The Five Best Soccer Films You Need to Watch
Last September, Film Fad took a look at a trio of “football” films. Thing is, we only featured two football films, the other being a soccer film. Now, here on Film Fad we have decided to focus solely on soccer.
That being said, here is five of the best soccer films that you will ever watch.
The Goal! trilogy is the Lord of the Rings of soccer movies. It is a 300-minute marathon that chronicles the gritty, inspiring journey of Santiago Munez — immigrant, gardener, and eventual soccer superstar. There is no shortage of, yes, goals in this trilogy, with Munez proving his worth on the pitch by scoring goals, first for Newcastle United, the club that gave him an opportunity to play the beautiful game, and then for the iconic Real Madrid. He even scores for his native Mexico in the World Cup, completing Munez’s odyssey from gardener to superstardom.
The Damned United
Based on arguably the most infamous 44-day managerial tenure in the sport, The Damned United takes a look at the controversial, highly charged reign of Brian Clough as the manager of Leeds United. It encapsulates the emotional spectrum of the sport, mostly from the eyes and experiences of Clough, whose career would have been all the more brilliant had he not been felled by a serious injury during his playing days. The film is engrossing, funny, and enlightening, and it received, deservedly, much critical acclaim. Plus, Michael Sheen delivers a powerful tour de force as the brash, volatile, and eccentric Clough, who despite his abrasive, tough-guy personality was at the core struggling with his own insecurities.
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
This film takes a closer look at arguably the best Frenchman to ever play the beautiful game. Zidane, however, is presented through the prism of one match in particular: a La Liga clash in 2005 against Villarreal where the French midfielder was sent off after his role in a full-on brawl. Cameras followed Zidane’s every move on game day, revealing a side very few people knew about. At the core, the soccer superstar was as austere as anyone — an everyman who became a superman when he stepped on the pitch. The visuals are, in a word, glorious, and the soundtrack is sublime.
Manchester United: Beyond the Promised Land
Manchester United: Beyond the Promised Land offers a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary club the year after their historic 1999 treble-winning season. It is “airbrushed and authorized” as Empire points out, but footage inaccessible to the common fan makes it worth the watch nonetheless. United won the Premier League title again that year, though they lost the European Cup championship, and controversially withdrew from the FA Cup, thus, becoming the first winners not to defend their title. Despite this unique incident, the Red Devils have reached the FA Cup finals five times since. This season, bwin predicts that United are third favorites to win the Cup, right behind Manchester City and Chelsea. The film also features some of United’s biggest stars including David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.
Escape to Victory
A soccer film with the one and only Sylvester Stallone? Yes, please! With a star-studded cast which includes the iconic Pele, Michael Caine, England legend and World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore and Argentinian star Osvaldo Ardiles, among others, the film is set amidst the backdrop of World War II. Escape to Victory chronicles soccer in the most unusual of circumstances — in a German prisoner of war camp — and by the unlikeliest of players: Nazis and their prisoners. Said prisoners are hoping for their freedom, and in their way are their Nazi captors. Win the match, and they go free; lose and they stay in prison. It is a fascinating look at the complexities of war, and the uplifting power of sports.
So, block off your weekend sooner rather than later, find copies of these five films, and buy lots of popcorn. It’s time to binge-watch some soccer movies!