Top 5 Soccer Films You Will Love
After any soccer match take in these five soccer films that are sure to thrill you.
- Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)
- The Damned United (2009)
- Gracie (2007)
- Victory (1981)
- Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Before setting out on trying to find the right soccer film, one is a fascinating documentary. Others include either fictional or based on true stories. Two are about the most popular soccer players internationally. Another one features the greatest players ever to grace the sport.
Now here are the top five soccer films you will surely come to love.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)
The sport of soccer has enormous challenges in the U.S., since a vast majority of Americans strongly prefer their traditional spectator sport also called football. This is the NFL, the National Football League. However, in the mid-1970s soccer was actually on par with the NFL in attendance.
"Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos" is about the establishment of the North American Soccer League, NASL. When they brought Pele to the U.S. to play for the New York Cosmos the sport of soccer exploded. After Pele announced his retirement in 1977 professional soccer in the U.S. saw a definite decline. Basically it's about the rise and fall of the NASL. Even the glitterati of New York at that time were basking in soccer's popularity.
The Damned United (2009)
Here's a loosely based biographical film about Brian Clough's abrasive style and resentment towards the player of the Leeds United football club in England. These players are notorious for their rough and tumble ways, not to mention dirty style of playing. In the film you get a better idea why Clough has deep bitterness for the team he is now coaching. "The Damned United" stars Michael Sheen who was also in the films "Frost/Nixon" where he played David Frost and in "The Queen" as Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Before there was Mia Hamm or Hope Solo the U.S. had their first family of soccer, the Shues. You may know them better as Andrew and Elizabeth Shue from television and films. Andrew Shue was featured in the television series "Melrose Place". Elizabeth was nominated for an Oscar in the riveting film "Leaving Las Vegas." However, "Gracie" is loosely inspired on the real story of Elizabeth and Andrew's other love, playing soccer. The character of Gracie is based on Elizabeth Shue. Gracie wants to play soccer since her father and brothers are all involved in the sport. They try to discourage her, except one brother. He supports her efforts all the way. Lo and behold there's an opportunity for Gracie to play competitively on an all-boys high school soccer team. In real life Elizabeth played on an all-boys soccer team until she was 13 years old. Andrew Shue has played soccer professionally. He has a cameo in the film.
This is one of the more obscure films starring Sylvester Stallone. It also stars Michael Caine and soccer's greatest player, Pele. "Victory" is set in a German POW camp during WWII. One of the Germans accompanying some Allied inspectors to the camp notices many of the prisoners playing soccer or football. He recognizes one who played for England. This gives the German officer an idea to stage a football match with Germans versus the prisoners of war. Stallone's character, who is the American, is planning an escape. The other POW's reluctantly recruit him onto their football team, because of his brilliant escape plan. There is an exciting football match as well as the subplot regarding this daring escape from the prison camp. You will no doubt be cheering on the prisoners.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Finally, a truly delightful film that's shown regularly on cable television about soccer or more specifically women's soccer. "Bend It Like Beckham" is about the main character's infatuation and admiration for David Beckham's unique kicking style that made him an international superstar. Jesminder or Jess is a teenager in London whose parents are strict in their East Indian culture and religion. Jess loves playing soccer in the park nearby. She even aspires to play in the WUSA, Women's United Soccer Association.
Her parents do not like her to play sports as they are trying to find her a husband one day. While playing soccer with some kids in the park Jules, played by Keira Knightley, notices how good she is. Jules invites her to play on a local woman's league. Jess must do this on the sly, so she makes up an excuse to her parents she has a job to go to. The coach of this woman's league is impressed with Jess' playing. Now this causes more conflict than Jess can handle, especially her family life at home, when things start looking up for her with playing soccer.
Jane Murphy, "Best Soccer Movies: "What to Watch When You're Not Watching World Cup", Moviefone.com
The Internet Movie Database, IMDb.com
All photos from Wikimedia Commons.