The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off days ago when the host country Russia beat Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 14, in the opening match of the month-long tournament.
Arguably the world’s most watched sport, over the years, several filmmakers have tried to capture the essence of football on film. While some have been well-received, others have been disliked by ciniphiles and football fans.
From comedy to documentary, here are seven football-themed films you could watch during this World Cup season.
Check them out:
This 2015 American biographical sports film is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-American forensic neuropathologist, who fought against the National Football League.
Omalu made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. His quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world: NFL.
“Concussion” tells the above story with captivating performances by Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks and Will Smith.
2. “The Blind Side”
With power-packed performances by Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron, “The Blind Side” tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless black boy taken in by Leigh Tuohy and her husband, Sean.
They become his legal guardian and with the help of his new family and devoted tutor, Michale realizes his potential as a student and football player.
The movie follows Michael’s poor upbringing, his years as a student, his adoption, and his rise to becoming one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football, and then finally becoming a first-round pick of the Ravens.
3. “Bend it Like Beckham”
“Bend it Like Beckham” is a superb, feel-good movie about the daughter of a strict Indian couple in London, who is not allowed to play organized football because she is a girl.
She eventually joins a local women’s team, which makes its way to the top of the league.
While the film’s title refers to the football player David Beckham, and his skill at scoring from free kicks by curling the ball past a wall of defenders, the film itself was actually inspired by player, Ian Wright.
4. “Escape to Victory”
Decades after its release in 1981, this John Huston film, with its impressive cast of Hollywood stars and famous football players, is still a cult classic among football fans.
In this film, the head of a German Prisoner of War (POW) camp, soccer enthusiast Karl von Steiner, organizes a match between Nazi players and their Allied captives.
While the team trains for the match, Robert Hatch, played by Sylvester Stallone, plans a dangerous mass escape from the camp.
The film also starred Michael Caine, Pelé, Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles.
5. “Fever Pitch”
This 1997 film starring Colin Firth is based loosely on Nick Hornby’s best-selling memoir of same name.
Focusing on Arsenal’s First Division championship-winning season in 1988/89 and its effect on the protagonist’s romantic relationship, “Fever Pitch” tells the story of Paul Ashworth, a teacher at a school in North London, and his romance with Sarah Hughes, a new teacher who joins his school.
The film comes to a climax with the real life events of Arsenal’s match against title rivals Liverpool in the final game of the season on 26 May 1989.
6. “Remember the Titans”
Based on the true story of African-American coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, the film captures the story of a newly appointed coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit
In “Remember the Titans,” the very foundation of football’s great tradition is put to the test after a local school board is forced to integrate an all black school with an all white school.
7. “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait”
“Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait” is a documentary focused purely on Zidane during the Spanish La Liga match played between Real Madrid and Villarreal on April 23, 2005, at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
The documentary was filmed in real time using 17 synchronized cameras.
Have you seen any of these films? Which is your favourite?