It seemed like a pretty simple request. Members of the NZME sports team were asked to rank their top three sports movies of all time ('no docos please, we'll do that another day').

Three points for each person's best film, two points for number two and one point for their third choice.

After much deliberation, and a few arguments, votes were cast and we've compiled our list of the best sports movies of all time.

Previously: Which is the top sports ground in New Zealand?

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1 point - Worth a watch

These films all received one vote from our panel. A lot of contention over whether Gladiator is actually a sports movie, but gladiatorial fights were the MMA of the Roman Empire so it makes the list. This section also features the only appearances of chess, bobsleigh and dodgeball on our countdown.

27th =) The Hurricane

Boxing: Based on the true story of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who was falsely imprisoned for murder. Starring Denzel Washington.

27th =) Invictus
Rugby: Possible prequel to the Stephen Donald and Richie McCaw movies, it's about that Rugby World Cup final the All Blacks didn't win. Starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon.

27th =) Creed
Boxing: Latest edition to the Rocky series as Michael B. Jordan plays the son of Rocky character Apollo Creed. Starring. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone.

27th =) Semi Pro
Basketball: A comedic look at the lower leagues of professional basketball in the 1970s. Starring: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson.

27th =) Gladiator
Hand to hand combat: Gladiators, ready! A young gladiator tries to lead the Roman Maximas to the World Cup of Gladiators. Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix.

27th =) Cool Runnings
Bobsleigh: Based on the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team who qualified for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.


27th =) World's Fastest Indian
Motorsport: The true story of Kiwi motor-racing great Burt Munro and his quest to break the land-speed record on an Indian motorcycle. Starring: Anthony Hopkins.

27th =) Pawn Sacrifice
Chess: Tobey Maguire plays American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer as he prepares for the 1972 World Chess Championship match. Starring: Maguire, Liev Schreiber

27th =) Jerry Maguire
American football: A dramatic glimpse into the world of sports agents. Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr, Renée Zellweger

27th =) Dodgeball
Dodgeball: In a quest to save their local gym from financial ruin, a group of friends enter a national dodgeball competition. Starring: Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Vince Vaughn

2 points - Not the best but still pretty good

Not good enough to be considered the best by any of our panel but worthy of consideration. A nice mix of drama and comedy, proving there are many ways to tell a sports story.

18th =) The Sandlot

Baseball: A group of children spend their spare time playing baseball on a neighbourhood while trying to avoid run-ins with a vicious dog.

18th =) The Blindside
American football: Based on the true story of NFL tackle Michael Oher who was adopted by a white family after being left homeless. Starring: Sandra Bullock.

18th =) Grand Prix
Motorsport: Follows the fate of four Formula One drivers through a fictionalised version of the 1966 Formula One season. Amazing footage. Starring: James Garner.


18th =) Major League
Baseball: A rag-tag bunch of players attempt to turn around the luck of the hapless Cleveland Indians franchise (not based on the current 2016 season). Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen.

18th =) Bull Durham
Baseball: A veteran catcher and a rookie pitcher arrive at a minor league baseball team to prepare for the major leagues where a fan romances them without the use of Tinder. Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins.

18th =) Coach Carter
Basketball: Based on the true story of a high school basketball coach who benches his team for failing their academic studies.

18th =) The Fighter
Boxing: Based on the true story of boxer Micky Ward who launches a comeback with the help of his-brother/trainer Dicky Eklund who struggles with drug addiction. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams.

18th =) Talladega Nights
Motorsport: Nascar as seen in the eyes of Will Ferrell.


18th =) Friday Night Lights
American football: Based on the Buzz Bissinger's book of the same name, follows a season with Texas high school football team The Permian High Panthers.

3 points - Heading into must-watch territory

A number of these movies were worthy of first place picks by our panel, considered by them as their favourite sports movie.

9th =) This Sporting Life

Rugby League: 1963 classic where a league player struggles with the harsh realities of stardom and living life off the field. Starring: Richard Harris


9th =) Brian's Song (One first place vote)
American football: The real life story of NFL players Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying of cancer. Starring: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams.

9th =) White Men Can't Jump (One first place vote)
Basketball: Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson join forces in a two-man street basketball team to hustle opponents for money.

9th =) Hoosiers (One first place vote)
Basketball: A small town high school basketball team become title contenders after the arrival of a new coach. Check out the trailer below, talk about spoilers. Starring: Gene Hackman.


9th =) Escape to Victory (One first place vote)
Football: The one and only sports film based in a German POW camp. Some allied POWs take on the German national team in a game during World War II. Sylvester Stallone is of course the goalie. Starring: Michael Caine, Stallone, Pelé.

9th =) Goal! (One first place vote)
Football: Follows the rise of a young player spotted by scouts and signs a contract with Newcastle United.

9th =) Karate Kid (One first place vote)
Karate: A teenager learns karate under the tutelage of a former master. He then uses the skills to beat up bullies and competes in the Under-18 All-Valley Karate Tournament. Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue.

9th =) Miracle (One first place vote)
Ice hockey: Based on the true story of the USA men's ice hockey team who, as huge underdogs, defeated the Russian side at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

9th =) The Hustler
Pool: The story of a small-time pool hustler and his desire to break into the big leagues of professional hustling. Starring: Paul Newman.

4 points - Award winners

Critically acclaimed Oscar winners so they must be good. Our panel agrees.

6th =) Million Dollar Baby (One first place vote)

Boxing: An underdog female amateur boxer attempts to achieve her dream of becoming a professional with the help of a veteran trainer and gym assistant. Won four Oscars including best picture, best director, best actress and best supporting actor. Starring: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

6th =) Rocky
Boxing: An underdog boxer, sense a theme?, gets a title shot against the heavyweight champion with the aid of his trainer and some really impressive montages. Won three Oscars for best picture, best director and best editing. Starring: Sylvester Stallone (his third appearance on tis list).


6th =) Any Given Sunday
American football: Oliver Stone's take on the on-field and off-field drama of a professional American football team. Maybe not an Oscar but Cameron Diaz was nominated for the Hissy Fit award at the 2000 Teen Choice Awards for her performance. Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx.

5 points - Yes, Bugs Bunny!

5th) Space Jam (One first place vote)

Basketball: Michael Jordan joins Bugs Bunny and his cartoon friends in a game of basketball against some aliens with the world at stake. Jordan's acting is about as convincing as his baseball career but the Tasmanian Devil makes up for it. Starring: Jordan, Bill Murray.

6 points - 'Just tap it in'

4th) Happy Gilmore (One first place vote)

Golf: A slacker joins the professional golf tour to raise money in an attempt to save his grandmother's house after she gets behind on paying her taxes. His unique swing and on course antics make him a fan favourite on the tour, much to the dislike of rival player Shooter McGavin. Starring: Adam Sandler

7 points - Based on true story...

3rd) Remember the Titans (One first place vote)

American football: Another film based on a real life event. It tells the story of a high school team in Virginia, 1971 where they became one of the first sides to introduce a racially diverse squad. Starring: Denzel Washington.

8 points - Baseball's best

Baseball: Based on the Michael Lewis book about the Oakland A's analytical strategy to baseball which saw the side succeed despite having one of the smallest payrolls in the game. Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt.

17 points - The best

1st) Raging Bull (Three first place votes)

Boxing: Boxing movies feature prominantly on our list with six films making the grade, tied with American football (basketball has five, baseball four). Robert De Niro's portrayal of middleweight champion Jake LaMotta's downward spiral won De Niro on Oscar. The film, shot in black and white, is often regarded as director Martin Scorsese's best film.

At the time reviews were mixed because of the brutality of the film, especially in the fight scenes.

Easily topped our voting for the best sports movie of all time.