24. Slap Shot (1977)
Key players: George Roy Hill, Nancy Dowd, Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, David Hanson
Why it's great: Hockey, in its purest form, isn't a civilized game and Nancy Dowd's gleefully profane screenplay for "Slap Shot" brought the language of the minor league hockey locker room into the movie theater. Beyond its colorful prose, "Slap Shot" is about pure anarchy, focusing on a rarely better Paul Newman as the player-coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, who go from perennial losers to underdog heroes thanks in large part to three dimwitted brothers and a lot of fighting. With its concentration of drinking, screwing, swearing and brawling, "Slap Shot" is sometimes forgotten when folks list the all-time best sports films, but only by people who don't actually watch or like sports films. "Slap Shot" wasn't a huge hit, but $28 million back in 1977 was pretty good.
- Daniel Fienberg