From Bend It Like Beckham to Diego Maradona: the best films about football | Euro 2020

Bend It Like Beckham

Gurinder Chadha’s feelgood comedy was actually the first movie to get the grasp of how to present football motion on display with loose-limbed vitality and enjoyable. Keira Knightley made her breakthrough as the up-and-coming footballing expertise Jules. She befriends Jess, performed by Parminder Nagra, whose dad is much from glad about her taking part in football.


Jafar Panahi’s comedy is about feminine football followers determined to defy Iran’s no-women rule and sneak in to the Iran v Bahrain qualifier for the 2006 World Cup – disguised as males. They discover themselves grabbed by the police and herded right into a particular holding pen, being watched over by a depressing cop who’s to endure a karmic punishment for his sexism.

Zidane: A twenty first Century Portrait

Artists and film-makers Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno had the nifty thought of filming Actual Madrid v Villarreal in 2005 and retaining the digital camera shut up on Zinédine Zidane for the entirety of the match. In actual time, we watch the hypnotic spectacle of Zidane’s nice Easter Island statue face filling the display.

War-zonal marking ... Bobby Moore, Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone in Escape to Victory.
Conflict-zonal marking … Bobby Moore, Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone in Escape to Victory. {Photograph}: Lorimar Movie Leisure/Allstar

Escape to Victory

John Huston’s all-movie-star, all-football-star drama about a second world battle PoW camp through which allied troopers kind a crew to play an “exhibition match” towards the Germans. Michael Caine performs the coach, with Sylvester Stallone as the US soldier who serves as his coach. Pele, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardiles additionally star.

In search of Eric

Some would possibly say that Ken Loach’s best football movie is Kes, with Brian Glover as the bumptious PE instructor. However this movie had a job for certainly one of the most interesting examples of knowledgeable participant happening to a film profession: the superlative Eric Cantona, taking part in himself in a imaginative and prescient to a depressed Manchester United supporter.

Leeds much to be desired ... Michael Sheen as Brian Clough in The Damned United.
Leeds a lot to be desired … Michael Sheen as Brian Clough in The Damned United. {Photograph}: Sony/Everett/Rex

The Damned United

Tom Hooper’s movie model of David Peace’s novel about Brian Clough and his ill-fated stint managing Leeds United in 1974, with Michael Sheen giving us a basic flip as the nice man. Did Clough need to destroy “Soiled Leeds” or did he need to destroy himself, ashamed of getting taken Leeds’ shilling?

Kaiser: The Best Footballer By no means to Play Football

The Brazilian fantasist and conman Carlos “Kaiser” Raposo was given a trial in the Eighties by the Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto and used that one brush with greatness to get briefly signed for a string of Brazilian golf equipment. However he by no means really performed football for anybody, turning into a mascot saved round for his party-animal angle.

Handyman ... Diego Maradona.
Handyman … Diego Maradona. {Photograph}: Life-style Photos/Alamy

Diego Maradona

Asif Kapadia’s documentary about footballing nice Diego Maradona tells his gripping story purely by TV footage, masterfully chosen and formed. Maradona causes mass hysteria in Buenos Aires and Naples: objectives, nightclubs, objectives, gangsters, girlfriends, pregnancies, being pregnant denials, cocaine, weight achieve, despair … it’s like a 130-minute Match of the Day title sequence by Sophocles.

Mike Bassett: England Supervisor

Steve Barron’s mockumentary is about the beleaguered however lovable nationwide boss Mike Bassett (Ricky Tomlinson). Switching between gloomy stoicism and impotent rage, Bassett clearly has one thing of Graham Taylor whereas additionally able to unleashing a blistering half-time crew discuss with the ardour of Alex Ferguson.

The Arsenal Stadium Thriller

Thorold Dickinson is a British director admired by Scorsese – and right here is his football thriller thriller, certainly one of the first to characteristic football, an Agatha-Christie-ish caper set in Arsenal’s outdated Highbury floor and that includes actual gamers. Arsenal are taking part in the fictitious novice aspect the Trojans, certainly one of whom drops lifeless and everybody’s a suspect.

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