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  • Writer's pictureEric Moreno

The Top 10 Sports Movies Filmed in Texas

Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes


Since the dawn of the motion picture industry, film makers have found their way to Texas to create their silver screen magic. The very first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Wings, was filmed in Texas. Westerns, comedies, romances, and sci-fi have all been made within the confines of the Lone Star State. However, perhaps no other genre has lent itself so well to being filmed in Texas than the sports film.


While football has been the subject most visited in the state, virtually every sport has been filmed in Texas. To be fair, not all have been great, and thanks to the trusted ranking scores of Rotten Tomatoes, I’m able to come up with a definitive list (although I strongly disagree with the rankings for Necessary Roughness and Varsity Blues, which sit at 35% and 45%, respectively).


With that in mind, here are the top 10 highest rated sports movies filmed in Texas – from lowest-rated to highest – according to Rotten Tomatoes. Grab your popcorn and enjoy! (Viewer discretion is advised.)


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Michael Pressman

Starring: William Devane, Jackie Earle Haley, Chris Barnes, Jimmy Baio, Alfred W. Lutter


The first sequel in the Bad News Bears franchise sees (most of) the gang back together, scheming their way across the country in order to play the Texas little league champions in the fabled Houston Astrodome.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: James Gartner

Starring: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight, Mehcad Brooks, Austin Nichols


Based on the inspiring true story of the 1966 Texas Western College Miners team that won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with an all-African American starting lineup, Glory Road would win the 2006 ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Ty Roberts

Starring: Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Vinessa Shaw, Jake Austin Walker


Another “based on a true story” film chronicles the legendary football team from the Masonic School for Orphans in Fort Worth, TX. The Mighty Mites captured the imagination of the country during the Great Depression for their spirit and resilience. I personally recommend it, along with the book that serves as its basis.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Ron Shelton

Starring: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Rex Linn


This cult classic comes from the director of Bull Durham and White Men Can’t Jump. It finds West Texas driving range pro Kevin Costner battling his inner demons, navigating a love triangle, and living every golfer’s dream as he unexpectedly finds himself at the top of the U.S. Open leader board.

Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Jay Hernandez, Tim McGraw


Arguably no other work has done more to enrich the lore and mystique of high school football in Texas than Buzz Bissinger’s book on which this movie and the subsequent TV show are based. For those who don’t know, the film chronicles a season of the legendary Permian High School Panthers and the town of Odessa. This film also won the ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Brian Cox, Angus T. Jones


The best sports movies are always those based on true stories. However, the story of former big league pitcher Jim Morris’s rise from Texas high school science teacher to the Major Leagues seems like pure fantasy – even though it isn’t; this film is the very definition of a feel good movie.

Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Starring: Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, John Matuzak, Bo Svenson


No movie did more to pull back the curtain on the inner workings of professional football than this one. Based on former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Peter Gent’s best-selling book, this is arguably the best football movie, and treated the sport with a realism that has rarely, if ever, been matched.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman


This movie has been called the spiritual successor to native Texan Linklater’s seminal Dazed and Confused, and film carries with it a lot of the same themes, albeit with a college baseball spin. Set in Texas in the fall of 1980, the movie is a true slice of nostalgia wrapped up in a college movie.


Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Sean Durkin

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Lily James, Holt McCallany


Full disclosure, this was hands down my favorite movie of the year last year; it brought back a ton of good and bad memories. Chronicling the ill-fated rise and fall of the legendary Von Erich wrestling family, I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla De La Rosa, Joaquin Cosio, Bad Bunny


I was pleasantly surprised to find this movie made the top spot on this list. The biographical tale of one of lucha libre’s top exóticos has proven to be a hit with both critics and fans. The movie explores identity and pride, while giving a look inside the world of Mexico’s beloved pastime. As a bonus, one of the all-time great masked wrestlers appears as himself.


Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.

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