A good sports movie has the power to leave you with the feeling of a champion, like you’re ready to run onto the field at Yankee Stadium and take the mound. It’s hard to resist cheering for the underdog and Netflix has a team full of sports dramas and comedies worth rooting for.
I didn’t include sports documentaries in the list — primarily because half of it would be the 30 For 30 series — but chose to highlight the sports comedies and dramas that were receiving the highest ratings from Netflix users. Like the other installments in our Highest Rated On Netflix Streaming series, there were a few surprise entries — especially the first two — and a couple of noticeable absences. (Sorry, fans of A League Of Their Own.)
The Perfect Game 4.2 stars out of 269, 451 ratings.
The Perfect Game is ripe with sports movie cliches and plays out exactly how you expect, but the movie’s sweetness and simple approach has proven enough to make it the highest rated sports movie on Netflix. Based on true events from 1957, a ballplayer returns to Mexico after an unsuccessful run going pro in America to coach the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series. Rotten Tomatoes 68, IMDB 6.9
The Hammer 4.1 stars out of 189, 313 ratings.
Based on the coming of age story of deaf UFC fighter, Matt Hamill, The Hammer follows Matt as he learns to use his disability as an asset, becoming the first deaf wrestler to win the National Collegiate Championship. The movie of course has the college sports drama one would expect, but also works as vehicle for educating hearing audiences on deaf culture. Rotten Tomatoes 79, IMDB 7.2
Happy Gilmore 3.9 stars out of 8,888,023 ratings.
If your image of Adam Sandler has become tarnished by the Grown Ups series, Just Go With It or really anything he’s done over the last decade, Happy Gilmore should provide some nostalgic comfort. The story of a failed hockey player who shakes up the PGA tour by crapping all over it is currently the highest rated sports comedy on Netflix. Rotten Tomatoes 85, IMDB 7.0
Raging Bull 3.9 stars out of 1,547,408 ratings.
Perhaps De Niro’s best work with Martin Scorsese, the drama of Raging Bull works as masterful character study of the rise and downward spiral of middleweight boxer Jake La Motta. De Niro is at the top of his game in his depiction of La Motta, a man who allows success to only fuel his inner demons. The movie didn’t snag a Best Director Oscar for Martin Scorsese, though it’s a strong contender for his best film of the 1980s. Rotten Tomatoes 93, IMDB 8.3
Goon 3.9 stars out of 1,166,309 ratings.
Something about guys on ice skates with hockey sticks just lends itself to slapstick comedy. (Probably the ice skates and hockey sticks.) Goon follows Sean William Scott as an aimless bouncer who’s only real athleticism is kicking people’s asses, which is exactly what the local coach admires about him. The movie’s language is just as nasty as the fistfights, but there’s also something sweet about the friendship between Scott’s character and his best friend played by Jay Baruchel. Rotten Tomatoes 70, IMDB 6.9
Rocky 3.8 stars out of 4,368,267 ratings.
The crown jewel in Sly Stallone’s film career and one of the most inspiring sports movies of all time, Rocky functions just as well as a love story as it does a boxing drama. Stallone set out to write a movie that mirrored his life as a young man getting by on the bare minimum while trying to prove to the world that he could be something. The movie garnered him respect from critics and audiences alike and is still considered by many to be the best boxing movie ever made. Rotten Tomatoes 68, IMDB 8.1
Slap Shot 3.8 stars out of 702,916 ratings.
Essentially The Bad News Bears with skates and a pre-Mighty Ducks — only with everything the Mighty Ducks lacked — Slap Shot is everything a comedy about hockey should be. Paul Newman takes a job coaching for a misfit team of players who spend more time in the penalty box than on the ice. And much like Goon, Slap Shot’s comedy relies on heavy doses of profanity and bouts of violence. Basically, it’s got everything you could want from a hockey movie. Rotten Tomatoes 87, IMDB 7.4
Brian’s Song 3.8 stars out of 565,361 ratings.
Word to the wise, make sure you’ve got a box of tissues nearby before you begin streaming Brian’s Song. Based on the story of Chicago Bears teammates Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, the made for television movie is definitely guilty of getting a little sappy at times, but it’s story of a friendship tested in the face of illness has great performances by both James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. Rotten Tomatoes 83, IMDB 7.6
Breaking Away 3.8 stars out of 527,157 ratings.
The movie’s story of a small town teen cyclist vying for the affections of a girl might not have the most original plot, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more feel good sports movie. A young Daniel Stern and Dennis Quaid helped the movie pull in four 1979 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Adapted Score and a win for Best Original Screenplay. Rotten Tomatoes 89, IMDB 7.8
Rocky II 3.7 stars out of 1,177,196 ratings.
Without a doubt, the best sequel in the Rocky series, it might not have as much of the underdog fight that possessed the original, but Balboa’s rematch against Apollo Creed is every bit as entertaining. Rotten Tomatoes 81, IMDB 7.1
Bull Durham 3.6 stars out of 1,371,270 ratings.
There are those who love Bull Durham, hailing it as the greatest baseball movie ever, and those who prefer to not even acknowledge it as a baseball movie altogether. (Feel free to spark that debate in the comments.) While the movie focuses on the love triangle between a fan and two players, baseball is the through line connecting all of them. The sports drama takes a backseat to the romantic kind with Susan Sarandon playing a groupie looking to bed a minor-league team’s catcher and pitcher. Rotten Tomatoes 83, IMDB 7.1
The Bad News Bears 3.6 stars out of 756,059 ratings.
Having kids rattle off curse words onscreen is common practice for many of today’s R-rated comedies, but in the 1970s Bad News Bears did it first. Walter Matthau plays an ex-minor league player turned pool cleaner turned little league coach whose new team consist of talentless smartasses. The movie is full of political incorrectness and crass humor, but all of this makes it incredibly funny and without it we might not have a Bad Santa or Bad Grandpa. And that would be a damn shame. Rotten Tomatoes 80, IMDB 7.3
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