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Let’s Go Girls: The Best Women-Led Sports Movies

Women’s participation in organized sports has come a long way since Title IX. Female athletes are getting named as GOAT (hello, Serena Williams) and for the first time ever the NCAA D1 women’s basketball final will air on broadcast television in 2023. Let’s keep this girl power vibe going and check out some of our favorite sports movies starring women.

‘Million Dollar Baby’

The multi-Oscar winning film Million Dollar Baby stars Hilary Swank as a boxer with no training and all heart who’s determined to make it as a pro. Her background, age and lack of training all serve as setbacks which the curmudgeon old trainer played by Clint Eastwood points out. He snarls at her “I don’t train girls” when she seeks his help but her persistence eventually breaks down his cold exterior. As their relationship grows and Swank’s character proves herself, her career takes off. This film is more than a woman who does whatever it takes to make it in a male dominated sport, it tells a relatable story about father figures. We are reminded that friends and mentors can help us achieve our dreams while turning into the family we’ve always wanted. Get the tissues ready for this tear jerker. 

‘Love and Basketball’

Arguably the best sports (and love) films of the early aughts. Love and Basketball is about, you guessed it, love and basketball. The story is told through four quarters (we love the reference) following actress Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps’ characters from childhood enemies to high school sweethearts playing basketball and talking about their hopes and dreams of going pro. Reality sets in when they both get accepted to USC to play ball and life moving forward begins to jeopardize their relationship. They lose each other to (wait for it) find each other again. Not only is this film seen through mostly the woman’s point of view but it shows girls can play ball better than boys. Twenty years later and this film can be called a classic and not just a hit: 

‘A League of their Own’

The best baseball movie…EVER? YES. This fictionalized story based on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) takes place in 1943. Sisters played by Lori Petty and Geena Davis are recruited to play in the first professional women’s baseball league. The washed up team coach is played by the icon Tom Hanks. Hanks knocks it out of the park, pun intended, with his performance delivering one of the most quoted lines in movie history, “there’s no crying in baseball!”. There is talk of potentially closing the league until the ladies step up their game and start reeling in the fans and filling up the seats. The two sisters get split between teams causing sibling and professional rivalry. Tension grows until both teams play each other in the World Series. See who comes out victorious and watch A League of their Own now. 

Sideline reporter, Jenny Taft, sat down at the DIRECTV studio and told us why she (and her mom) also love this heartwarming movie.

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