With NCAA March Madness right around the corner, now is the perfect time to get ready for all of the excitement and drama of the college basketball tournament. We’ve prepared our own list of the Elite Eight basketball movies that you can watch now on streaming services.
Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2001, Hoosiers is loosely based and inspired by the true story of the 1954 Indiana state champions, Milan High School. Gene Hackman is joined by co-stars Barbara Hershey, and Dennis Hopper, with Hopper receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson team up in a sports comedy-drama about two street hustlers who unite to double their chance of winning a street basketball tournament. Writer and director Ron Shelton created a film that has been a cultural phenomenon that inspired Jeopardy categories, Nike shoes, video games, and basketball leagues.
Teen Wolf (1985)
Michael J. Fox stars in this coming-of-age romantic fantasy comedy about a high school basketball player whose life transforms from ordinary to extraordinary when he turns into a werewolf. The film inspired a sequel, an animated series, and a loosely based MTV series that ran for 6 seasons.
The Sixth Man (1997)
Unlike most films on this list, The Sixth Man features real NCAA schools with fictitious rosters. When University of Washington superstar Antoine Tyler (Kadeem Hardison) unexpectedly has a heart attack, his younger brother Kenny Tyler (Marlon Wayans) has to step up to lead the team through the rest of the season on the road to a national title. Antoine passes away; however, he comes back as a ghost to help his younger brother in this Randall Miller-directed sports comedy.
He Got Game (1998)
Perfect for March Madness, Denzel Washington and Ray Allen shine in this basketball drama written and directed by Spike Lee. Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington) is imprisoned for killing his wife and gets one week of parole to convince his son (Allen), a 5-star recruit, to play for the governor’s alma mater for clemency.
Air Bud (1997)
Three takeaways from Air Bud, basketball isn’t just for humans, you can teach an old dog new tricks, and a circus-dog can launch a franchise. Air Bud is a sports comedy about a dog that joins a high school basketball team. Real-life crossbred Golden Retriever Buddy became the most notable dog star since Lassie Jr. in Lassie.
Space Jam (1996)
“Everybody get up it’s time to slam now, we got a real jam goin’ down, welcome to the Space Jam,” like the lyrics from the titular song, Space Jam was a slam dunk at the box office. The live-action/animated sports comedy is a fictionalized version of what happened when NBA superstar Michael Jordan retired in ‘93 before coming back in ‘95. MJ is joined by Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Looney Toons, Bill Murray, and a plethora of ‘90s NBA stars, including Charles Barkley, Mugsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and more. The film was praised due to its technical achievements and a sequel titled Space Jam: A New Legacy starring LeBron James will be released later this year on HBO Max.
Uncut Gems (2019)
When directors the Safdie Brothers work with Adam Sandler in a crime thriller about basketball, gambling, a rare gem, and future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, the final product is a critically-acclaimed film that was snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. On a $19 million budget, Uncut Gems grossed $50 million at the box office and was A24’s highest-grossing film domestically.
You can check out our full guide on how to watch this year’s Men’s and Women’s college basketball tournament during March Madness here.
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