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Saddle up for a wild ride into the heart of the rodeo arena, where the grit and glory of cowboy culture reign supreme.

From adrenaline-pumping rides to heartfelt cowboy tales, these flicks capture the essence of western spirit.

Think you can handle the bull by the horns? Check out these top rodeo films that are ropin’ in critical acclaim and audience cheers alike.

Best Rodeo Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. 8 Seconds (1994)
  2. The Longest Ride (2015)
  3. The Rider (2017)
  4. Cowboy Up (2001)
  5. Junior Bonner (1972)
  6. Bull Rider (2006) – Documentary
  7. Pure Country (1992)
  8. The Electric Horseman (1979)
  9. Bull Durham (1988)
  10. Urban Cowboy (1980)
  11. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991)

#1 8 Seconds (1994)

  • 🎬 Directed by: John G. Avildsen
  • 🌟 Starring: Luke Perry, Stephen Baldwin, Cynthia Geary

8 Seconds is a biographical drama film that portrays the life of rodeo legend Lane Frost, a bull rider who became a champion before his tragic death at the young age of 25. Luke Perry stars as Frost, encapsulating the spirit of the cowboy and the tenacity required to be a professional bull rider. The title refers to the length of time a bull rider is required to stay on for a ride to be scored.

The film gives audiences an insight into the world of professional rodeo, showcasing both its dangers and the strong sense of community and tradition. It’s a tribute to courage and a life lived with passion, leaving a legacy in the rodeo world.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#2 The Longest Ride (2015)

  • 🎬 Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
  • 🌟 Starring: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Alan Alda

The Longest Ride is a romantic drama film based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name. The story intertwines the romance of a young couple, bull rider Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) and college student Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson), with the memories of an older man who shares his past love story with them after they save him from a car wreck.

As Luke aims for a comeback from a potentially career-ending injury, the relationships explore the challenges and sacrifices required by the rodeo lifestyle. The film examines how love can transcend time and the ways in which people inspire one another.

Where to watch: Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

#3 The Rider (2017)

  • 🎬 Directed by: ChloΓ© Zhao
  • 🌟 Starring: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau

The Rider is a contemporary Western drama which follows the story of a young cowboy named Brady Blackburn, played by real-life rodeo rider Brady Jandreau, as he grapples with the possibility that his riding days are over after suffering a severe head injury.

Directed by ChloΓ© Zhao, the film blurs the lines between reality and drama, with the cast largely composed of non-actors who are part of Brady’s own community and family. The Rider presents a powerful and poetic look at cowboy culture, identity, and the American heartland.

Where to watch: Pluto TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#4 Cowboy Up (2001)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Xavier Koller
  • 🌟 Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Marcus Thomas, Daryl Hannah

Cowboy Up, also known as Ring of Fire, is a film about the risky world of professional bull riding. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Hank, a seasoned bull rider who must grapple with the turbulence of his career and personal life, especially when his younger brother decides to compete against him.

The film dives into the complex relationships and dangerous sportsmanship inherent in the rodeo scene, providing viewers with an emotional ride and a deeper understanding of the cowboy ethos.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Google Play

#5 Junior Bonner (1972)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Sam Peckinpah
  • 🌟 Starring: Steve McQueen, Robert Preston, Ida Lupino

Junior Bonner is a Western drama featuring Steve McQueen as the title character, an aging rodeo rider who returns to his hometown and struggles to reconnect with his family and find his place in a changing world.

The film, directed by Sam Peckinpah, is known for its authentic portrayal of rodeo life and its reflection on the themes of family, change, and the bittersweet nature of the passing of time. It is considered a classic of the rodeo film genre, offering a more meditative take on the cowboy lifestyle.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#6 Bull Rider (2006) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Josh Aronson
  • 🌟 Starring: Mike Lee, Justin McBride, Adriano Moraes

Bull Rider is a documentary that takes viewers into the intense and thrilling world of professional bull riding. The film provides an intimate look at the fears, wounds, and triumphs of the cowboys who dedicate their lives to the sport, examining what drives them to pursue such a dangerous career.

Director Josh Aronson follows the lives of the riders, showcasing the sheer physicality and mental toughness required to succeed. It’s a deep dive into a compelling and often misunderstood sport, offering a raw perspective on what it means to be a modern-day cowboy.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#7 Pure Country (1992)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Christopher Cain
  • 🌟 Starring: George Strait, Leslie Ann Warren, Isabel Glasser

Pure Country is a drama film with country music superstar George Strait making his acting debut as Dusty Chandler, a famous country singer who becomes disillusioned with his hollow, overly staged performances.

Looking for something more genuine, he goes back to his Texas roots and falls for a beautiful rancher, played by Isabel Glasser, while searching for authenticity. The film features rodeo and country music elements, appealing to fans of both the traditional Western lifestyle and country tunes.

Where to watch: HBO Max, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video

#8 The Electric Horseman (1979)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Sydney Pollack
  • 🌟 Starring: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine

The Electric Horseman is a romantic adventure-comedy featuring Robert Redford as a former rodeo champion turned company spokesman who decides to liberate a mistreated horse.

Jane Fonda stars as a feisty journalist who ends up helping him on his quest. This film directed by Sydney Pollack combines elements of drama, romance, and social commentary, drawing on Redford’s cowboy charisma and the scenic beauty of the American West.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

#9 Bull Durham (1988)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Ron Shelton
  • 🌟 Starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

Bull Durham is a romantic comedy sports film featuring a mix of baseball and relationship dynamics. While not directly about rodeos, it’s often included in discussions of sports culture in America. Kevin Costner stars as a veteran catcher, Susan Sarandon as a passionate baseball fan, and Tim Robbins as a rookie pitcher.

Though not a rodeo movie, its themes of sportsmanship, competition, and love resonate with audiences who appreciate tales from the sports world and the personal stories intertwined with them.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

#10 Urban Cowboy (1980)

  • 🎬 Directed by: James Bridges
  • 🌟 Starring: John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn

Urban Cowboy stars John Travolta as Bud Davis, a young man from the country who moves to the city and immerses himself in the local nightclub scene. The film captures the mechanical bull riding craze of the early ’80s, with rodeo culture serving as the backdrop for this modern cowboy tale.

Themes of love, self-discovery, and the quest for personal identity in the face of changing landscapes are central to this drama, as are the honky-tonk settings and country music soundtrack.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

#11 My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg
  • 🌟 Starring: Scott Glenn, Kate Capshaw, Ben Johnson

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys is a Western drama that follows an aging rodeo rider’s return home to reconcile with his family and to forge a new life after an injury. Scott Glenn portrays the lead role, navigating the complexities of aging, ambition, and the pursuit of dreams.

The film delves into the forthright choice between fame in the rodeo ring and a quieter, more meaningful life at home. It’s a narrative that celebrates cowboy values and the rodeo circuit while offering an honest and nuanced portrait of the American West.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

FAQ

What is the best Rodeo movie of all time?

“8 Seconds” (1994) is considered by many to be the best Rodeo movie of all time for its dramatic portrayal of legendary bull rider Lane Frost.

What are some good Rodeo movies?

“8 Seconds,” “The Rider,” and “Bull Rider” are good Rodeo movies that capture the spirit and challenges of the sport with compelling narratives.

What Rodeo movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best Rodeo movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” (2019), and viewers can also explore limited series like “Fearless: The Series” (2016).

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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