August 5, 2010 4:00 PM ET
Kenny Loggins may not have understood you, Mr. Gopher, but the rest of the sports world loved you from the start.
"Caddyshack," the only golf comedy starring Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and a Kenny Loggins-loving mechanical gopher, was released in theaters 30 years ago last week and golf movies have never been the same. While the sequel, "Caddyshack 2" never quite delivered (Dan Aykroyd with a crossbow should have been a flag on the play), the 1980 original opened up a decade that would prove to be a golden age for sports movies. Here's our list of the best, year-by-year:
1980 - "Raging Bull" Robert De Niro packed on a dramatic amount of weight to play the role of Jake LaMotta but what made the movie truly groundbreaking was Scorsese's decision to put the camera in the middle of the ring, placing his audience in the middle of the action. Runner-up: The aforementioned "Caddyshack"
1981 - "Chariots of Fire" Slow motion race scenes will never be the same. Runner up: "Victory"
1982 - "Tron" Jeff Bridges' best role outside of "The Big Lebowski?" We'll single it out for its deadly upgrades of Jai-alai, ultimate frisbee and motocross racing. Either way, we can't wait for the remake. Runner up: "Rocky III"
1983 - "All the Right Moves" In a small, down on its luck company town Tom Cruise is a young, down on his luck high-school defensive back who just wants to earn his former coach's respect and go to college. But none of it would have happened if Ampipe High had just taken a knee in their big game against Walnut Heights. This led directly to the creation of "Top Gun," which is the greatest volleyball movie of all time. Runner-up: "BMX Bandits"
1984 - "The Natural" Roy Hobbs and "Wonder Boy" have seen plenty of imitators since this '84 classic. And while kids of every generation dream of hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 7 of the World Series, kids in the eighties dreamed of doing that the same thing, except with exploding lights. 1984 Runner up: "The Karate Kid"
1985 - "Rocky IV" The fourth Rocky installment belongs on this list for its creation of quotable lines alone. The all-business, no-nonsense Ivan Drago is not one for expanding on the transcendental nature of sport. But hey, English was his second language. Plus, it has the best old school vs. new school training montage of all time. Runner-up: "Teen Wolf"
1986 - "Wildcats" The only film to star Goldie Hawn, LL Cool J, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, although Snipes and Harrelson later appeared in "White Men Can't Jump," a topic for sportscenter.com's alltime movie list of the nineties. Runner-up "Hoosiers"
1987 - "Over the Top" We don't care what anyone says, arm wrestling is a sport, particularly when the villain looks just like Kevin Youkilis. Runner-up: "The Running Man"
1988 - "Bull Durham" One of those rare baseball movies that doesn't have anything to do with "The Show," but rather has everything to do with making "The Show." 1988 Runner up: "Bloodsport"
1989 - "Gleaming the Cube" Before Christian Slater was pumping up the volume he was skating with Tony Hawk, Mark Gonzalez and Lance Mountain. It may not have the emotional punch of playing catch with your dad, but those were some sick moves. Runner up: "Field of Dreams"