulu’s slim-but-mighty lineup of sports movies has you covered. Here are our favorites.
1. The Sandlot (1993)
Some would argue that Field of Dreams is the greatest baseball movie ever made. The response I always have at the ready is: Don’t forget about The Sandlot.
Director and co-writer David Mickey Evans’ 1993 film is really just a story about neighborhood kids who play baseball together. But that simple premise belies the glorious adventure that awaits as the ensemble cast of kid players faces off against lost balls, other kids who want to claim the movie’s eponymous playing field, girls, and beastly dogs in the summer of 1962. The Sandlot is and always will be the best baseball movie. For-ev-er.
How to watch: The Sandlot is now streaming on Hulu.
2. Bring It On (2000)
It’s a modern-day classic for a reason: This teen comedy about competing cheer squads is sneakily a perceptive film about privilege and race and inequality. It’s also really, really smart and funny. The cheers are catchy and classic; Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union rule; and the early 2000s clothes and jargon are perfection. Gather up your friends and let the jazz hands and perfect opening moments overtake you. Cheer-ocracies forever. —Erin Strecker, Entertainment Editor
How to watch: Bring It On is now streaming on Hulu.
3. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
It’s hard to compete with The Sandlot, but Angels in the Outfield comes close.
Director William Dear’s heartwarming story, from writer Holly Goldberg Sloan and loosely based on a 1951 film with the same name, is a true classic. It’s about a young foster child named Roger Bomman who prays for the last-place Anaheim Angels to win after his biodad tells him that’s what it’ll take to get their family back together. When the prayer works and Roger sees actual angels help the team win, he ends up joining the team as their good luck charm. But restoring his lost family might not be so easy.
Angels in the Outfield is a delightful and family-friendly comedy-drama from Walt Disney Pictures, but it’s mostly the stellar cast that keeps it alive in 2021. You’ve got an ensemble of stars that includes a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, along with Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd, and Tony Danza. Matthew McConaughey and Adrien Brody, early in their respective careers, also pop up in small roles.
How to watch: Angels in the Outfield is now streaming on Hulu.
4. Fighting With My Family (2019)
Fighting With My Family combines two time-tested formulas, the underdog sports biopic and the quirky family dramedy, with results so satisfying, it might turn you into a pro wrestling fan even if you weren’t one before.
Florence Pugh shines as real-life WWE wrestler Paige, whose journey from scrappy dreamer to world-famous superstar makes up the meat of the plot — but it’s her endearingly eccentric wrestling-obsessed family, played by Nick Frost, Lena Headey, and Jack Lowden, who really kick this crowd-pleaser up a notch. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might grumble that none of this is how pro wrestling really works, but you’ll come away delighted all the same.
How to watch: Fighting With My Family is now streaming on Hulu.
5. The Hustler (1961)
Filmmaker Robert Rossen’s 1961 drama stars Paul Newman as “Fast” Eddie Felson, a small-time pool shark who dreams of hitting it big. He gets that chance one day when he faces off against the legendary pool player Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). But when a series of escalating bets eventually turns against Eddie, he’s left almost broke and facing a grim path to getting another shot.
There’s a powerhouse cast here that, in addition to Newman and Gleason, also features Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, and Myron McCormick. The Hustler is an important work that’s been preserved by the Library of Congress. It was also followed by a 1986 sequel, The Color of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese.
How to watch: The Hustler is now streaming on Hulu.
6. Hoosiers (1986)
There are countless sports movies about a washed up coach or manager getting another shot to answer their life’s calling, and Hoosiers is perhaps the most famous of them all. Gene Hackman stars as Norman Dale, a former college basketball coach who lost his job after making a terrible mistake.
That’s how he ends up teaching high school and coaching its small, questionably talented team. But Norman’s past struggles with anger and impulse control crop up as he works to train up the team, leaving him on the outs with the basketball-obsessed Indiana community. Also starring Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper, Hoosiers is another Library of Congress-certified cinema classic.
How to watch: Hoosiers is now streaming on Hulu.
7. Blue Chips (1994)
Blue Chips is something of a curiosity. Directed by William Friedkin, best known for The Exorcist, and written by Ron Shelton, the writer and director of White Men Can’t Jump, you’d think the movie can’t miss. Especially with a cast that includes Nick Nolte, Mary McDonnell, Ed O’Neill, Alfre Woodard, and Shaquille O’Neal, with additional appearances from basketball personalities like Bobby Knight and Dick Vitale.
Alas, Blue Chips was not particularly well-received upon release. The story of Nolte’s hard-driving coach was deemed overly preachy and lacking in the excitement that makes for a good basketball (or sports) movie. It’s an interesting relic from the past nonetheless, and the poster advertising “NOLTE / O’NEAL” in big, block, all-caps letters speaks to the historic nature of the assembled cast of this 1994 movie.
How to watch: Blue Chips is now streaming on Hulu.
8. Soul on Ice (2016)
Damon Kwame Mason’s 2016 crowdfunded documentary, Soul on Ice: Past, Present, & Future swings across a wide arc of history. It’s a comprehensive look at the history of Black ice hockey players, introducing the Colored Hockey League, an all-Black league whose existence predates even the National Hockey League.
Mason takes viewers on a journey through time, charting a path from the CHL to players like Herb Carnegie, who turned down offers from the New York Rangers in 1948 that would have made him the first Black NHL player, and Willie O’Ree, the actual first Black NHL player (his story is wild, too), and then on to the modern era with players like Grant Fuhr, Wayne Simmonds, and Joel Ward. The heart of the documentary also represents a peek into hockey’s future, with an overarching focus on the then-prospect Jaden Lindo.
How to watch: Soul on Ice is now streaming on Hulu.