Best Sports Movie Quotes
They say that movies are an escape. We disagree. While movies offer a couple of hours away from reality, we would much rather continue to live in them than just escape for a little while.
And what better way to perpetually jog our memories than to recall a funny line, or a poignant quote, or a heartfelt speech? Or even better, to recite them, word for word, with friends and family — or, who knows, even with complete strangers for an instant bonding experience?
Sports movies have a way of doing that. Here are the 25 greatest lines, quotes and speeches in the genre.
25. 'Glory Lasts Forever' — The Replacements
Movie: The Replacements
Quote: "I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn't be our style. Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever."
Character who said it: Shane Falco
Written by: Vince McKewin
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman
Bottom line: Keanu Reeves plays Shane Falco, an All-American quarterback from Ohio State nicknamed "Footsteps" for his penchant to get rid of the ball when the defense closes in.
Falco slowly ingratiates himself with his scab teammates, who have crossed the picket line during a players' strike, and gives that short speech in the final huddle of the final regular-season game.
24. 'I Love Brian Piccolo. And I'd Like All of You to Love Him, Too.' — Brian's Song
Movie: Brian’s Song
Quote: "I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him, too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him."
Character who said it: Gale Sayers
Written by: William Blinn
Starring: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams
Bottom line: This is an emotion-sapping, tear-jerking film that chronicles the life of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo and his friendship with teammate and fellow running back Gale Sayers, who uttered the quote.
There’s hardly a man out there who won’t claim that "it's getting dusty in here" or "I have something in my eye" while watching this movie.
23. 'White Men Can't Jump.' — White Men Can't Jump
Movie: White Men Can’t Jump
Quote: "Billy, listen to me. White men can't jump."
Character who said it: Sidney Deane
Written by: Ron Shelton
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez
Bottom line: Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson star as Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle, two street hustling basketball players who form an unlikely alliance.
Hoyle is a degenerate gambler who is on the run from two brothers after agreeing to throw a game but later reneging on the deal.
After winning a $5,000 two-on-two tournament prize with Deane, Hoyle loses his half when he bets his partner that he can dunk, failing in all three attempts.
22. 'Yo, Adrian!' — Rocky
Quote: "Yo, Adrian!"
Character who said it: Rocky Balboa
Written by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith
Bottom line: The story of a beat-up boxer who can’t even keep his locker at a run-down gym and suddenly gets a crack at the heavyweight championship as part of a bizarre Fourth of July promotion.
But the subplot is Rocky’s relationship with the shy, introverted Adrian, played by Talia Shire.
It’s a true love story.
21. 'I Don’t Play Defense.' — Space Jam
Movie: Space Jam
Quote: "I don’t play defense."
Character who said it: Bill Murray
Written by: Timothy Harris, Steve Rudnick, Herschel Weingrod, Leo Benvenuti
Starring: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Bill Murray
Bottom line: This ingenious mix of cartoon characters and real-life characters was so charming that it’s being remade as we speak.
The interesting thing about Bill Murray’s line about not playing defense, according to movie buffs, was that it continued the comedic actor’s changeover from goofy to more deadpan, as he showed in 1993’s "Groundhog Day."
20. 'Juuuuuuuust a Bit Outside.' — Major League
Movie: Major League
Quote: "Juuuuuuuust a bit outside."
Character who said it: Harry Doyle
Written by: David S. Ward
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes, Bob Uecker
Bottom line: Hard to believe that this film and "Field of Dreams" both came out within weeks of each other in the spring of 1989.
"Major League" was prescient — it followed a Cleveland Indians team gutted of its best players so the owner can move the franchise to Miami.
But Bob Uecker, who made a name for himself with Miller Lite commercials, steals the show as the oft-drunk radio announcer Harry Doyle, who mixes his honesty with biting sarcasm.
19. 'You Play Ball Like a GIRL!' — The Sandlot
Movie: The Sandlot
Quote: "You play ball like a GIRL!"
Character who said it: Ham Porter
Written by: David Mickey Evans
Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna
Bottom line: Likely politically incorrect today, but the screenplay was written more than 25 years ago, and the film itself was set in the 1960s.
Nonetheless, when pudgy catcher Hamilton Porter (Patrick Renna) utters those words to the antagonist of another, organized team — read: Little League — his fellow sandlot players are stunned.
Until, that is, the rag-tag group pummels the more formal team in a challenge game.
18. 'Will You Remember Me If I Don't [Make It]?' — Hoop Dreams
Movie: Hoop Dreams (documentary)
Quote: “People ask me, will I remember them if I make it? I tell them, will you remember me if I don't?”
Character who said it: William Gates
Written by: Steve James, Frederick Marx
Starring: William Gates, Arthur Agee
Bottom line: The winner of the 1994 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, "Hoop Dreams" followed the careers of high school basketball standouts William Gates and Arthur Agee as they try to navigate the inner city of Chicago and use their skills to move on to college.
Originally intended as a 30-minute special for PBS, producers shot five years and more than 250 hours of footage and turned it into a full-blown documentary.
17. 'Macushla.' — Million Dollar Baby
Movie: Million Dollar Baby
Character who said it: Frankie Dunn
Written by: Paul Haggis
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Bottom line: This Oscar-winning film was a star turn for Hillary Swank, who picked up a Best Actress Academy Award playing female boxer Maggie Fitzgerald.
When she convinces grizzled trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to work with her, he nicknames her "Macushla" and has it printed on her robe and trunks.
She prods him throughout the film to tell her what it means, and only at the end, when he helps her commit suicide after she is paralyzed in the ring, does he tell her it’s an old Irish saying meaning "my darling, my blood."
16. 'Wax On. Wax Off.' — The Karate Kid
Movie: The Karate Kid
Quote: "Wax on. Wax off."
Character who said it: Mr. Miyagi
Written by: Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita
Bottom line: Who would have thought that karate was such a prevalent sport in Southern California?
Not Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso, who ran into the boys from the Cobra Kai way too often before getting tutelage from the kindly Mr. Miyagi, played by Pat Morita.
Through mundane tasks like painting the fence and waxing Mr. Miyagi’s car, Daniel learns not only valuable life lessons but the foundations of karate.
15. 'Go Pick Me a Winner, Bobby.' — The Natural
Movie: The Natural
Quote: "Go pick me a winner, Bobby."
Character who said it: Roy Hobbs
Written by: Roger Towne, Phil Dusenberry
Starring: Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall, Wilford Brimley
Bottom line: Robert Redford’s mythic legend Roy Hobbs returns to play baseball more than a decade after being shot, bringing with him his homemade bat, Wonderboy.
When the bat breaks in the final game of the season on a long foul ball, Redford tells Bobby, the batboy, to pick out a new bat.
The youngster comes back with the bat the two of them made together earlier in the season, and Hobbs hits a home run with it.
14. 'Can You Live in That Moment as Best You Can ... Then You're Perfect.' — Friday Night Lights
Movie: Friday Night Lights
Quote: "Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect."
Character who said it: Coach Gary Gaines
Written by: Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Britton
Bottom line: Based on the book of the same name by Buzz Bissinger, "Friday Night Lights" is a true story that captures the drama and passion of Texas high school football.
The quote is from coach Gary Gaines, played by Billy Bob Thornton, prior to the state championship game.
Gaines had preached "being perfect" all season but made sure his players knew that meant more than just being perfect on the scoreboard.
13. 'Great Moments Are Born From Great Opportunity.' — Miracle
Quote: “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”
Character who said it: Herb Brooks
Written by: Mike Rich
Starring: Kurt Russell
Bottom line: Do you believe in miracles?
This is the backstory of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that shocked the world with a gold medal, including a heart-stopping 4-3 win over the Soviet Union in the semifinals in Lake Placid.
The film focuses mainly on coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, who must somehow galvanize and shape a bunch of college players against what is arguably the best team in the world.
12. 'There's No Crying in Baseball!' — A League of Their Own
Movie: A League of Their Own
Quote: "There's no crying! There's no crying in baseball!"
Character who said it: Jimmy Dugan
Written by: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, David Straithairn, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell
Bottom line: It's one of the most famous scenes in sports movie history.
Tom Hanks' character Jimmy Dugan, a grizzled former star baseball player who takes a job as a manager of a fledgling women’s league team during World War II just for the paycheck, slowly becomes endeared to his ballplayers.
But not before he chastises, perhaps a bit too vehemently, one of his outfielders after admonishing her for missing the cutoff man.
11. 'So I Got That Goin' for Me, Which Is Nice.' — Caddyshack
Quote: "So we finish the 18th and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.' So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
Character who said it: Carl Spackler
Written by: Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murrary
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight
Bottom line: A classic.
Rodney Dangerfield plays the interloper at a snooty golf club, led by Ted Knight. Chevy Chase plays an ambivalent member of the club who is equally at ease on both sides of the social line. But Bill Murray — a last-minute addition to the film whose lines had to be improvised — steals the movie as Carl Spackler, a weathered, ribald groundskeeper who may or may not have had one too many hits of sensimilla.
His quote about the Dalai Lama is one of those moments.
10. 'You Make Sure They Remember ...' — Remember the Titans
Movie: Remember The Titans
Quote: "You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans!"
Character who said it: Coach Bill Yoast
Written by: Gregory Allen Howard
Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton
Bottom line: The story centers around Denzel Washington’s character and is based on head football coach Herman Boone’s real-life efforts to integrate the team at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandrian, Virginia., in 1971.
Ironically, the famous quote, however, is uttered by assistant coach and defensive coordinator Bill Yoast, played by Will Patton.
9. 'I Believe in the Soul ...' — Bull Durham
Movie: Bull Durham
Quote: "Well, I believe in the soul … the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curveball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."
Character who said it: Crash Davis
Written by: Ron Shelton
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
Bottom line: This is Kevin Costner’s famous soliloquy — minus the, uh, NSFW portion between "Well, I believe in the soul" and "the small of a woman’s back."
It came early in the film when Susan Sarandon’s character was deciding which player to hook up with during the season, the aging Crash Davis played by Kevin Costner or the young, dynamic, kooky Nuke LaLoosh played by Tim Robbins.
Sarandon’s Annie Savoy is impressed by Crash’s esoteric philosophies.
8. 'I'll Make It.' — Hoosiers
Quote: "I’ll make it."
Character who said it: Jimmy Chitwood
Written by: Angelo Pizzo
Starring: Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey, Maris Valainis
Bottom line: When Gene Hackman’s coach Normal Dale starts diagramming a final play in the huddle that could win the state championship game, it does not involve star player Jimmy Chitwood (played by Maris Valainis).
The players on the Hickory High team begin to look away, almost incredulously, and the coach yells, "What’s wrong? What’s the matter with you guys?"
Chitwood looks at his coach and utters those three words.
7. 'If You Can Dodge a Wrench, You Can Dodge a Ball.' — Dodgeball
Movie: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Quote: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."
Character who said it: Patches O’Houlihan
Written by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Rip Torn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Justin Long
Bottom line: The late, great Rip Torn as dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan had an unorthodox method of coaching the famous school-yard sport. But the logic was there.
Indeed, if you can dodge a metal wrench you can evade a round rubber ball. Well, maybe.
Little-known fact: Although the wrenches used in the film were props made of hard rubber, one of them thrown by Torn hit Justin Long so hard it left a nasty cut on his left eyebrow.
6. 'Money Won Is Twice as Sweet as Money Earned.'
Movie: The Color of Money
Quote: "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."
Character who said it: Fast Eddie Felson
Written by: Richard Price
Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Bottom line: It took 25 years for producers and backers and writers to formulate a sequel to 1961’s "The Hustler," but, oh, was it glorious.
Paul Newman, playing an aging Fast Eddie Felson, imparts his wisdom on eccentric young newcomer Tom Cruise, including the money quote.
Yet Newman quickly finds that while he’s teaching and staking Cruise, the urge to play himself never left.
5. 'Win Just One for the Gipper.' — Knute Rockne, All-American
Movie: Knute Rockne, All-American
Quote: "Tell 'em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper."
Character who said it: George Gipp
Written by: Robert Buckner
Starring: Ronald Reagan, Pat O’Brien, Gale Page
Bottom line: Another quote uttered in real life.
Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne (played by Pat O’Brien) relayed this one to his team after halfback George Gipp (played by Ronald Reagan, the future president of the United States) died at a young age of a sudden illness.
Rockne, a Norwegian immigrant, helps put Notre Dame football on the map by inventing the forward pass and beating bigger, more well-known opponents.
4. 'Today, I Consider Myself the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.' — The Pride of the Yankees
Movie: The Pride Of the Yankees
Quote: "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."
Character who said it: Lou Gehrig
Written by: Jo Swerling, Casey Robinson, Vincent Lawrence, Herman J. Mankiewicz
Starring: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan, Babe Ruth
Bottom line: Lou Gehrig himself uttered those words at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, during an Appreciation Day after it was learned he had ALS.
Less than two years later, Gehrig was dead. A year later, the film starring Gary Cooper as the first baseman was released.
What makes the quote even more dramatic is the echo of each word over the public address system. Stirring, to say the least.
3. 'Show Me the Money!' — Jerry Maguire
Movie: Jerry Maguire
Quote: "Show me the money!"
Character who said it: Rod Tidwell
Written by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zelwegger
Bottom line: Probably one of several roles that Tom Cruise should have won an Academy Award for as he played a morally conflicted sports agent.
But Cuba Gooding Jr. did win one for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a cocky NFL wide receiver who decides to stick with Cruise’s Jerry Maguire even after all of his clients have left.
Gooding’s Rod Tidwell beseeches Maguire with those legendary four words: "Show me the money!"
2. 'I Coulda Been Somebody ...' — On the Waterfront
Movie: On The Waterfront
Quote: "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."
Character who said it: Terry Malloy
Written by: Budd Schulberg, Malcolm Johnson
Starring: Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb
Bottom line: The poignant, devastating speech by Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy is one of the most dramatic moments on the screen, and certainly one of its most hopeless.
A former up-and-coming boxing contender, Malloy’s career went off the rails when the local mob boss (Lee J. Cobb) forced him to take a dive.
The confession he gives to his brother Charley, who relayed the message and all but forced Terry to throw the fight, is heartbreaking.
1. 'If You Build It, He Will Come.' — Field of Dreams
Movie: Field of Dreams
Quote: "If you build it, he will come."
Character who said it: Ray Kinsella
Written by: Phil Alden Robinson
Starring: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta
Bottom line: The phrase that started it all.
Kevin Costner’s character Ray Kinsella hears the voice that eventually convinces him to plow his crops to build a baseball field, but it still remains a mystery who "he" is.
Initially, Costner and the audience think it is the troubled "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Turns out to be someone far more important to Ray.