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It's Super Bowl week, which can only mean one thing: It's time to debate the greatest football movie of all time (OK, at least that's what it means around the Moviefone office).

From the classic hall of famers ('Knute Rockne') to recently championed contenders ('The Blind Side'), we rank the 15 greatest films set on or around the gridiron.


15. 'Everybody's All American' (1988)
Football movie pro bowler Dennis Quaid (see also 'Any Given Sunday' and 'The Express') gives a dynamic performance as Gavin "The Ghost" Grey in this underrated drama that spans 25 years of the quarterback's life, from college stud to broke ex-pro. While most football flicks focus on one season at least, one career at most, 'All American' portrays the rarely seen whole picture.

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14. 'The Program' (1993)
Providing a nice counterpoint to fellow '93 football flick 'Rudy,' 'The Program' chronicles the pitfalls inherent in college pigskin -- alcoholism, steroid abuse, academic apathy, bribery and the crushing pressure to perform. The film's flawed antiheroes are entertaining as hell, and it'll be forever remembered for bad-boy quarterback Joe Cane's call to arms: "Let's put the women and children to bed and go looking for f***ing dinner, boys!"

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13. 'We Are Marshall' (2006)
A tear-jerker based on the true story of the aftermath of a 1970 plane wreck that wiped out almost the entire varsity football team and coaches of West Virginia's Marshall University. Matthew McConaughey stars as the man brought in to rebuild the team, and Matthew Fox is one of the survivors, an assistant coach who can barely live with the guilt of giving up his seat on the plane.

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12. 'The Blind Side' (2009)
This newly minted Best Picture Oscar contender delivers a winning combination of heartwarming family drama and exhilarating gridiron action. In telling the true story of Baltimore Ravens OT Michael Oher, it also scores extra points for being the best football film yet with a female lead (sorry, 'Wildcats') and for finally giving the unheralded offensive lineman his Hollywood due.

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11. 'Knute Rockne All American' (1940)
Ronald Reagan wasn't the star of this biopic about Notre Dame's legendary head coach; that role was superbly played by Pat O'Brien. But Reagan's the one most people remember as star athlete George Gipp, whose deathbed plea for Rockne to "win just one for the Gipper" resonated not only in the movie, but also 40 years later, when Reagan ran successfully for president. Its most famous speech and alumnus aside, 'Rockne' remains one of the most inspirational sports bios ever made.

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10. 'Jerry Maguire' (1996)
Some might argue that this is less a sports movie than a movie about a sports agent. But when Jerry (Tom Cruise) loses all his clients except for head-case wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), then 'Maguire' becomes about the way football really works: the egos, the deals, the desperation, and yes, the game-saving plays. Used to be, the only element that reeked of fiction was the prospect that the Cardinals could be Super Bowl contenders ... well, until now, of course.

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9. 'Heaven Can Wait' (1978)
Warren Beatty stars as an L.A. Rams quarterback set to lead his team to the Super Bowl when he's almost killed in an accident. An overzealous angel prematurely snatches him from his body then has to put him in the body of a murdered mogul when his original bod is cremated. He's still got the soul of a handsome QB, though, so his love of the game is intact; he buys the Rams and romances Julie Christie, but his abiding affection is for the pigskin.

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8. 'All the Right Moves' (1983)
Thirteen years before becoming the world's most beloved sports agent -- and two months before making a sport out of dancing around in tightie whities -- a young Tom Cruise appeared in his first athletic outing, playing a high school DB with college football dreams in Steel Town, Penn. Also appearing as Cruise's adversary and coach is Craig T. Nelson, who parlayed the role into a nice nine-year tenure on TV as, well, 'Coach.'

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7. 'North Dallas Forty' (1979)
Nick Nolte stars in this dramedy as an aging wide receiver on the fictional North Dallas Bulls who's extending his career with the help of booze and painkillers. Based on a semi-autobiographical book by a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, the movie exposes the debauched, hard-partying, celebrity-centric culture of '70s-era pro football. Which, of course, bears no resemblance to today's pro ball. Right?

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6. 'Friday Night Lights' (2004)
Based on the best-selling book, this look at the heightened role of high school football in a small town is as depressing as the local economy of its setting, Odessa, Tex. It's no wonder Coach Gaines' (Billy Bob Thornton) boys feel the weight of the world on their shoulder pads, but it's pure wonder when they make it to the state semifinals. Tim McGraw surprises with a nuanced portrayal of an abusive dad living out his own gridiron dreams through his son.

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5. 'Any Given Sunday' (1999)
Once you get over the phony pro uniforms and logos (the Miami Sharks look like they'd fit right in ... in the Arena Football League), Oliver Stone's football drama is one of the most realistic portrayals of the modern NFL ever made. It focuses on a constant clash of egos, from the billionaire owner to the multimillionaire stars to the lowly millionaire head coach. Of course, most coaches only dream they could deliver a pep talk like Al Pacino's famous "game of inches" speech.

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4. 'The Longest Yard' (1974)
The original down-and-dirty convicts-playing-football flick stars Burt Reynolds as Paul "Wrecking" Crewe, a former pro QB sent to prison for "stealing" his girlfriend's sports car. The crooked warden cuts a deal for him to head up a ragtag band of fellow inmates in a fixed game against the guards. But along the way, the prisoners gain self esteem, learn to work together ... and leverage their new skills to serve up a beating on their rivals. Go, team.

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3. 'Brian's Song' (1971)
Who says football flicks have to be all TDs and tackles? Football players have feelings, you know. The true story of Chicago Bears rookies Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) is moving enough as they go from rivals to best buds. But when Sayers has to nurse his friend through cancer, even the toughest guy in the room has to reach for the tissues. Guys, it's OK. Women have chick flicks ... men have 'Brian's Song.'

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2. 'Rudy' (1993)
Before he was a hobbit, Sean Astin stole moviegoers' hearts as Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a real-life steel-mill worker who was 5-foot nothin', 100 and nothin', with barely a speck of athletic ability -- and defied the odds to make it into Notre Dame and score a spot on the football team's practice squad. The soundtrack is iconic, Astin's performance top-notch and the story one of the greatest underdog tales ever told.

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1. 'Remember the Titans' (2000)
Denzel Washington scores as a high school coach leading the charge to integrate his team in this based-on-reality story of a Virginia squad in 1971. The newly desegregated group is reluctant (to put it mildly) to work together at first, but once they're forced to get to know each other, all but the most pigheaded realize that winning -- and being a team -- is truly color blind.

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