'Varsity Blues' turns 20: The 25 best football movies of all time, ranked

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The classic sports movie “Rudy” is returning to theaters across the nation, 25 years after its original release.
USA TODAY

In West Canaan, Texas, football is king. The pigskin’s pretty big in Hollywood, too.

The best of all sports-movie subgenres, football films have given us great characters – real and fictional – and a bunch of awesome cinematic moments in everything from screwball comedies to real-life narratives.

“Varsity Blues,” in which James Van Der Beek quarterbacked the feisty West Canaan Coyotes, turns 20 Tuesday. And in honor of the anniversary, we’re ranking the 25 best football movies of all time. (Sorry, “Brian’s Song” fans: We’re only counting theatrical releases, not made-for-TV weepers.)

25. ‘Leatherheads’ (2008)

Square-jawed team captain (George Clooney) recruits a talented World War I hero (John Krasinski) to be the 1920s-era Duluth Bulldogs’ saving grace, but they both fall for the same newspaper reporter (Renee Zellweger). Like a not-as-good “Bull Durham” with more mud…

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