10 essential football movies


Euro 2020 is in full swing, Tom Jolliffe offers up to 10 essential football films…


Beautiful game. It arouses a fever of passion around the world. Football (let’s not open this jar of worms with my American chumes … it’s a football with a round ball you can call football), it’s a communal experience that can bring out a bunch of reactions (some good, others don’t), but attention , which this one gets around the world, runs perhaps like no other sport. Then it’s no surprise that the movie theater has had countless stories focused on the game itself, the hot passion it inspires. Here are 10 essential …

Goalkeeper anxiety on penalty kick


Let’s start this game with a curved ball. This is more curved than David Beckham’s free kick, about 20 years ago. This early effort by Wim Wenders begins in the middle of a serious football game. Our nominal goalie is sent off and leaves the country, starting with an odd, weak road movie, the kind of weird wireless road movie that Wenders is synonymous with. It never describes a passion that might come from football, and our guard is pretty relentless when we first see him on the field. What’s interesting, though, is how the film twists into a reluctance drifting from a potential sports film and then into something darker, as our goalkeeper is the dark side and it leads to murder.

Fever pitch


Nick Hornby’s hugely popular novel, about the trials and tribulations of Highbury Era Arsenal fans, is based on this film that captures the mania achievable with a football phantom. Colin Firth is a fan whose love for Arsenal (Spurs fans don’t have to apply) affects every aspect of his life, especially his relationship. This was actually the first movie I saw with Firth. He’s so synonymous with playing the upper class, the well-educated, or the aristocracy that looking back only makes him feel a little ill-matched, even if he’s an atypical actor. This can be done effectively again, but it feels more like you need a real London working class geezer actor. While even tough Arsenal fans may admit, The Emirates feels clearly praised and company-specific compared to Highbury, in danger of becoming an elitist venue (but you might say the same about half of the Premier League team now). Still, Fever pitch also goes back to a more interesting, passionate era in the football fandom, where the deficient talents of mercury were worshiped on the field while heroes and season tickets were inexpensive. It’s a nice nostalgic shot in hand for fans who started in the last century.

When Saturday comes


Jimmy, a fan and brewer at Blades (Sheffield United), has an imaginative quest to become a professional football player, and his heart in particular is set to play on his beloved side. These are movies, so of course it comes true, and not without complications along the way. It is an era of good film for such a price in British cinema (Full Monty came the following year). When I say that Colin Firth doesn’t seem completely genuine as a dead gooner and one of the boys, the opposite is true of Sean Bean here. First, he’s really a fan (he’s become the club’s celebrity poster boy) and a working class background. As great as the whole thing is, it is sure to leave a good impression. It follows the underdog formula of Rocky-esque sports, but if you like football, they missed it. If you’re Blades funny, you’ve probably got it in an eternal loop.

Bend it like Beckham

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A young Indian girl with very traditionally thinking Sikh parents is expected to live life on the path set before her. Find a nice man who can cook, become a full wife, etc. Gurinda Chada’s film balances comedy and the kitchen sink and provides a great picture of London’s multicultural areas. Generation of mixing vs. tax evasion / exclusion, patriarchy and religion vs. cultural and social evolution. Heartily, our protagonist just wants to play football. She starts to succeed with the girls team. The film was made at a time when women’s football was largely rejected or considered a joke. So there is that fight, but the added pressure to be a young Indian girl goes according to her parents ’wishes. Chada feels good at the applause, and whether it’s the subject of football or Springsteen, he captures the human story first and takes us emotionally along.

Shaolin football


Combine Kung-fu with football, pick up a comedy and ask Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) straight and asterisk. The result is expected to be wild. Before its big global hit The hustle and bustle of Kung Fu, Chow did this. It has all the aspects and intricate sets expected from the epics of martial arts, and football is thrown into the mix for good. It’s fun, smooth energy and pleasant performances and has understandably become a cult favorite.

Escape to victory

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Take Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Pele (yes… Pele) and throw them into a concentration camp during World War II. When the competition between prisoners and Nazi supervisors becomes confused, a “friendly” game of football is proposed. this is Great getaway with football and football legends such as Bobby Moore and the aforementioned Pele. It’s very humble, though not the least from Sly Stallone’s point of view, limiting around as a goalkeeper that makes Rene Higuitan look restrained. John Huston’s film is perfect and full of holes, but oh so much fun and the football series themselves are spectacularly on display. Max Von Sydow is suitably trusted as a Nazi major who tries to keep prisoners in line. At the same time, it becomes a desire to escape against the will to see the game out and defeat the Nazis. Freedom vs. pride and one superiority … they still run away, but you know … they’re movies.

Mike Bassett: Director of England


Ricky Tomlinson wonderfully personifies the reunion of dozens of iconic “old school” British bulldog football leaders from times past. It crushes teacups and evil mouths into dressing room tirades. Mike Bassett has no candy coatings or hands on his shoulders. The film came in the early days of cultural change among the football administration in the English Premier League. Foreign coaches came in and added grace, new techniques, and a technological focus. Football philosophies were the thing, so Tomlinson’s stunning cartoon, even in 2001, had to represent a dying race (there are still a few in the game that stick to the old ways). Mike Bassett: Director of England is a cult classic. It may not be a particularly great film for those not inside football, or the expectations involved in every major tournament in England, but it sends everything from battered leaders, forever and negatively weighted press and trying to deal with more unstable mercury talents that could make a tournament or break it or eventually embarrass the people. There are many iconic moments here and it is still a favorite. It just screams from far too many English tournaments where the wait turns to mockery, hope, and if you’re lucky, the heroes leave. The central thing is with the leader, and the beaten numbers somehow praise those praised all the way to England’s national leaders.

Malicious machine


This revamped version of British American football is playing in prison The longest yard (who was also moved by Adam Sandler a few years later) appeared as Vinnie Jones at the peak of his breakout. Fresh from Lock, in stock and Intercept, and a few side roles in American studio films, Jones became a leading film that was enhanced Intercept and Lock, in stock pedigree from several actors (not least Jason Statham) and producer Matthew Vaughn. It’s by the numbers, but enjoyable when Jones is a shameful football player locked in to fix matches. You have the elements of ordinary prison drama about scary criminals who control the disappearance, bent guards and screws in a place where violence and evil occur. So it happens that the tension between the prisoners and the screws brings an inevitable meeting on the football field, with Danny (Jones) having to arrange a rag mix of questionable talented prisoners (among them Danny Dyer). Predictable but enjoyable.

Damned United


Michael Sheen seems to overwhelmingly surround himself with the shadow of a real person. In Damned United he let Brian Clough’s big shoes fill and focused on his bad fate as the boss of Leeds United. If you’re not behind the story, it has little relevance, and while this could have been a film that may have alienated the unrelated, it’s ultimately fascinating because it’s a human story with an interesting protagonist at heart. Sheen does Clough well, but gives enough authenticity to play him as a character and not a caricature. It is directed by the skilled Tom Hooper, who keeps sensible heart in the drama.

Diego Maradona


One of the most famous football players who ever lived would naturally prove to be an enchanting subject for documentation. Asif Kapadia creates a new fascinating film that will charm even those who don’t follow the sport. I was never very involved in Formula 1, however Senna was a great and fascinating film. Likewise Amy (From Amy Winehouse) proved to be a balanced and very interesting view of a flawed young woman who broke under the weight of celebrities and evils. Once again, Kapadia does not tell us that Maradona is holy or sinful, but only uses her cloth to emphasize the kind of reverence she inspired and throws glimpses at the man’s God, whom God has given talent on the football field. Even the most ardent old-school England fan, still blocking resentment from “God’s hand,” could sit in the charm of this film, which focused especially on his time in Naples, where he almost alone also drew the greatness of the running team.

What is your favorite football movie? More importantly… English fans … will it come home? Tell us on our social channels @ flickeringmyth …

Tom Jolliffe is an award-winning screenwriter and passionate kinefile. He has several films on DVD / VOD around the world and several releases scheduled for release in 2021/2022, including Renegades (Lee Majors, Danny Trejo, Michael Pare, Tiny Lister, Nick Moran, Patsy Kensit, Ian Ogilvy and Billy Murray), Crackdown, When Darkness Falls, and World of War: The Attack (Vincent Regan). You can find more information on the best personal site you will ever see …https://www.instagram.com/jolliffeproductions/

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