Everybody loves football films. At least, we do. And there have been some amazing movies over the last 20, even 30 years (and some we’d really rather forget!).
So that’s what this post is going to be all about. Reliving, remembering and falling in love all over again with 4 football films I think we should all watch. We’ve explored something similar, more specific to Manchester United fans in this article here in the Hobby FC film collection, so make sure you give that a read as well. Unless you’re a Liverpool or City fan – then it’s probably not for you!
What Football Films should I watch?
Annoyingly, like everything in this world – it will depend on where you’re based.
If you’re in the UK and are rich, you can afford all the various subscriptions to Sky, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus and still might not be able to find these films anywhere without new fees.
Semantics aside, with the wonders of modern technology, you should be able to find the answer to your problems online in no time at all, and once you have, there’s nothing stopping you from watching as many football films as you like – however many times as you like.
But a list like this wouldn’t be complete without our first inclusion. Which is…
Although this movie literally needs no introduction, I’m going to give it one anyway!
“Goal! The Dream Begins” is a thrilling cinematic journey into the world of professional football. Directed by Danny Cannon and released in 2005, the movie perfectly encapsulates the rags-to-riches storyline, making it an irresistible attraction for football fans and cinephiles alike.
The film follows the captivating narrative of Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker), a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles with a burning passion for football. When a chance encounter with a former scout for Newcastle United (played by Stephen Dillane) sets him on an unexpected path to England, Munez must conquer personal challenges, adapt to a new culture, and prove his worth on the football pitch.
This emotionally-charged tale, punctuated with thrilling football action, is both a love letter to the world’s most popular sport and an exploration of the determination required to chase one’s dreams.
The movie also boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Alessandro Nivola as Gavin Harris, the established star of Newcastle United, and Anna Friel as Roz Harmison, Munez’s love interest.
Moreover, the film is renowned for its authentic depiction of professional football, featuring real match footage from the English Premier League, cameos from football legends like Alan Shearer and David Beckham, and an in-depth exploration of life inside a top-flight club.
It offers a unique blend of heartfelt drama and sports action, making it a must-watch for football fans. If you’re intrigued by an underdog story, or simply captivated by the world of football, this film serves as an inspiring depiction of the triumph of willpower, grit, and determination in the face of adversity.
We could sit here and argue over which movie in the series is the best, personally the first movie is everything that I could ask for in a football film. Between Goal one and Goal 2, the first film wins!
P.S. We’re not even going to mention number three, you’d need to have me tied down and eyes taped wide open to ever watch that again…
Green Street (2005)
“Green Street”, or “Green Street Hooligans” as it is also known, is an intense drama film that takes viewers into the heart of football fanaticism. Released in 2005 and directed by Lexi Alexander, this film is an intriguing study of a less-glamorous but integral part of football culture – the hooliganism
The movie plunges into the world of football hooliganism through the perspective of an American student, Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood), who is expelled from Harvard under false circumstances. After moving to London to live with his sister, Matt finds himself drawn into the Green Street Elite (GSE), a group of fervent West Ham United supporters known for their violent rivalries with other fan groups
“Green Street” features a standout performance from Charlie Hunnam as Pete Dunham, the charismatic yet dangerous leader of the GSE. His role represents the complex spectrum of emotions and dedication found within these groups, offering a perspective both fascinating and horrifying.
The movie does not shy away from the brutal realities of football hooliganism. It delivers hard-hitting, visceral fight scenes, highlighting the disturbing extent of violence associated with football.
Yet, it also sheds light on the strong sense of brotherhood, loyalty, and identity that binds these groups together, creating a thought-provoking paradox for viewers.
It is an eye-opening portrayal of football hooligan culture, exploring the blurred lines between passion and violence, loyalty and recklessness. It’s a compelling watch for football enthusiasts and film lovers who appreciate gripping narratives, intense performances, and rich character studies.
Green Street is an absolute classic and never fails to scratch that itch, it’s genuinely such a brilliant movie – never mind within this niche of other ‘football films’. It’s just good in general!
Escape To Victory (1981)
“Escape to Victory“, known also as “Victory”, is an iconic football-themed war film that transcends the traditional boundaries of the sports genre.
Directed by John Huston and released in 1981, the movie offers a unique blend of World War II drama and football, promising a cinematic experience unlike any other.
The movie revolves around a group of POWs (Prisoners of War) during WWII, who are coerced into playing a propaganda match against a German team. Under the leadership of Captain John Colby (Michael Caine), a former footballer, and with the assistance of Robert Hatch (Sylvester Stallone), an American POW, the group embarks on a daring escape plan under the guise of this football match.
It is renowned for its star-studded cast, both on and off the pitch. With the film also showcasing actual football legends like Pele, Bobby Moore, and Osvaldo Ardiles. This lends an authenticity to the football sequences, making it a treat for sports aficionados.
What sets this movie apart is its successful amalgamation of the thrill of a war escape with the excitement of a football match. It manages to weave a riveting narrative of bravery, camaraderie, and the universal appeal of football amidst the backdrop of war, making it a timeless classic.
Altogether, “Escape to Victory” stands as a testament to the resilient human spirit and the unifying power of football. For fans of war films, sports dramas, or those looking for a unique cinematic concoction, this film provides a captivating viewing experience.
The Damned United (2009)
“The Damned United” is an exceptional biographical sports film, blending the thrill of football with a deep character study. Released in 2009 and directed by Tom Hooper, the film offers a gripping insight into one of the most iconic managerial tenures in English football history.
The movie masterfully tells the story of Brian Clough (Michael Sheen), the charismatic and outspoken manager who, with his trusted assistant Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall), revolutionized English football.
It particularly focuses on his tumultuous 44-day stint as the manager of Leeds United in 1974, a period marked by controversy and struggle. And one that still beggars belief even to this day.
Michael Sheen’s performance as Brian Clough is a standout, portraying the complex persona of the manager who was as loved as he was loathed. His rivalry with Leeds’ Don Revie (Colm Meaney) forms the backbone of the narrative, creating a captivating dynamic of power, ambition, and pride.
“The Damned United” beautifully captures the trials and tribulations of football management, showcasing the pressures, politics, and personalities within the game. It is not just a film about football but an exploration of a man’s ambition and vulnerability in the face of adversity.
With its tight narrative, captivating performances, and an authentic portrayal of English football in the 1970s, it stands as one of the best football-themed films. Whether you’re a football fan, a lover of biopics, or someone who appreciates compelling character studies, this film delivers on all fronts.
Well, that wraps up our post on these bona fide football films.
Of course there are so many more we could have included in this post but then you’d have less time watching some of these movies and we can’t have that can we?
Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below or give us a follow on Twitter!