Everyone sees Football differently. There is the American audience and the moviegoers; for them, Football is merely a sport just for college and a movie genre that inspires. And then there is us, the fans, we are the ones who believe Football is more than just a sport or a movie. Football is a way of life. So, let’s look at the 15 best football movies of all time:
15. Green Street Hooligans (2005)
This film sheds light on a certain type of football fan, the hooligans who are considered to be somewhat extremist. And the movie doesn’t hold back on any of the dark aspects of the fandom.
Green Street Hooligans isn’t your casual soccer flick. It’s gritty, and bloody, and supports an excellent cast. Everything you want from a movie based on soccer, right?
14. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Bend It Like Beckham follows a story of a young Sikh girl who dreams of having a career in soccer. The girl has to fight the restriction of her Sikh tradition and secretly join a football club to pursue her dream. It is one of the most unique soccer stories ever told.
The movie might be presented as a comedy, but it has a heart. The film literally exploded at the box office despite its meager budget and became a cultural phenomenon.
13. Shaolin Soccer (2001)
One of the few soccer movies to come out from Asia, Shaolin Soccer has earned its status as a cult classic. The movie focuses on an injured group of ex and new players who plan to take on a strong team of medically enhanced players.
Sold yet? The movie is funny and brave in covering both aspects of the sport. Tons of memorable scenes and shocking surprises make Shaolin Soccer a must-watch.
12. The Miracle of Bern (2003)
This movie deals with the aftermath of World War 2 where Richard comes back to his hometown after being a POW for at least 10 years. His return isn’t a welcomed change in the family as his time in prison has changed him in a negative way. His struggle of reconnecting with his family and youngest son who is a massive soccer fan is the premise of the film.
The Miracle of Bern is not a smooth viewing experience as the film just slams hard truths one after the other. But to our relief, there are the little lighter moments that keep the overall tone of the movie light.
And who doesn’t love a powerful ending that The Miracle of Bern totally delivers?
11. Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001)
There is something about being the underdog in sports and especially in sports movies. Mike Bassett: England Manager tells the story of a football manager who has been hired to manage England’s national football team. Here, the underdog is Mike Bassett, as he only managed a few of the lower-league English clubs, and managing the massive England squad for the world cup is a tough ask.
Good for us, the director Steve Baron mixes the plot with enough heart and comedy that still to this day Mike Bassett: England Manager holds up against the best of soccer comedies.
10. The Damned United (2009)
Football has always been entertaining both on and off the pitch. The Damned United depicts a famous era for the Leeds United Club. Here, Michael Sheen plays the legend Brian Clough who was infamously sacked just 44 days after being appointed as the coach for the club. This interesting period in the life of this iconic manager gives us every insight off the pitch which normally we don’t get to see as a fan.
While the movie is entertaining with its depiction of famous sports figures, some might argue that most of what we see is made up of dramatic effects.
9. Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)
Hot off the success of the first film, Goal II continues the journey of Santiago Munez. The only difference is that now, he’s playing for Madrid. And no you won’t see a background actor filling up the Madrid squad, you get the real deal.
Beckham, Zidane, and Ronaldo playing alongside Munez. Goal II: Living the Dream brings a satisfying conclusion to the legend of Santiago Munez. The film offers enough thrill to keep you hooked throughout its runtime.
8. Looking For Eric (2009)
Eric Contana was one of the most mysterious and talented figures in English football. Looking for Eric is not about that; it’s about realizing what is important and getting your life back on track.
The film follows Eric Bishop, a father and a husband who idolizes Contana. But his life is nothing like his idol’s as he fails to find balance. This is where his new imaginary friend Eric Contana comes in with his witty humor and thoughtful advice, which helps the Bishop find what he has been missing.
7. Fever Pitch (1997)
Fever Pitch is a strange love story between a hopeful fan and his club, Arsenal. It is based on a book of the same name where Paul, a dedicated gunners fan tries to find a place between his job and his love for the club.
On the one hand, Paul (Colin Firth) tries to make it through to the match days, and on the other hand, he has to support his side through a difficult testing time.
6. The Game of Their Lives (2005)
The United States has always found difficulties competing in soccer, especially in Europe. This is why this film is so important and a great history lesson. The film depicts the events of a 1950s soccer match where the US soccer team, against all odds, beat the strong English squad.
The game of their lives is a beautiful football story with an all-star cast that includes Gerrard Butler, Sir. Patrick Stewart and Wes Bentley.
5. The Third Half (2012)
The Third Half is a film that deals with Macedonian football around the time of World War II. Kosta, a Macedonian soccer player falls in love with Rebecca, a rich Jewish woman. With the war presenting threats every step of the way, the Macedonians are invested in taking their unbeaten club to the brink of becoming the champions.
The Third Half is one of the finest movies to come out of Macedonia. This is a beautiful film about love and soccer which will keep you hooked till the end.
4. Pele: The Birth of a Legend (2006)
Brazil is known for its football greats, but no one could ever come close to Pele. The movie depicts the humble beginnings of the legends. How the poor circumstances and talent made him stronger and more relentless at such a young age.
This biography of the world cup winning legend is beautiful, inspiring, and a must-watch for all soccer fans.
3. Mean Machine (2001)
Mean Machine could be described as if Escape to Victory had three things, Vinnie Jones, a lighter tone, and a better film. Not intended to get any heat, but the film offers a charismatic ex-footballer played by Vinnie Jones who gets jailed after running in with a police officer. Now he has to coach a team of inmates against the prison guards, sounds familiar?
Mean Machine offers an engaging journey of intriguing characters which will keep you invested throughout. And who doesn’t like Jason Statham not being an action hero?
2. The Football Factory (2004)
The Football Factory gets as real as it can regarding football hooliganism. While this is an intriguing chapter in the football soap opera, it might be a tough watch for casual soccer fans. This movie delves too deep into the realism, theft, racism, and abuse hidden from the public’s eyes.
The movie depicts the lives of four men who slowly descend into darkness as they meet unfitting ends due to the unforgiving system. After watching tons of soccer films that inspire, and encourage and the ones that are just comedy, this was a welcomed change in the soccer genre. Making a film really has to walk a thin line, and The Football Factory walks it perfectly because it is brilliant on all fronts.
1. Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)
If there is a list of the most influential soccer films, Goal would be there as well. This movie is not only great, but it caters to all audiences. Even non-soccer fans can enjoy it secretly. With Kuno Becker playing the talented Santiago Munez, Goal is one of the few big-budget soccer stories that truly captures football and everything around it.
The movie was strong enough to spawn its own trilogy.
When it comes to football, there are a number of great movies out there. Sadly, we had a spot for only 15. So, here are a few of the honorable mentions:
- There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble (2000)
- Offside (2006)
- Kicking & Screaming (2005)
What are your favorite football movies of all time? Share with us in the comments below!