Green Street 3: Never Back Down (and 7 more of the best football films)
Magic 7: Seven of the best films about Football
With the DVD release of Green Street 3: Never Back Down on October 21st, we take a look at 7 more of the best footy-related films to hit the silver screen:
The Damned United (2009)
Starring Michael Sheen as the irrepressible Brian Clough, The Damned United tells the story of Clough’s ill-fated move to Leeds United, where he spent just 44 days in the manager’s dugout. Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) and also starring Timothy Spall as Clough’s long-suffering assistant Peter Taylor, the film follows Clough’s unsuccessful attempt to mould Leeds United into a team in his own image, but ultimately failing to replicate the success of Leeds legend Don Revie. A must for all football fans…unless you’re David Moyes.
A feature-length directorial debut from Philip Davis, I.D. follows the story of 4 undercover police officers attempting to infiltrate a notorious London football firm. For one of them, John (Reece Dinsdale), the cover proves a little too deep. The film charts John’s journey from undercover cop to full-time hooligan – a tale of self-destruction that before long finds John’s real life falling apart, leading to the breakdown of his marriage and, ultimately, his identity, hence the film’s title. Riotously funny in places, just plain riotous in others, I.D. is a somewhat underrated film that is well worth a look.
Escape to Victory (1981)
Starring Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone, this much-loved classic is set during WWII and tells the slightly ridiculous story of a ‘friendly’ match between the German national team and motley crew of POWs assembled by Caine’s character, Capt. John Colby. Also starring a number of famous players from the era, including Pelé, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Ardiles, Colby and his men plot their escape, aided by the French Resistance. Definitely one for the dads.
Fever Pitch (1997)
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch is a rare thing: a romantic comedy for blokes. Starring Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones's Diary) as the Arsenal-loving English teacher Paul and Ruth Gemmell as his love interest, Sarah, the film tells the story of Paul’s two loves in synch with each other through the ups and downs of both the football season and their relationship.
Looking for Eric (2010)
Ken Loach’s heart-warming film about postal worker Eric Bishop, played by Steve Evets, finds the protagonist down on his luck – his wife won’t talk to him, his two stepsons think he’s a joke and he’s on the edge of a nervous breakdown – that is until he has an epiphany and comes face to face with an apparition in the form of his footballing hero, Eric Cantona, who stars as himself. A real feel-good flick that features some surprisingly good acting from the Frenchman.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Gurinder Chadha’s comedy tells the story of Jess (Parminder Nagra) – a British-born girl from an Indian family with an obsessive passion for all things football. This charming film is less about the game itself than it is about societal integration - Jess is trapped between two cultures: the strict, traditional values of her family versus the more liberal, relaxed lifestyle of her friends – and it is the way in which the subject matter is addressed that has made this film an enduring favourite.
The Firm (1989)
Boasting a stunning performance from Gary Oldman (Batman Begins, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Alan Clarke’s classic, original version of The Firm is a gritty drama recounting the tale of two rival football gangs whom central character Bex Bissel (Oldman) wants to team up for the 1988 European Championships – an idea that doesn’t go down well with the firms’ leaders. The first and still one of the most realistic portrayals of the inner workings of the football ‘casual’ scene, The Firm is a grimly detailed look into the world of 80’s football hooliganism. Not for the faint-hearted.