This list couldn't have been compiled 40 years ago. Well, it could have, but it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting to read. With a few notable exceptions, Hollywood didn't take sports movies terribly seriously until sports began to take on a more significant role in American society, roughly within the past 40 years. Ever tried to watch Anthony Perkins, an actor without an athletic bone in his body, pretend to adopt a batter's stance in the 1957 baseball film Fear Strikes Out? It's an embarrassment. The 12 movies on this list, all made since 1969, are credible, compelling examinations of the nature of competition, easy choices for a list like this. The hard part was deciding what 12 (or 24) other sports films to leave out, and determining the rankings, which we decided to list in chronological order.