The 30 Best '30 for 30' Films

As ESPN's groundbreaking series celebrates its fifth anniversary, we pick our favorite films: tales of triumph, tragedy and (of course) 'The U'

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'Survive and Advance' (Dir. Jonathan Hock)
Greg Hatem8/30

8. 'Survive and Advance' (Dir. Jonathan Hock)

Next to Into the Wind, no 30 for 30 is as much of an irresistible weepie as Survive and Advance, which covers the improbable 1983 ACC and NCAA basketball tournament runs of coach Jim Valvano's North Carolina State Wolfpack. Told in part by the players themselves, gathered for a reunion, Survive and Advance relies heavily on the alumni's feelings of wistful nostalgia – about what they accomplished, and about the relentlessly upbeat Valvano, who was later forced out of his job before dying of cancer. The result is both a thrilling underdog saga and a touching depiction of grown men who miss their mentor.

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