31 Jul 2013


Michael Caine and Bobby Moore
Somebody once said that the reason football was undeniably the most popular of all sports around the world was basically that you could play it everywhere. All you needed was a ball.

Unfortunatelly this basic rule doesn't apply to cinema.
Picturing football is not as simple as it might look.

Despite cinema has made countless attempts to partray on the big screen the most universal of all sports, there hasn't arrived yet a film that captured the passion and emotion that this sport transmits to millions and millions of fans worlwide.

Unlike with other sports (american football, basketball or even baseball), cinema hasn't been able to express the essence of football with the credibility needed to hunt the audience. The moves are too artificial and does not seem natural. Probably because the actors playing the role of a footballer are not footballers (moreover they probably haven't played football ever before). Although having actual footballers among the cast doesn't guarantee success (Vinnie Jones' Mean Machine (2001) is a clear example...).

Probably the only film that got closer to achieve it has been Escape to victory (1981) back in the early 80's. With football stars Ardiles, Bobby Moore (picture above) and Pele within the cast playing along with Sir Michael Caine and Sylverter Stallone, Escape to victory has been so far the only film capable of showing us the game in a way that made the audience feel involved with the game. Nevertheless Stallone's flamboyant full-lenght dives...
It also gave us one of the most inspiring moments of sports in cinema.

Other films though focused their attention onto different thematics but somehow with football in the background.

Bend it like Beckham (2002) was a clever but not pretentious manifesto that stuck up for those women struggling against all odds to fit in men world. Green Street Hoolingans (2005) and The Firm (1989) shown the ugly truth behind British hoolingans fims (both inspired on West Ham most violent supporters).
And The Damned United (2009) depicted the life on-and-off-field of one of the most eccentric and yet brilliant football managers ever: Brian Clough (played brilliantly by Michael Sheen).

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