Sport has the ability to inspire and motivate in such a profound way. So Inspirational quotes in sports movies are one of the best ways to get pumped. Most, if not, all of us have either played sport, followed a team or were moved by the prevailing of a written off underdog who defied the odds. The beauty of cinema is that we get to relieve those feelings over and over again. The best part though? It would have to be when the down times have set in and everything seems lost. That’s when we hear the most compelling speeches and inspirational quotes……and here they are!
Here Are The Top 20 Inspirational Quotes in Sports Movies
1. Jerry Maguire
The character: Dicky Fox played Jared Jussim. Jussim is not an actor but a Sony Pictures Executive
The quote: This quote has a significant impact about facing failure. It is beautifully placed after this film too, which essentially is about one man rising from the ashes.
“Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”
Movie plot: A sporting executive is cast out of his agency after writing a damning report about his profession. He is left with only one client and his faithful assistant.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Also Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger and Jerry O’Connell
The character: Nelson Mandela played by Morgan Freeman.
The quote: The poem he is reciting is known as Invictus by William Ernest Henley in a very touching scene. I love how it demonstrates the forgiveness inside of Mandela, remarkable bloke.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
Movie plot: This follows the true story of the Springboks, the name of the South African Rugby Union team, winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup (a huge deal for rugby fans). The movie goes into detail how Mandela used rugby to forge a nation after his despicable incarceration.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Also Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Eastwood
3. Any Given Sunday
The character: Tony D’Amato played by Al Pacino
The quote: This quote is part of a uplifting locker room rant said by the head coach of a professional football team after a turbulent season. He makes this inspirational speech to rally his players to finally become one whole team.
“……….Inch by inch, play by play. Until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time…….”
Movie plot: The fictitious look at the ins and outs American football seen through the eyes of key players and officials.
Director: Oliver Stone
Also Starring: Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Modine, Aaron Eckhardt, James Woods, John C. McGinley and Cameron Diaz
The character: Muhammad Ali played by Will Smith
The quote: You knew it was coming. The whole movie is a great source of inspiration so I’ve included the trailer
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”
Movie plot: The unbelievable story of Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight champion of the world who continues to inspire millions.
Director: Michael Mann
Also Starring: Jada Pinkett Smith, Jamie Foxx, John Voight, Jeffrey Wright and Joe Morton
5. The Legend of Baggar Vance
The character: Rannulph Junuh played by Matt Damon
The quote: Fantastic quote that gives me chills. Especially the last line.
“You’re daddy is out sweeping streets because he took every last dime he had, and used it to pay up every man and woman he owed and every business who worked for him, instead of declaring bankruptcy like everyone else in town, including your best friend Wilbur Charles’ dad, Raymond. Which is why he’s able to sit around all day long on his dignity. You’re daddy stared adversity in the eye, Hardy. And he beat it back with a broom.”
Movie plot: The story of talented golfer with drinking problem returned from World War I a broken man. He is thrown in the deep end when he represents his area in a local golf tournament. He is aided by his mysterious caddie, Baggar Vance.
Director: Robert Redford
Also Starring: Charlize Theron, Jack Lemmon
The character: Billy Beane played Brad Pitt
The quote: I love how this quote sums up the entire movie while also proving that the best ideas come out of adversity.
“The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game. And now we’ve been gutted. We’re like organ donors for the rich. Boston’s taken our kidneys, Yankees have taken our heart. And you guys just sit around talking the same old good body nonsense like we’re selling jeans. Like we’re looking for Fabio. We’ve got to think differently. We are the last dog at the bowl. You see what happens to the runt of the litter? He dies.”
Movie plot: The general manager of a professional baseball club loses his key players and is dissatisfied with the inequality between wealthy and poorer clubs. He takes an unconventional approach to the next season and changes baseball forever.
Director: Bennett Miller
Also Starring: Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt and Robin Wright
7. Million Dollar Baby
The character: Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris played by Morgan Freeman
The quote: So true. I know if I fail, I’ll be thinking this too.
“Maggie walked through that door with nothing buts guts. No chance in the world of being what she needed to be. It was because of you that she was fighting the championship of the world. You did that. People die everyday, Frankie – mopping floors, washing dishes and you know what their last thought is? I never got my shot. Because of you Maggie got her shot. If she dies today you know what her last thought would be? I think I did all right.”
Movie plot: An aspiring female boxer
Director: Clint Eastwood
Also Starring: Jay Baruchel, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena
The character: Niki Lauda played by Daniel Bruhl
The quote: This quote was a great and beautiful way to end a good movie. I love it when there is respect between enemies.
“…….When I heard he died age 45 of a heart attack, I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad. People always think of us as rivals but he was among the very few I liked and even fewer that I respected. He remains the only person I envied.”
Movie plot: Observe the arch-rivalry between two Formula 1 racing greats, James Hunt and Niki Lauda who back in the day captured the world with their competitiveness.
Director: Ron Howard
Also Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara
9. Remember the Titans
The character: Gerry Bertier played by Ryan Hurst
The quote: When the team has finally finished their pre-season training, they’ve finally come together. And nothing gets me going more than this scene.
“I’m too strong!!!”
Movie plot: A truly inspirational film and one of my most favorite inspirational quotes in sports movies of all time. The movie is about about a college football team in the early 70s that inspires and brings their town together when they overcome racial segregation. The team start winning through the tutelage of their new coach and staff, and by doing so, proves to the world that you can never judge a man by the color of his skin.
Director: Boaz Yakin
Also Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Hurst, Wood Harris, Ryan Gosling, Ethan Suplee, Will Patton, Kate Bosworth and Hayden Panettiere
10. The Peaceful Warrior
The character: Socrates played by Nick Nolte
The quote: This is just one of many quotes in this movie so I’ve included the trailer to arouse your curiousity.
“A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.”
Movie Plot: A young college student with Olympic aspiration in gymnastics meets an unusual man with prophetic talents. When a leg injury negates his Olympic dreams, his new friend becomes his lifeline.
Director: Victor Salva
Also Starring: Scott Mechlowicz and Amy Smart
11. The Fighter
The character: Mickey Ward played by Mark Walhberg
The quote: I have no idea why this quote resonates with me. Probably because I get sick of thinking I’m a disappointment too.
“I don’t have a girlfriend, all right? I…I like you. I came here because I don’t wanna show my face in Lowell. I told everybody I was gonna win that fight and get back on track. I told my daughter I was gonna get a bigger apartment so she could move in. You don’t think I wanted to call you? I was embarrassed. I mean, I’m sick of being a fucking disappointment. I…”
Movie Plot: An aging boxer who seems to be at the end of his career stands for one last chance at a world title. His family and personal circumstances always seem to be getting in the way.
Director: David O. Russell
Also Starring: Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams
The character: Peter Colt played by Paul Bettany
The quote: This quote makes me get up and moving because I never want to feel this way. I want my dreams to come true. He says it at the very beginning. I could have stopped the movie there and did something constructive.
“We all start off in life with a dream, don’t we? For a tennis player, it’s being in the final of a Grand Slam. Centre Court. A high lob, a smash. Game, set and match. You’re a champion. You’re number one. But for most tennis players, that’s all it ever is – a dream. The reality is another story. My story.”
Movie Plot: An English tennis player surprises his himself with the prospect of an American girlfriend (who happens to be seeded #1) and the world by his progress during the Wimbledon Grand Slam.
Director: Richard Loncraine
Also Starring: James McAvoy, Sam Neill, Jon Favreau and Kirsten Dunst
The character: Herb Brooks played by Kurt Russell
The quote: This is one of the most famous speeches ever inspired by true underdog story, gets me everytime.
“Great moments… are born from great opportunity.”
Movie Plot: Team USA verse the Soviet Union, an beatable team, in the 1980 Winter Olympics
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Also Starring: Noah Emmerich, Kenneth Welsh, Eddie Cahill and Patricia Clarkson
The character: No character
The quote: And No Quote, Just Watch
“Gonna fly now!”
Movie Plot: A boxing hopeful, Rocky, is given a chance to a fight in his hometown against a current boxing champion.
Director: John G. Avildsen
Also Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith and Talia Shire
15. Rocky Balboa
The character: Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone
The quote: This is the best speech on this list.
“Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”
Movie Plot: Rocky, now a retired boxer and restaurant owner, is challenged to once again fight. This time he is up against the current world champion, who is much younger and faster.
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Also Starring: Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Burgess Meredith (flashbacks), Talia Shire (flashbacks) and Geraldine Hughes
The character: Frank Campana played by Frank Grillo
The quote: I couldn’t imagine the determination someone would have after being told this in a UFC fight to win money. You definitely wouldn’t want to be the other guy.
“You don’t knock him out, you don’t have a home.”
Movie Plot: A UFC fight competition brings to head two estranged brothers as opponents.
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Also Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Kevin Dunn, Nick Nolte and Jennifer Morrison
The character: Fortune played by Charles S. Dutton
The quote: Sometimes you just need to be told. Sometimes you need to be put in your place and wake up to the harsh reality. I heard its always a good thing to look ahead and aim high but don’t measure how far you have to go but by how far you’ve come.
“You’re five foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”
Movie Plot: About a young man with a dream to play college football is constantly struggles as he is too small and slow.
Director: David Anspaugh
Also Starring: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, and Vince Vaughn
18. Field of Dreams
The character: The Voice (supposedly Ed Harris) in Ray Kinsella’s head (Kevin Costner)
The quote: You can interpret this quote several ways and if you haven’t see the movie the options are endless. However, as broad as it may be, you can certainly find a way in which it applies to you.
“Go the Distance”
Movie Plot: A man hears voices telling him to build a baseball pitch in his corn field in the middle of nowhere.
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Also Starring: Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones
The character: Jackie Robinson played by Chadwick Boseman
The quote: It’s not so much the words as the action. When watching this clip, it was hard to define what I felt. What about you?
“Get me up.”
Movie Plot: Details the first year of the first African American player, Jackie Robinson, to play in the Major Baseball League and the men who put him there.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Also Starring: John C. McGinley, Lucas Black, Alan Tudyk and Harrison Ford
20. Varsity Blues
The character: Jonathon “Mox” Moxon played by James Van Der Beek
The quote: This quote brings me back to my footballing heydays. You can imagine it in the locker room, can’t you? The smell of sweat and dirt mixed with the sounds of the crowd outside. Boom!!
“Before this game started, Kilmer said, ’48 minutes for the next 48 years of our lives’. I say “fuck that”. All right? Fuck that. Let’s go out there, and we play the next 24 minutes for the next 24 minutes, and we leave it all out on the field. We got the rest of our lives to be mediocre, but we have the opportunity to play like gods for the next half of football. But we can’t be afraid to lose. There’s no room for fear in this game. If we go out there and we half-ass it because we’re scared. We’re always going to wonder. But we go out there and give it absolutely everything, that’s heroic. Let’s be heroes.”
Movie Plot: The story of a group of high school senior football players face the immense pressures of their town and coach to win the state championship.
Director: Brian Robbins
Also Starring: Paul Walker, Scott Caan, Jon Voight and Amy Smart
These are my top 20 and all I have to do for a bit of encouragement is read, listen or watch these speeches/lines. Inspirational quotes in sports movies are one of the best ways to get pumped. You can relate to them because they’re going through tough times and when you listen to them so are you.
What did you think? Have I missed any? Comment below.
Thanks for reading. MCM’s Rohan.
Featured Image photo credit: USA vs Norway – Mens Hockey – Canada Hockey Place – Vancouver British Columbia via photopin (license)