When it comes to uplifting football movies, Gridiron Gang is certainly a classic. This inspiring drama follows juvenile delinquents who band together to create a high-school football team in an effort to gain personal freedoms and learn important life lessons. It’s a classic underdog story that has moved generations of viewers.
If you’ve enjoyed the spirit of Gridiron Gang and you’re looking for more movies like it, you’re in luck! There’s a host of uplifting football films out there to satisfy your needs. In this guide, we take a look at some of the best options.
Inspiring Films Featuring College Football Players
There are plenty of inspiring tales of college football players beating the odds and achieving legendary status. Here are a few powerful movies that bring these stories to life.
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights is an inspiring drama about a high-school football team in a small, economically-depressed Texas town. This adaptation of the popular book follows Coach Gary Gaines and the players on his team as they overcome social and economic obstacles to have a chance at winning the state championship. The performances in this movie—including Billy Bob Thornton and his players—are universally excellent.
Remember the Titans
Based on a true story, Remember the Titans focuses on the integration of black and white students at a Morristown, Virginia high school in 1971. In the face of widespread racial tension, the newly-formed football team must learn to come together in order to have a chance of winning the state championship. The cast in this movie—which includes Denzel Washington, Will Patton, and Wood Harris—delivers strong performances that capture the spirit of the true story.
The Blind Side
The Blind Side chronicles the true story of Michael Oher—a homeless teenager who takes in by a well-to-do Memphis, Tennessee family. This family helps lead Michael on a journey of personal growth and self-discovery that includes attending a prestigious high school and playing college football. Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron deliver fantastic performances in this feel-good movie.
Uplifting Films That Follow High School Football Teams
Gridiron Gang is certainly not the only uplifting high-school football movie. These films feature teams of young players striving to overcome challenges and make the most of their lives.
Varsity Blues follows a high-school football team in small-town Texas that is determined to win the state championship. Coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight) is focused on producing winning teams, to the point that he’s willing to cut corners. When backup quarterback Jonathan Moxon (James Van Der Beek) decides to do things the right way and lead his team to glory, he finds himself up against his coach and the entire town establishment.
The Boy’s of St. Vincent
The Boy’s of St. Vincent is the true story of a Catholic boys’ orphanage in Newfoundland and how one young man is determined to persevere despite his surroundings. Due to a mix of luck and raw talent, the young man is put in charge of the orphanage’s football team and does an impressive job of turning them into a competitive force.
The Waterboy is a classic comedy about a timid waterboy for a college football team that discovers he has an unexpected talent—for playing the game. Despite his lack of confidence and social awkwardness, Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) uses his unique skills to make a major impact on the game.
Inspiring Documentaries About Football
For maximum inspiration, there’s nothing like seeing real people struggling to overcome adversity and achieve greatness. These powerful documentaries bring that concept to life.
Undefeated is an Oscar-winning documentary about a high-school football team from an economically-challenged Memphis, Tennessee neighborhood. The Manassas Tigers are determined to overcome their conditions and win their first state championship game. Despite numerous obstacles, the team makes an impressive run that captivates their community and the nation.
The Best of Enemies
The Best of Enemies follows the true story of the first high-school football game played between white and black competitors during the civil rights era. This award-winning documentary focuses on the individuals that helped make the game happen, while also exploring the various perspectives and conflicts at play during that tumultuous time.
The Endless Summer
The Endless Summer follows a group of football players in a rust-belt town in Ohio as they play in their final high-school football season. Despite their community being economically-depressed and struggling to survive, the players remain determined to put on a memorable performance and end their year with a bang. This film is a powerful reminder that strength can come from unlikely places.
These are only a few of the inspiring football films available. Whether you prefer high-school teams, college players, or documentaries, you’re sure to find something inspiring. Hopefully, this guide has been useful in helping you find movies like Gridiron Gang that will motivate you to keep striving for greatness.