Sunday, August 30, 2009

Football Movies

I love football - those who know me, know that I swear by Manchester United. And I love watching movies. Thus it is no surprise that I scour the net to find "football movies"... here's the list of the top 11 (well this is a list about football isn't it?) movies I have seen:

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...
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

Plot: "A comedy about bending the rules to reach your goal, Bend It Like Beckham explores the world of women's football, from kick-abouts in the park to freekicks in the Final. Set in Hounslow, West London and Hamburg, the film follows two 18 year olds with their hearts set on a future in professional soccer. Heart-stopping talent doesn't seem to be enough when your parents want you to hang up your football boots, find a nice boyfriend and learn to cook the perfect chapatti"

2. Goal!
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

Plot: "Like millions of kids around the world, Santiago harbors the dream of being a professional footballer. However, living in the Barrios section of Los Angeles, he thinks it is only that--a dream. Until one day an extraordinary turn of events has him trying out for Premiership club Newcastle United"

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.
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

Plot: Here after gaining experience with Newcastle United, Santiago Munez gets the break of his life when he's transferred to Real Madrid - it features the Galacticos in person - Beckham, Zidane, Raul & co. - was pretty decent sequel to the original...

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.
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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...
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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.
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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.
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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!
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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!
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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!
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

Plot: "Shaolin Soccer is a 2001 Hong Kong comedy film co-written and directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the film. A former Shaolin monk reunites his five brothers, years after their master's death, to apply their superhuman martial arts skills to play soccer and bring Shaolin kung fu to the masses."

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...
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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...

Click on the picture to see movie trailer

Plot: "Dream Team is a British television series produced by Hewland International which aired on Sky1 and Sky3 from 1997 to 2007, that chronicled the on-field and off-field affairs of the fictional Harchester United F.C.. Events in the series have proved to be uncannily similar to those surrounding Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers in recent seasons. The club is based in the fictional town of Harchester (which is said to be close to Tamworth) in the West Midlands. Most fans consider Lynda Block, played by Alison King and Karl Fletcher, played by Terry Kiely to be the two most popular characters."

13. The Game of Their Lives
Plot: "Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of the 1950 US soccer team who, against all odds, beat England 1 - 0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Although no US team has ever won a World Cup title, this story is about the family traditions and passions which shaped the lives of the players who made up this team of underdogs."

14. Joyeux Noël- Merry Christmas
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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! :)
Click on the picture to see movie trailer

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 and posters mainly from