After reading Hannah Goodwyn’s article “Memorable Movies about Dads”, I decided to take a look at three great father-and-son sports films. With Father’s Day just around the corner, let us know what your favorite sports/dad movies are.
Hoosiers – This 1986 classic about small town high school basketball team in Indiana tells the story of a hardnosed coach and his team of underdogs. But it’s the subplot involving Dennis Hopper as the alcoholic father looking for redemption that highlights the way sports can unite fathers and sons—despite our flaws.
Though Gene Hackman’s Coach Norman Dale is the star of Hoosiers, it’s Hopper’s “Shooter” who steals every scene he’s in. Though not everyone can relate to his portrayal of a dad crippled by addiction, Hopper’s raw passion for his son and the game basketball show that love is greater than any flaw.
Rudy – Rudy, the true story of an undersized, working-class kid who walks on to the Norte Dame football team, is more about dreams than it is about football. Rudy Ruettiger, whose deep love for the Fighting Irish was passed down from his father, is told by everyone (including his steel mill-employed father) that despite his passion for the team, he’s not Norte Dame material. “Ruettigers don't belong at college," his hard working father tells him.
But after enrolling in a small junior college and taking a job as a groundskeeper for Norte Dame, he works his way into the school and eventually walks onto the team. Rudy isn’t just proving to himself that dreams are possible, but also to his dad. In one of the film’s most unforgettable scenes, Rudy’s father gets on the loudspeaker to announce to the entire mill, “Hey, you guys, my son's going to Notre Dame!"
Rudy is not just a great sports movie; it’s also a great story about the pride and inspiration of watching a loved-one achieve success.
Field of Dreams – With its mix of sci-fi supernatural, baseball history and small town charm, Field of Dreams is a sports classic. But while its genre blending may serve for some interesting plot twists, Field of Dreams is really an allegory for connecting with your father. Though Ray (played by Kevin Costner) resented his father and feared inheriting his stoic nature, the build up of the movie helps Ray understand why his dad was the way he was.
In another unforgettable scene, the movie closes with Ray playing catch with his dad, on the field he spent years creating.