Guest Author - Alice Jones
If you are anything of a film buff, and something of a soccer fan, what could be better than watching movies that are soccer related?
Two for one! Get your soccer and movie fix by watching a fantastic football film. Sounds great in theory doesn’t it?
Commercial success is not always the best guide to go on when choosing a soccer movie. There have been some great Sports movies that have not been universally popular.
We all have our favourites, deciding which is a good film from a bad one is usually a matter of personal tastes.
With that in mind, here is my “Editors Choice” - Seven Soccer Stories. (Movies worth seeing soon or watching again)
Here you well see some classic movies and also more contemporary ones. I have tried to write relatively spoiler – free summaries as review with the most recent release first in the list.
Gracie (2007) Directed by Davis Guggenheim
A contemporary movie that looks back to a time when Women’s Soccer was struggling for acceptance. It centres around a girl called Gracie, who loses her brother. In her path to recovery from this grief she realises grace and finds herself.
Gracie comes from a sports mad family, and has a natural talent for playing soccer. She is a very skilful player who enjoys the beautiful game.
Her father is a former soccer star himself but is unsupportive of her ambition. It also explores her relationship with her mother, who is unable to help her much, as she is excluded in many ways herself.
Gracie unites the family together in the face of tragedy in the process of her difficult journey to acceptance.
Goal! (The Dream Begins) (2005) directed by Danny Cannon.
This movie was a blockbuster hit and reveals the Santiago story, a tale of a young Mexican born starlet as he travels to America and then England to follow a dream.
In this, the first instalment of a trilogy named Goal! Santiago begins his dream as he is scouted for a trial at Premier League Sleeping Giants, Newcastle United. Full FIFA cooperation on this film enabled real team footage throughout the movie.
This adds realism to the movie and makes it more believable, in some ways this trilogy is the Rocky of the soccer movie world.
Goal! 2: Living the Dream is the sequel and was released in 2007. The third and final instalment, is in production, and it follows Santiago through to his rise to International Stardom and participation in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
I reccomend watching all three of these movies, when they are available. I am eagerly anticipating the finale of the sequel.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002) directed by Gurinder Chadha.
This worldwide box office hit from Great Britain, covers the story of two young Women from London who are very skilful soccer players. Although from very different backgrounds they share a common problem, of pressure from their families and a desire to be taken seriously for very different reasons.
The film also has a romantic twist, and it touches on some delicate subject matter regarding female sexuality and friendship, while remaining a safe family movie.
Bend it like Becks' also covers cultural differences, one of the main characters is a British Indian Sikh girl, and her family are quite orthodox in their views about a woman’s role in life. The other main character has to overcome her mothers stereotypes.
Purely Belter (2000) Directed by Mark Herman
More of a coming of age drama, than a soccer movie, Purely Belter invites us into the lives of two teenagers who are obsessed about their local football club, Newcastle United.
The two of them are trying to get season tickets but they cannot afford them, so they will do almost anything to save up the money.
This movie is based on the novel, The Season Ticket by Jonathan Tulloch. Top Premier League Goal scorer Alan Shearer makes a cameo appearance.
It is a moving drama at times and also has a lot of gritty humour in it.
There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble (1999) Directed by John Hay.
A comedy-drama set around Greater Manchester, England, Jimmy Grimble (Lewis McKenzie) is a 15-year-old teenager for whom nothing seems to go his way - until he meets an old woman with a story to share and some boots for him to borrow.
The film centres around his dream to play for Manchester City Football Club. Like most lads of his age, especially in Manchester, Jimmy loves football. He does not support the glory club, like many of his friends, instead he follows Manchester City, local rivals to the English Giants Manchester United.
This film has lots of laughs and enjoyable drama as the young little lad struggles to get a lucky break. On his journey he has to overcome his troubles such as the scchool bully, and confusion in his home life. There is also an adolescent crush which complicates matters for little Jimmy. There are several twists and turns in this movie which make for an enjoyable family drama.
Ray Winstone, Jane Lapotaire, and John Henshaw also star in this film.
This film seems a little dated now, but it is a most enjoyable watch for a Sunday afternoon.
Fever Pitch (1997) Directed by David Evans
This is a fictionalized version of the book Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. The film is a romantic comedy and it covers the Arsenal 1988-89 Championship winning season, and it’s effect on the main character's romance and relationships.
There is some real life footage in the film and it is highly recommended as one of the ever best soccer movies.
This movie covers the passion of what it means to be a fan and the effect that can have on others who are close.
Escape to Victory (1981) Directed by John Huston
This wartime comedy drama features Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. In the United States, and some other places the film is known as Victory.
The movie is about Allied prisoners of war who are interned in a Nazi prison camp during World War II. The prisoners form a soccer team and hope to escape from the camp, in a daring and ambitious plan.
Victory also starred some world famous football superstars including Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Kazimierz Deyna and Pelé. The film was a huge box office hit. It is still a popular classic today.