Now that the FIFA World Cup has come to a close, and the English Premier League is still a month away, football fans need something to tide them over until then. To this end, we’ve put together five of the best-ever football films so you can get your fix until the season starts again for real.
This British-American sports drama film is widely considered one of the best serious football films of all time. The plot revolves around a talented Mexican footballer named Santiago who lives in Los Angeles, America. Santiago lives in poverty in America, and has a dream of travelling to the UK to play in the English Premier League.
Although the film has several sports movie cliché’s, that’s part of what makes the movie so great. Fine acting, and a very real depiction of football add to the movie’s charm.
Bend It like Beckham
The 2002 British-Indian romantic comedy sports film has become an all-time classic – not just for football films but all British comedies. It was praised for its ability to mix football and fun with some deep-rooted cultural commentary.
Although Bend It like Beckham is a mostly light-hearted, feel-good film, it does a good job of smashing stereotypes (both cultural and gender-based) and features fantastic performances from stars Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. It also features a cameo appearance from the legendary David Beckham himself.
What kind of list would this be if it didn’t include Hong Kong’s infamous football-kung fu hybrid motion picture Shaolin Soccer? Directed by and starring the one and only Stephen Chow, this action-comedy takes us along on the journey of Sing (Chow) who recruits a team of shaolin monks with incredible powers – making them absolutely unstoppable on the pitch.
The film is nothing short of outrageous and the plot is absolutely ridiculous, but you will be having too much fun watching to care. You will be hard-pressed to find a football fan, or anyone from Hong Kong, who doesn’t love this movie.
This 2013 picture is the only movie in the world that can be called an Argentian 3D computer-animated sports-comedy adventure film. It is the most expensive Argentian film of all time and the most expensive Latin American animated movie ever.
Thankfully, two English-language dubs have been made available on Netflix – a UK dub starring Rupert Grint (a.k.a. Ron from Harry Potter) and an American version featuring the voices Matthew Morrison, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande and Bella Thorne, which is also on Netflix.
Kicking and Screaming
Although it may seem like a sin to have an American movie on this list, it’s pretty much universally accepted that anything starring Will Ferrell will be nothing short of hilarious.
This feel-good sports comedy revolves around the journey of Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) who tries his hand at coaching a kid’s football (or soccer in America) team. His friendly coaching style clashes with his father (Robert Duvall) who has an ultra-competitive coaching style.
Though not necessarily a film for football purists, it’s certainly enjoyable for fans looking for a good laugh.