The Nine Best Sports Movies on Disney+

The Super Bowl ended last month, and we don’t get to watch Joe Burrow wear ridiculous coats for another six months.

Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics are finished, and Major League Baseball is inexplicably trying to destroy itself with a lockout.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Right now is a lousy time to be a sports fan. We’re completely out of luck until March Madness begins.

For this reason, I’d like to introduce you to Plan B. Here are some of the best sports movies on Disney+ to keep you happy during the NFL offseason.

Disney

Source: Disney

Cool Runnings

Have you watched any Olympic Bobsledding recently? Unfortunately, the ratings suggest that you haven’t, which is a shame.

This year’s competition featured a callback to one of the greatest side stories in Olympic history.

Photo: Entertainment Weekly

A group of Jamaican track stars joined together to form a Bobsled team, no small feat in a country without snow.

After more than 20 years away from the sport, the Jamaicans tried again in 2022.

Photo: The Guardian

Remarkably, one of the people commenting on their performance was John Morgan, whose archive footage appears in Cool Runnings. History has repeated itself!

Anyway, Cool Runnings was one of those movies that Blockbuster employees always recommended. It’s so charming and universal. You’ll love it.

Cool Runnings

The GamePlan

Do you remember that time The Rock acted in a Disney movie and thereby shattered several stereotypes about him?

After several lackluster attempts at action stardom, Dwayne Johnson’s turn as a sympathetic quarterback proved to be the film that unlocked his talent.

Disney

Disney had extremely low expectations for the film and signed The Rock for a fraction of what he later made on Jungle Cruise.

Somehow, The Game Plan became one of the sleeper blockbusters of 2007 and developed a loyal following on home video.

I won’t lie and tell you that it’s a brilliant movie by any stretch. It’s basically One Man and a Baby, with The Rock as the One Man.

Also, the story is more comfortable than a Hallmark movie. You should watch it on a day when you need a pick-me-up.

Glory Road

You may not know the name, but Don Haskins earned a spot in college basketball’s Hall of Fame for his dominant career.

The coach won 67 percent of his basketball games and won the NCAA Tournament in 1966.

Don Haskins

Photo: AP

This story chronicles the remarkable story of that season. Haskins started five African American players for Texas Western that year.

In the process, the program became the first college basketball team ever to win a national championship with a predominantly African American roster.

Glory Road

That team effectively ended racial segregation in college basketball, and this film tells that remarkable story.

I’ve watched it several times and adore the performances of Mehcad Brooks and Josh Lucas. This is powerhouse entertainment.

Gory Road

Gus

I’m a sucker for Don Knotts and Tim Conway movies. They’re two of the funniest people I’ve ever seen, and they co-star in Gus.

This unlikely story from the 1970s involves a mule who can kick field goals better than any professional football player.

Gus

Okay, the premise doesn’t pass the laugh test, but that’s true of many Disney comedies from the 1960s and 1970s. A dog couldn’t become a district attorney, either.

Also, if Kurt Russell were a robot, I suspect we all would have figured that out by now.

Gus

So, just ignore the ridiculousness of the idea and relish Gus for what it is: silly, timeless, family-friendly Disney comedy.

ice princess

Some of the films I list here have heftier emotional resonance than the standard Disney sports title. They’re more for a certain mood, a day when you’re feeling existential.

ice princess

Then, there’s Ice Princess, possibly the slightest film on this list. It stars Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Michelle Trachtenberg as a would-be Ivy Leaguer.

As a means of getting into college, this student circles back to her childhood love, figure skating.

Along the way, she rediscovers a lost passion, meets a boy, befriends some girls, and gains a chance at the Winter Olympics.

ice princess

This one’s not going to win any awards, but it was a rare creature for 2005. It was a theatrical release celebrating female empowerment in sports.

Also, thanks to some fortunate timing, it co-starred Hayden Panettiere about a year before the cheerleader saved the world.

Miracle

The American hockey team didn’t experience a Miracle on Ice this year. Instead, they lost a heartbreaker in a shootout a game before the medal rounds.

Still, you can relive the actual Miracle on Ice whenever you want, thanks to the magic of Disney+.

Miracle

Kurt Russell, still not a robot, plays the legendary Herb Brooks, the daring hockey coach who assembled the American team that year.

There is a scene in this film that blows my mind with brutality and realism, exemplifying the demands placed on high-level athletes.

I can summarize this scene with a single word: “Again.”

Remember the Titans

If you haven’t kept up with recent NFL headlines, the league has done an abysmal, mathematically impossible job in hiring minority candidates.

In truth, the uncomfortable subject of race has played a part in American sports for quite some time.

Remember the Titans

Disney has done an impeccable job in exploring this subject matter in tasteful, emotionally impactful ways.

I previously mentioned Glory Road, which I love, but that film isn’t on a par with Remember the Titans.

Remember the Titans

The Denzel Washington/Will Patton movie is legitimately on the shortlist for best football movie ever. To me, it’s this and Brian’s song.

Plus, remember the Titans co-stars a laundry list of future Hollywood stars like Ryan Gosling, Donald Faison, Kate Bosworth, and…Hayden Panettiere. She had a really good agent.

Rip Girls

Here’s the most obscure title on the list, but I put it here for a good reason. This list is very male-intensive with its sports and subject matter alike.

Rip Girls is the opposite, a made-for Disney Channel movie that plays out like a 2000 remake of North Shore, only with the Nia Peeples character as the lead.

RIP Girls

Okay, you don’t know North Shore, either, but you’ve likely guessed from the titles that these are surfer girl movies.

Camilla Belle plays a transplanted Hawaiian who returns home and learns that she’s a surfer at heart.

Rip girls

Frankly, there are better preteen female protagonist stories on Disney+, and Netflix released an excellent movie about returning Hawaiians last year. Finding ‘Ohana is the better film.

Still, I think your kids will really like Rip Girls, especially if they’re into surfing or any other aquatic sports.

The scenery in this film is achingly beautiful, too. It makes me want to go to Aulani.

By the way, if they do like Rip Girls, show them the Doogie Kamealoha series next!

Doogie Kamealoha md poster

Image Credit: Disney

The Sandlot

Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” and had no idea what they were referencing? Watch this movie to find out.

The Sandlot is the breathing definition of a cult classic that found new life on home video after being a sleeper hit in theaters.

The SandlotIts extended place in pop culture is proof positive that it’s a fun little movie, especially for kids.

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