The Best Football Movies

Top 10 Films checks out a selection of the best football movies ever made including Escape To Victory, The Damned United and Looking For Eric…

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Escape To Victory (Huston, 1981)

A film best remembered as a piece of lovable nostalgia, Escape to Victory features footballers who can’t act and actors who can’t play football but who cares, it’s all a bit of fun – albeit wrapped around a Second World War backdrop. John Huston’s well-meaning film tells the story of a group of allied prisoners of war plotting to flee their captors during an exhibition football match. An all-star cast lend weight to proceedings while the pro footballers such as Pele bring authenticity to the game sequences.

Shaolin Soccer (Chow, 2001)

Stephen Chow introduces us to Shaolin Soccer in this unique film from Hong Kong. Mixing martial arts with superhuman agility, Chow’s exuberant effort gives us a unique but exhilarating depiction of this much-loved game. A kinetic energy is infectious as the football sequences mould around comic fantasy to deliver an exciting mix of fast-paced, high-flying acrobatics and football prowess.

The Damned United (Hooper, 2009)

The Damned United, Brian Clough, Leeds Utd, Nottingham Forest, Derby County, British Sports Film, Football, Soccer,

Tom Hooper’s The Damned United is both a great study of the game as well as a study of one of its great leaders. Somewhat surprisingly for a sports movie, it focuses on failure rather than success as Michael Sheen, an actor adept at capturing the nuances of real life figures brings former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough to life for his ill-fated 44 days in charge of Leeds United.

Looking For Eric (Loach, 2009)

Looking For Eric, Manchester United, Football, Soccer, Eric Cantona, Ken Loach, Great British Sports Films,

Looking For Eric is a glorious celebration of the grassroots football fan. A down-on-his-luck postman starts seeing visions of his hero, the infamous Manchester United attacker Eric Cantona, who begins to give him advice about his life. A bittersweet celebration of our football heroes (with Cantona appearing as himself), Looking For Eric enjoys a delightful balance of drama and humour.

Kes (Loach, 1969)

Known for enjoying one of the great football scenes, Kes is a terrific movie regardless of whether you’re a fan of the game or not. It’s a timeless, working class classic about alienation, growing up and companionship, all things captured so beautifully in its depiction of the beautiful game.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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