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Top Ten Sports Stadiums in the Movies

By Brian Wilmer -- August 31, 2012 11:31 AM EDT


Go ahead. Find that DVD rack in your media room, your office or wherever it may be. It is a reasonably safe bet that there are a number of sports movies taking up residence on that rack. They make us laugh, cry, smile and watch in amazement, time and time again. Part of our connection with sports movies is that they bring possibility to the impossible. Sports movies obviously take place in sports venues, but “regular” films also have chosen stadiums and arenas to be a part of their features.

We here at Stadium Journey are movie nerds ourselves, and we wanted to take a look at some of some of the venues that have served as the backdrop for movie magic. For many of these films, the venues serve as a virtually uncredited character. Just as we honor our favorite characters in the movies, we should honor the backdrops for their memorable performances. This is our list of the best stadium experiences of venues that have also been the site for filming in one or more movies.

  1. Fenway Park - Home of the Boston Red Sox

    “Careful, kid. They'll break your heart.” - Uncle Carl (speaking about the Red Sox), Fever Pitch

    As everyone knows, Fenway is one of the older operating facilities in the United States. Numerous films have featured Fenway Park, including the aforementioned Fever Pitch. Sports movies naturally have found a home in Fenway, as Moneyball, Little Big League, Major League II and Field of Dreams all had scenes shot in the park. There are also a number of non-sports movies with Fenway featured, including A Civil Action, Blown Away, The Town and Seth MacFarlane's 2012 ode to Mark Wahlberg and his talking bear, Ted.

  2. Notre Dame Stadium - Home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    “Well, you know what my dad always said, Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.” - Pete, Rudy

    When thinking of Notre Dame Stadium, hundreds of things may come to mind. “Touchdown Jesus”, “Play Like A Champion Today” and the golden dome are all traditions of this great stadium and the university. The two films that have been permitted to shoot on campus are also part of the university's storied history. Knute Rockne, All American (1940) was shot at Notre Dame, featuring the famed “win one for the Gipper” speech. More known to recent generations, though, is 1993's Rudy, the inspirational story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. The film is said to have taken numerous liberties, as Hollywood is known to do, but it is still a must-see for sports fans and non-sports fans alike.

  3. Hinkle Fieldhouse - Home of the Butler Bulldogs

    “Welcome to Indiana basketball.” - Coach Norman Dale, Hoosiers

    Sure, only one film was made in Hinkle Fieldhouse, but what a film it was. The epic story of Hickory High starred Gene Hackman as embattled coach Norman Dale was chronicled in this 1986 classic. Everyone remembers Norman Dale having the distance measured between the floor and the basket, the picket fence and Jimmy Chitwood. The movie is based on a true story, but no matter how similar it was to real life, it draws you in from the first second and refuses to let go until the final buzzer.

  4. Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Home of the Baltimore Orioles

    “Women. You can't live without 'em, and they can't pee standing up.” - Rube Baker, Major League II

    Fans of the Major League film franchise will fondly remember the films for being set in Cleveland, though they were not actually filmed in Cleveland. The first film took place in Milwaukee's County Stadium, while the second took place in Baltimore's then-new home. Sure, the stadium was dolled up to look like Cleveland, though observant fans noticed the outer gates of the stadium and some other distinguishable features. Two other films somewhat centered around the United States Presidency (Kevin Kline's Dave and Chris Rock's Head of State) had scenes filmed here, as well.

  5. Heinz Field - Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers

    “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy's shoulder to let him know that the world hadn't ended.” - Batman, The Dark Knight Rises

    The home of the Pittsburgh Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers was also home to the 2012 blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. The football game scenes in the film were shot at Heinz Field, and though this was not a sports movie per se, it certainly merits mention in this piece. The movie is already a top-15 grossing movie of all-time, and it features cameos from a number of Steeler players, as well as Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

  6. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Home of the USC Trojans

    “You had better learn how to play the game, and I don't mean just the game of football.” - Maxwell, North Dallas Forty

    There are a handful of truly storied venues in this country, and the Coliseum is one of those venues. It has earned this legendary status by hosting motorcycle jumps, football, baseball, Olympic events and the X-Games, among its many uses. It has also been the host for films and television shows for decades, starting with 1976's Disney classic Gus. Warren Beatty's turn as a Los Angeles Ram in Heaven Can Wait came along two years later, followed the next year by North Dallas Forty. The Last Boy Scout, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Escape From LA, Jerry Maguire and Money Talks also had scenes filmed here.

  7. Angel Stadium of Anaheim - Home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    “Aw, COME ON! You can't take away my TV! I GOTTA watch the game. Come on - please don't be an a--hole, all right? ” - Jimmy Dworski, Taking Care of Business

    It seems somewhat odd that a movie featuring the Angels actually took place in Dodger Stadium, but this was the case with The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, except for a few shots. The famous scenes where Reggie Jackson declared his need to kill the Queen took place in Angel Stadium, however. 1990's Taking Care of Business also featured the park, showing a highly unlikely Angels-Cubs World Series matchup. Disney's Angels in the Outfield also – unsurprisingly- had a lot of shots in Angel Stadium, and was the main sports movie to film in the facility. This story of the then-California Angels who receive a little “divine intervention” of their own used both Angel Stadium of Anaheim and o.co Coliseum in Oakland as its homes.

  8. Dedeaux Field - Home of the USC Trojans

    “There's no crying in baseball!” - Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own

    It seems hard to believe that A League of Their Own is twenty years old, but this is the reality for one of Tom Hanks' funnier vehicles. This story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League also made over $100 million in theaters, and did the baseball facility at the University of Southern California proud. This was not the only movie filmed at Dedeaux Field, however, as Tom Selleck's Mr. Baseball and Kevin Costner's For Love of the Game also made appearances at this park.

  9. Sun Life Stadium - Home of the Miami Dolphins

    “You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the [...] difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!” - Tony D'Amato, Any Given Sunday

    The current home of the Miami Dolphins – and former home of the Florida Marlins – has been the home to a number of movies, including some of Jim Carrey's silliest scenes in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The more important tenant for this piece, though, is Oliver Stone's 1999 film Any Given Sunday. This account of the fictional Miami Sharks featured many real-life NFL stars, such as Dick Butkus, Emmitt Smith, Johnny Unitas and many others. The film chronicles the inner turmoil of coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino), third-string quarterback Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) and owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) among many key storylines. The film made over $100 million at the box office, and is still quite the compelling watch over a decade after its release.

  10. M&T Bank Stadium - Home of the Baltimore Ravens

    “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever.” - Shane Falco, The Replacements

    Despite also being partially filmed in FedEx Field, 2000's The Replacements was shot in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike, this comedy starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman featured a number of hilarious characters wrapped around some pretty enjoyable football action. The story of the fictional Washington Sentinels made over $11 million in its opening week and featured an interesting appearance from Pat Summerall and John Madden, among other notable names in its cast.


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