35 Must-Watch Football Movies That Even Taylor Swift Fans Will Love


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Do we know all the rules of football? Well, not exactly. But have we developed a newfound interest in the sport since we learned about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce's romance? You bet.

Judging by the spikes in viewership and ratings, there's no doubt that the NFL is currently reaping all the benefits of the Taylor Swift Era. Even better? We imagine that there's an influx of fans who intend to keep the momentum going by watching the best football movies of all time.

Fortunately, with Super Bowl season right around the corner, we can get our football fix on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. Their catalogs include classic gems like The Waterboy, biographical dramas like Remember the Titans and romances like Everybody's All-American. So, grab an ice-cold beer, some Instagram-worthy snacks and check out 35 must-watch football movies to keep you entertained.

The 40 Most Inspiring Movies You Can Stream Right Now

1. Draft Day (2014)

  • Cast: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella
  • Rating: PG-13

On NFL draft day, Sonny Weaver, general manager of the Cleveland Browns, gets an opportunity to save his team when he trades for the number-one pick. But this leaves him in a sticky situation. Will he choose a low-ranking linebacker with a promising future, or the famous quarterback whose future doesn't look so certain?

2. Undefeated (2011)

  • Cast: Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown
  • Rating: PG-13

Follow the inspiring true story of the Manassas Tigers, a team of underprivileged high school students whose lives are turned around with the help of their coach, Bill Courtney.

3. School Ties (1992)

  • Cast: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O'Donnell, Randall Batinkoff
  • Rating: PG-13

In this riveting drama, Jewish teen and football star David Greene receives an athletic scholarship to an elite prep school. But when he arrives, he realizes that his well-to-do classmates aren’t so fond of Jews. Can he go on hiding his heritage for the sake of his reputation?

4. Go Tigers! (2001)

  • Cast: Dave Irwin, Ellery Moore, Joe Paterno
  • Rating: R

Get to know the Massillon Tigers as they share their stories and navigate the ups and downs of high school sports. The eye-opening film speaks to their impact on the small town, as well as their famous rivalry against the Canton McKinley High School Bulldogs.

5. Concussion (2015)

  • Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard
  • Rating: PG-13

As we’ve seen with King Richard, Will Smith has a knack for depicting real-life heroes. Only in this case, he plays a forensic pathologist who was brave enough to go up against the NFL. Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, whose findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players caused quite a stir.

6. Safety (2020)

  • Cast: Jay Reeves, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Corinne Foxx, Matthew Glave
  • Rating: PG

Based on the true story of Ray McElrathbey, Safety follows the Clemson University football player (played by Jay Reeves) as he struggles to balance his football career with school and family drama. We know, we know—two hours is a lot. But trust us, every minute is worth it.

7. Invincible (2006)

  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks
  • Rating: PG

Eagles fans, this one's for you. Mark Wahlberg stars as the former wide receiver Vince Papale, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles during the ’70s. The heartfelt underdog story details how he became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL to play without any college football experience.

8. Rudy (1993)

  • Cast: Sean Astin, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton
  • Rating: PG

At the core of this captivating sports drama is the simplest message: never give up on your dreams. Inspired by the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, the film follows a Notre Dame student who dreams of playing football. While it seems impossible, he stops at nothing to make this a reality.

9. Remember the Titans (2006)

  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst
  • Rating: PG

Set during the early ’70s and based on true events, Remember the Titans follows Herman Boone, a no-nonsense coach who’s tasked with integrating Black and white football players at T. C. Williams High School. The film teaches us a lesson or two on achieving racial harmony despite challenges.

10. The Blind Side (2009)

  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
  • Rating: PG-13

It’s an incredibly moving adaptation of Michael Lewis's book, which chronicles the life of former offensive lineman Michael Oher. Quinton Aaron stars as the football player, who, with the help of his adoptive parents, goes from being poverty-stricken to playing in the NFL.

11. Friday Night Lights (2004)

  • Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lucas Black
  • Rating: PG-13

When star running back Boobie Miles (Derek Luke) suffers an injury, it’s up to coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) to instill confidence in his football team at Permian High School in Texas. Can they continue their winning streak without him?

12. Brian's Song (1971)

  • Cast: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams
  • Rating: G

Adapted from Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers's autobiography, I Am Third, it tells the story of how he and his white teammate, Brian Piccolo (Sean Maher), formed an unlikely friendship after starting off as rivals during the civil rights era.

13. The Express (2008)

  • Cast: Rob Brown, Dennis Quaid, Clancy Brown, Chadwick Boseman
  • Rating: PG

It's so inspirational and insightful that even those who don't like football will enjoy this film. Based on the life of Ernie Davis, a Syracuse University football player who made history as the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, The Express tackles multiple civil rights themes, including discrimination in the sports world.

14. The Longshots (2008)

  • Cast: Ice Cube, Keke Palmer, Dash Mihok, Tasha Smith
  • Rating: PG

Inspired by the life of Jasmine Plummer, who became the first girl to participate in the Pop Warner football tournament, The Longshots follows a former player (Ice Cube), who finds purpose when he decides to coach a failing football team, including his niece (Keke Palmer).

15. The Longest Yard (2005)

  • Cast: Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, Burt Reynolds
  • Rating: PG-13

Adam Sandler delivers all the laughs as a former pro athlete named Paul Crewe. To reduce his prison sentence, Paul invites several fellow convicts to participate in a football game against the guards.

16. The Waterboy (1998)

  • Cast: Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed
  • Rating: PG-13

While we’re on the topic of Adam Sandler, Bobby Boucher Jr. might be one of his most memorable characters ever. In the film, Bobby goes from being a hapless, socially awkward waterboy to being a star linebacker for the University of Louisiana football team.

17. Little Giants (1994)

  • Cast: Rick Moranis, Ed O'Neill, Shawna Waldron
  • Rating: PG

Need a break from the sentimental content? Try Little Giants, a family-friendly classic that follows two brothers (played by Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill) as they coach rival Pee-Wee Football teams.

18. All the Right Moves (1983)

  • Cast: Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson
  • Rating: R

Combine teen angst, sports and ’80s nostalgia, and you’ll get this classic. Tom Cruise plays Stef Djordjevic, a gifted high school defensive back with dreams of escaping his small town and dead-end job.

19. The Replacements (2000)

  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton
  • Rating: PG-13

The film offers a fictionalized version of the 1987 NFL strike, where the Washington Redskins scored three victories in their replacement games and went on to win the Super Bowl in 1988.

20. Gridiron Gang (2006)

  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell, Kevin Dunn
  • Rating: PG-13

Loosely based on Kilpatrick Mustangs's life, the sports drama follows Sean Porter, a probation officer who forms a football team of teen inmates to keep them out of trouble. While slightly predictable, Johnson gives a solid performance as the levelheaded coach.

21. Semi-Tough (1977)

  • Cast: Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh, Robert Preston
  • Rating: R

Although quite a few of its scenes feel dated, it’s a treat for anyone who lives for parodies and sharp humor (expect to see a few jabs at self-improvement). The comedy follows two pro football players who get caught up in a love triangle with their attractive roommate, Barbara Jane Bookman (played by Clayburgh).

22. The Freshman (1925)

  • Cast: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict
  • Rating: PG

This charming silent film is about a doe-eyed college freshman who wants nothing more than to be popular on campus. After enrolling at Tate University, Harold Lamb (Harold Lloyd) tries out for the football team, creating some of the funniest (and most iconic) sports scenes ever.

23. North Dallas Forty (1979)

  • Cast: Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning
  • Rating: R

The playful satire offers a bit of insight into the world of football and pro athletes during the '70s—and it’s sure to spark some interesting discussions. Nick Nolte stars as a football player who refuses to conform to the rest of his team, which results in backlash.

24. Varsity Blues (1999)

  • Cast: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester
  • Rating: R

Dawson Leery James Van Der Beek stars in this coming-of-age gem as Mox, whose life is turned upside-down when he goes from being a backup quarterback to a starting player for the West Canaan High’s varsity football team.

25. 12 Mighty Orphans (2021)

  • Cast: Luke Wilson, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker
  • Rating: PG-13

Set during the Great Depression, this feel-good movie follows Coach Rusty Russell, who gives up a successful job to start a football team of orphans in Fort Worth, Texas.

26. The Game Plan (2007)

  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut
  • Rating: PG

While Joe, a self-absorbed football star, is preparing for his next championship game, an 8-year-old girl shows up at his luxurious pad and claims to be his daughter. Cue the chaos.

27. Woodlawn (2015)

  • Cast: Sean Astin, Nic Bishop, Caleb Castille
  • Rating: PG

Based on the true story of former football coach Tandy Gerelds and former running back Tony Nathan, Woodlawn shows how one speaker inspired a team of football players to overcome hate and violence following government-mandated desegregation in 1973.

28. Run the Race (2018)

  • Cast: Tanner Stine, Evan Hofer, Kristoffer Polaha, Kelsey Reinhardt
  • Rating: PG-13

Zach Truett is determined to land a football scholarship and leave his hometown. But when he injures his knee, he’s devastated at the possibility of never living his dream. That is, until his brother steps up and tries to restore his hope.

29. Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver (1998)

  • Cast: Kevin Zegers, Gregory Harrison, Cynthia Stevenson, Nora Dunn
  • Rating: G

Josh teams up with his mom's boyfriend and veterinarian Patrick to rescue their pup, Buddy, who's been kidnapped because of his football skills. Sign us up for anything that involves dogs.

30. Heaven Can Wait (1978)

  • Cast: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Jack Warden, James Mason
  • Rating: PG

When Joe Pendleton, a quarterback for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, is accidentally taken to heaven by his guardian angel, his physical body gets cremated, making it impossible for him to resume his old life. Instead, he returns as a multi-millionaire who was murdered by his cheating wife. What could possibly go wrong?

31. Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008)

  • Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Brian Dowling, Don Gillis
  • Rating: PG

This eye-opening film dives into one of the most legendary football matches of all time: Harvard versus Yale in November 1968. In an incredible twist, Harvard ties the game in the last 42 seconds, leading to the famous headline that read, "Harvard Beats Yale 29–29."

32. Lucas (1986)

  • Cast: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Winona Ryder
  • Rating: PG-13

In Ryder's feature film debut, a 14-year-old high school student named Lucas quickly falls for his new friend, Maggie. However, when she sets her sights on the school's football star, Lucas decides to join the team. Cue the chaos.

33. Greater (2016)

  • Cast: Neal McDonough, Leslie Easterbrook, Michael Parks, Nick Searcy
  • Rating: PG

Inspired by the life of Brandon Burlsworth, Greater follows a walk-on college football player who defies all odds and becomes an All-American, despite the lack of support from his teammates. Get your tissues ready.

34. Brian Banks (2018)

  • Cast: Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, Melanie Liburd
  • Rating: PG-13

This gripping biographical drama chronicles the life of former football player Brian Banks, a high school football linebacker who's wrongly convicted and sent to prison. After he gets released, Brian must fight to clear his name and get his football career back on track.

35. Everybody's All-American (1988)

  • Cast: Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange, Timothy Hutton
  • Rating: R

It's a rather intriguing plot, where a football star struggles to keep up with life in the NFL and doesn’t get his happily ever after. Still, it offers a good balance of steamy romance and drama.

nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...