2. PHIL ELLIOT IN NORTH DALLAS FORTY (1979)
North Dallas Forty came out during a time when Nick Nolte was still a handsome young actor with a “Sexiest Man Alive” title still in his future. However, this movie gave us a glimpse at the grizzled old man that he was going to be in the coming years. Playing Phil Elliot, wide receiver for a Dallas based football team, Nolte brought a certain unbalanced quirkiness to the role that wasn’t often seen at the time.
Addicted to pain killers, booze, and sex, Elliot was the perfect character for Nolte to play because of his ability to be both charming and incredibly sleazy in the same breath. Part-comedy and part-drama, North Dallas Forty is still one of the best sports movies of all time, and most of its success comes from the Nolte’s unhinged performance.