Monday Inspiration Strikes….Movie Montage Style

For those of you sitting in your cubicle, forklift, office, tank, or crane, Monday is not a happy day.  It’s that dreaded morning where one realizes the weekend of upcoming excess is still 5 days away, and you are still reeling (and reeking) from the previous one.  Motivation is lower than Jim Thome’s batting average.  Lucky for you, old Steelhead has dug up some of cinema’s best sports montages to help everyone muster the guts to get out there and change the world.  Tomorrow of course…..

In my eyes, a sports montage follows a simple formula of ingredients, that was perfected in the 80’s:

1. A song, usually of the cheesy yet kick ass persuasion, is played

2. There is little or no dialogue

3. The movie’s hero/underdog is either training, or showing off the skills earned from training earlier in the movie

Some of my favorites include:

Vision Quest, 1985

Louden Swain, a high school wrestler, cuts a considerable amount of weight to take on the state’s most feared grappler, simply known as “Shute.”  Despite everyone telling Swain he is retarded for even attempting such a heroic feat, he perseveres and makes weight.  The movie follows typical 80’s sports flick protocol.  Swain trains, gets laid in the process, and wins the girl and match in the end.  Payoff: 5:54 into clip (Swain does the impossible)


Bloodsport, 1988

This movie reminds us of the magical time when Jean Claude Van Damme was actually considered a badass and not an alcoholic ballerina who beats women.  The best montage in the movie takes place at the very beginning, and displays the physical prowess of all the fighters brave enough to enter the “Kumate,” which is apparently Cantonese for “extremely violent and bloody deathmatch between oiled up men.”  Payoff: 0:55 into clip (God I loved “Monkey Man” in this movie)

Rocky IV, 1985

Obviously each Rocky movie contains approximately one hour and 20 minutes of training montages, but my personal favorite is the one in part four, when Rock goes old-school and trains like our grandfathers did….drunk. Payoff: Whole freakin’ clip (it’s Rocky!!!)

Rudy, 1993

Like Rocky, this movie doesn’t need much introduction.  Rudy is a blue-collar kid humping a dead-end job in a steeltown, and later has the gall to try out for Notre Dame’s football team.  Hilarium ensues (mostly because Rudy is played by “Mikey” from Goonies), but also one of the greatest montages in sports movie history.  Payoff: 2:25 into clip (Rudy is greeted by an Irish left tackle)

Teen Wolf, 1985

If you haven’t noticed that 1985 was the greatest calendar year of all time, then perhaps you should.  Montages were king, and so were the Monsters of the Midway.  Teen Wolf delivers a memorable one during the final game, and anytime a basketball team consists of a sub 5′ 5″ Michael J Fox AND a plus 400 lb. “Francis” from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, you can’t help but root for the guys.  Payoff: 2:03 (When villain “Mick” non-chalantly clotheslines Fox. Very reminiscent of McHale clobbering Rambis)

Chariots of Fire, 1981

I don’t even know if this is a sports movie, I fall asleep after the opening montage every time.  Regardless, this scene is uber-famous, and definitely inspires me…….to run on a beach wearing the same full body swimsuit Napoleon did in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  Payoff: 0:31 (One guy seems a little “too excited”)

Karate Kid, 1984

This movie contains the alpha dog of all sports montages.  It truly is “the best around.”  The scrappy Jersey kid Daniel Larusso takes on the entire feathered hair Cobra Kai in the All-Valley Karate Tournament, and dominates.  Like Vision Quest, he wins and gets the girl in the end.  I won’t go too much into this one since a much more famous individual (think Boston) has covered about every base imaginable with this movie already. Payoff: 1:13 (When “Fidel” shatters the fat Cobra Kai kid’s ribs with a roundhouse)

Now get out there, kick the most popular guy in school’s ass, and steal the girl…..


  1. Comment by John on June 17, 2008 9:11 am

    How could you have an homage to montages without the South Park Assssspen montage???

  2. Comment by Marc on June 17, 2008 10:05 am

    The montage from Stallone’s movie Over the Top (Rocky but in the rough and tumble world of arm-wrestling) was quite over the top, but fits in well here.

  3. Comment by Thomas on June 17, 2008 10:16 am

    How can you not have the “There’s No Easy Way Out” montage that starts after Adrian screams “You can’t win” and Rocky gets in his badass car and drives around town? Also from Rocky IV

  4. Comment by ian on June 17, 2008 12:05 pm

    How about “The Program?” the welcome to the jungle montage, with the end it showing a juiced up lattermer pressind 315lbs over his head!!! bad ass!!

  5. Comment by Matt on June 17, 2008 12:24 pm

    What? no Hearts on Fire? You gotta be kidding me!! Tha is by far the best of the 3 montages in RockyIV. Rocky 3 getting ready for Mr.T isnt that bad…..and just in case we fogot the glory of the sports montage, the last Rocky wasnt so bad either.

  6. Comment by Craig on June 17, 2008 3:30 pm

    Any John Cusack movie from the 80’s.

  7. Comment by stlJoe on June 17, 2008 6:27 pm

    Not Boston (in Karate Kid)- its Chicago…Peter Cetera actually

  8. Comment by NY Fan on June 17, 2008 9:09 pm

    C’mon, what about the famous “Playin With The Boys” volleyball montage from Top Gun? An 80’s classic! And the song “Playin With The Boys” (Kenny Loggins, I believe) was also used in another 80’s montage, but I cant recall which. May have been “Side Out”. A montage double dip!!

  9. Comment by NY Fan on June 17, 2008 9:11 pm

    And Karate Kid montage should get extra credot for having a song named after it 20 years later (“Sweep the Leg Johnny” by No More Kings).

  10. Pingback by I Miss the 80’s « The Struggling Writer on June 18, 2008 6:02 am

    […] I leave you with a few YouTube clips. There was this post yesterday about the favorite sports movies montages. You know, where they show some clips set to music. Anyhow, two of my favorites of all time were on […]

  11. Comment by DiaperDandy on June 18, 2008 2:32 pm

    With the exception of the Detroit Pistons, I don’t hate any team in any sport more than Notre Dame football.
    That said, the music and ridiculous Pop Warner level-drills (see: “Monkey Drill” at the 2:00 point) make the “Rudy” montage spectacular.
    I can almost see Charlie Weiss giving the pep-talk that the D-Coordiantor from the movie gives and then at the end saying “ALRIGHT!!! You guys hit those ropes and I’m gonna go sit on my fat ass and drink Gatorade until I go into a diabetic coma!!! Got to find some way to avoid the ridicule of another 3-9 season.”

  12. Comment by Gordo on June 18, 2008 2:59 pm

    you left out a phenomenal Hoosiers montage too…w/ the same music as the Rudy montage. another member of the vaunted double-montage-dip club

  13. Comment by Steelhead on June 18, 2008 4:49 pm

    Glaring omissions include:
    Hoosiers (one of my faves)
    The Program
    Over the Top

    Great input, and thanks for commenting. Joe, I was talking about a sports writer from Boston in the Karate Kid piece, not the band. Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” was featured in Karate Kid II. Classic.

    Diaper, I have a feeling you come here just to piss me off…….


  14. Pingback by Movie Villains that will make you hate the actor in real life | Four Horsemen Tattoo - Confessions of a Sports Fanatic on June 23, 2009 4:42 pm

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