The 9 Best Women's Sports Movies In Honor of The Mighty Macs

This weekend, Carla Gugino and Ellen Burstyn storm the multiplex with The Mighty Macs, an inspiring action drama about how women's basketball coach Cathy Rush (Gugino) trained a small Catholic college team to unlikely victory in the '70s. In celebration of this upcoming show of cinematic she-sportsmanship, Movieline has compiled (what we consider to be) the nine best women's sports movies.

National Velvet (1944)

Director: Clarence Brown

Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Donald Crisp

Sport: Horse racing

Why It Is Awesome: A 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor stars as Velvet Brown, a spunky tomboy who comes into possession of an equally vivacious horse, Pie, and trains him for the Grand National steeplechase with the help of a hired hand, Mi (Mickey Rooney). After an unexpected turn of events, Velvet takes the place of her jockey and wins the race to the delight of the public who declares her a national treasure. Although Taylor's star-making film isn't as high-impact as the other sports films on its list, it features a fearless female willing to risk injury and exhaustion for victory for her precious Pie.

Ice Castles (1978)

Director: Donald Wrye

Stars: Lynn-Holly Johnson, Robby Benson and Colleen Dewhurst

Sport: Figure skating

Why It Is Awesome: Scoff all you want but if you can't be inspired by a beautiful, figure-skating heroine who must re-learn her passion after losing eyesight -- only to perform a flawless program thanks to the support of her loved ones -- then, I don't know what to do. Other than to say that a packed arena will probably never stomp their feet in unison to get you on the ice so that they can adoringly hurl flowers at you.

A League of Their Own (1992)

Director: Penny Marshall

Stars: Geena Davis, Lori Petty and Tom Hanks

Sport: Baseball

Why It Is Awesome: Comedy, drama, sibling tension, Tom Hanks playing an alcoholic, historical significance, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell in a skirt -- this charming Penny Marshall feature about the All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League has it all. Even though we care more about spirit and fortitude on this list than actual "wins," it's worth noting that A League of Their Own is the most successful movie ranked here, having grossed over $130 million worldwide.

Pages: 1 2 3


  • Martini Shark says:

    Um, no "Debbie Does Dallas"?! You have a cheerleading movie selected, so that cannot be the reason it wasn't selected. . .

  • The Cantankerist says:

    "Million Dollar Baby"? PAH! PAH, I say! Not a great women's sports movie so much as a middling telemovie-in-waiting. I swear, I just don't understand the roses hurled at the feet of Eastwood for his latterday directorial career. Is there really such a hokum shortage?

  • John says:

    Why does Movieline have a Top 10 list in honor of "The Mighty Macs" when it hasn't even reviewed the actual film yet? It was released a week ago!

  • We don't review everything. Some films get the feature treatment, others we are just spread too thin to cover at all.