Sports Stars Who Have Found Success in Movies

john cena

The movie business and the world of professional sports have created close and long-lasting friendships over the years. Many of Hollywood's biggest stars have played sports stars and did their legacy and reputation justice. 

In the movie Raging Bull, Robert De Niro's portrayal of 'The Bronx Bull,' Jake La Motta, is the finest example. Filmed entirely in black and white, it's a gripping story of Jake's life which is far more chaotic outside the ropes.

De Niro isn't the only movie star to use his acting talents to introduce the audience to an athlete with an inspiring, emotional, or sorry tale to tell. From rags-to-riches and back again, overcoming a life-threatening injury, gambling huge sums at the roulette wheel, or on sports at firms like mybookie, Tinseltown has covered them all, and this year will bring more.

It Works Both Ways

Many of the most famous names from professional sports have moved into acting following their retirement from the field of play. Some have enjoyed more success than others. But there are some hugely talented sports players turned stars of the big screen.

Who is the most successful former athlete to appear in movies? There are several claims on that throne; unfortunately, it's a question without a definite answer. It's a case of what you like the most. Below, you'll find some of our favorite sports people who have worked or are now working in movies. 

Which name gets your vote, or do we miss someone and want to suggest an addition to the list? We're all ears and would be happy for you to send us suggestions or your comments on our article.

Dwayne Johnson

Better known as 'The Rock,' Dwayne Johnson is appreciated for his role in major movies, including Jumanji. His acting skills are on par with his previous employment as a professional wrestler in WWF, now known as WWE. 

A generation of movie-goers only know Dwayne as an actor, and that's a testament to his hard work and dedication to succeed in Hollywood. His big movie break came playing the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. The success of that movie led him to retire from wrestling in 2004 and become a full-time actor.

John Cena
We continue the professional wrestling theme with John Cena, who signed WWF in 2001 following a successful but short stint competing in Ultimate Pro Wrestling.

Cena is a man who pushes himself to the limit, unhappy unless he's pushing the boundaries and reaching his potential. He had experience in movies before but didn't blast onto the big stage until around 2010 when work started coming in thick and fast. He appeared in Blockers, Daddy's Home, and Bumblebee.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
When discussing sports stars turned actors, they don't get any bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even if you aren't a fan of his action movies, such as Terminator and Terminator 2, you've got to admire the man.

Due to his incredible work ethic, Arnie has enjoyed so much success over the years. From Mr. Universe to a world-famous actor and now successful in politics, he had the Midas touch. 

Where Schwarzenegger goes next is anyone's guess. President of the United States? If he wants it bad enough, we see no reason why not.

Terry Crews
One of our favorites is Terry Crews. He is equally strong and driven as the other names on the list, but they can't match him for comedy value. Anyone who has seen the movie White Chicks will know what we're talking about. Few other actors could have played his role as well as he did.

Crews spent several seasons playing in the NFL for several teams as a linebacker. He was active between 1991 and 1997 before falling out of love with the sport and retiring. Terry's big break came in the movie, The 6th Day, which paved the way for success.

Jean-Claude Van Damme
He's one of the originals, with Arnie and Sylvester Stallone as an action movies great. Jean-Claude Van Damme was also a name in sports before moving to acting, specializing in martial arts.

JCVD studied martial arts as a kid, winning the European karate championships as a teenager. He retired from combat sports at 22 and moved into the movie business in 1982.

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