1. Bend it like Beckham
My all time favourite! This one showed how popular Beckham was (and still is) - he didn't feature in the movie but even his name in the title gave it a massive push. To be honest, I initially watched it because I was curious about the Beckham connection...
3. Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
The 2007 John Abhraham - Bipasha Basu - Arshad Warsi flick was the one of best sports movie I have seen coming out of Bollywood (in the league of Chak De! for sure) - it is a contemporary fictional story of the South Asian community in UK through the dynamic prism of professional football. All the actors are very believable in roles as footballers - quite an achievement for Bollywood.
Decades back, another football movie Saheb starring Anil Kapoor (incidentally it was a remake of a Bengali movie of the same name starring Tapas Pal) was quite good too.
4. Goal II: Living the Dream
Caution!: Don't waste your time with Goal III: Taking on the World... it was an absolute shocker! The lamest football movie I have seen.
5. The Damned United
Watched this one last nite after seeing Manchester United beat Aresenal 2-1 at Old Trafford. Was well worth staying up till 2 in the morning for...
Plot: "Taking over England's top football club Leeds United, previously successful manager Brian Clough's abrasive approach and his clear dislike of the players' dirty style of play make it certain there is going to be friction. Glimpses of his earlier career help explain both his hostility to previous manager Don Revie and how much he is missing right-hand man Peter Taylor who has loyally stayed with Brighton & Hove Albion."
6. Green Street Hooligans
This one does well to show the ugly side of football.
Plot: "Unjustly expelled from Harvard when a stash of cocaine is found in his possession, Matt moves to London to live with his sister and her husband Steve. He is quickly introduced to Steve's chirpy, cock-sure younger brother Pete. Initially, Pete is reluctant to get acquainted with Matt and allow him to tread around the capital city with him because he may be seen by others as an 'outsider', but after a heavy drinking session with him and his mates he quickly changes his opinion of him. On the way back from a football match, Matt is viciously accosted by a gang of Birmingham City thugs, until Pete and his friends step in and save him. It is from here that Matt learns the truth about Pete and his friends- they are football hooligans, operating the GSE (Green Street Elite) 'firm.' Initially afraid of the violence, Matt soon ends up becoming as desensitized to it as his new found friends - but as events roll on, suspicion, shocking revelations and unsettled scores combine to a devastating climax where London's most fierce football rivals - Millwall and West Ham United - are set to go head to head."
7. The Football Factory
Another, more in your face movie, that deals with the advent of hooliganism in football - particularly English football.
Plot: "The Football Factory is more than just a study of the English obsession with football violence, its about men looking for armies to join, wars to fight and places to belong. A forgotten culture of Anglo Saxon males fed up with being told they're not good enough and using thier fists as a drug they describe as being more potent than sex and drugs put together. Shot in documentery style with the energy and vibrancy of handheld, The Football Factory is frightingly real yet full of painful humour as the four characters extreme thoughts and actions unfold before us."
8. Mean Machine: Perhaps inspired by "Escape to Victory" but was quite entertaining!
Plot: "Disgraced ex-England captain (Danny 'Mean Machine' Meehan) is thrown in jail for assaulting two police officers. Whilst in jail, he doesn't recieve any favours because of his celebrity status in the outside world. He is out numbered and many prisoners constantly barrage him with insults for letting down his country in a crucial World Cup game. He keeps his head down and has the opportunity to forget everything and change the lives of the prisoners. These prisoners have the chance to put one over the evil guards. The prisoners are lead by Danny and the whole of the prison, guards aside, are behind them. Game on..."
9. Escape to Victory: Starring Sylvester Stallone and the biggest football stars of its time including Pele, this was sure worth the watch!
Plot: "In World War II, a group of Nazi officers come up with a propaganda event in which an all star Nazi team will play a team composed of Allied Prisoners of War in a Soccer (Football) game. The Prisoners agree, planning on using the game as a means of escape from the camp."
10. Shaolin Soccer
Arguably the funniest and the silliest football movie ever made!
11. She's The Man
An American College chick-flick that is an adaptation of the Bard's "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" with football (I refuse to call it soccer) being the theme...
Plot: "Here's the thing Viola's soccer team at Cornwall got cut so she wanted to join the boys team, but they did not allow. So she thought "If you can't join them, beat them". And so she does, she disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian, and goes out for the Illyria Boys Soccer Team. But she didn't plan falling in love with her roommate Duke. But the thing is Duke has his eye on Olivia. The thing that makes matters worse Olivia starts to fall for Sebastian who actually is a girl and she/he has a sensitive side. If things couldn't get more problematical the real Sebastian (who is in London working on his music) comes home early. He arrives on campus and has no clue that he was replaced by his twin sister."
The Subs i.e. The ones I am awaiting eagerly to watch!
12. The Dream Team
Ok - so this isn't a movie but the one season that was showed on TV in India on ESPN Star captured my imagination - am waiting to see all the seasons...
13. The Game of Their Lives
14. Joyeux Noël- Merry Christmas
Plot: "In 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever at that time in human history, was well under way. However on Christmas Eve, numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal, and unauthorized, truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict peacefully met each other in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. This film dramatizes one such section as the French, Scottish and German sides partake in the unique event, even though they are aware that their superiors will not tolerate its occurrence."
15. Fever Pitch
Nope not the Drew Barrymore one with the Baseball theme released as the Perfect Catch outside of the states - this is one with Arsenal in the movie - no prizes for guessing why I am putting last on the list! :)
Plot: "A romantic comedy about a man, a woman and a football team. Based on Nick Hornby's best selling autobiographical novel, Fever Pitch. English teacher Paul Ashworth (Colin Firth) believes his long standing obsession with Arsenal serves him well. But then he meets Sarah. Their relationship develops in tandem with Arsenal's roller coaster fortunes in the football league, both leading to a nail biting climax."
Any movie you think I have missed? Give me a shout...
(Plots courtesy IMDB.com and posters mainly from impawards.com)