You may not know this, but soccer has been a character in films for many years. From the hero, to the villain and many more characters in between. Let’s take a look at some of soccer’s best roles in movies…of course, all in celebration of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!
Here are 5 of the best soccer films to carry on your soccer fever:
5. “Escape to Victory” (John Huston, 1981)
Plot: This soccer classic stars Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Max von Sydow and Daniel Massey alongside Pele and Bobby Moore as Allied (against the Axis powers of WWII) prisoners of war (POWs) interned at a German prison camp. The team uses an exhibition match against the German National Team – a Nazi propaganda stunt – to escape their captors.
Why you should see it: This film not only combines the star power of the likes of Pele and Stallone, but it takes advantage of using the game of soccer as a metaphor for War. It’s different, daring, at times corny, and worth watching for the entertainment value it brings.
4. “Bend It Like Beckham” (Gurinder Chadha, 2002)
Plot: The 18-year-old daughter of orthodox Sikhs rebels against her parents’ traditional ideals and runs off with her team to Germany in order to follow her dreams of becoming a soccer star.
Why you should see it: This girl-power comedic drama was the film that helped ignite the career of Keira Knightley. It’s full of sport clichés, has a Bollywood influence, and captures the passion of soccer in a way that’s fun for the whole family.
3. “The Damned United” (Tom Hooper, 2009)
Plot: A look at Brian Clough’s troublesome 44-day stint as the 1974 coach for the English football club, Leeds United.
Why you should see it: Pride and obsession are lead players in this comedic-drama. The historic content doesn’t resonate much with non-British folks, but it’s study of the human ego combined with the passion for soccer is enough to capture any audience.
2. “The Two Escobars” (Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist, 2010)
Plot: Andrés Escobar, one of Colombia’s best and most respected athletes, led his team to the World Cup in 1994. Pablo Escobar, world-known drug pin, was not related to Andrés, but he owned the team Andrés played for. After Andres commits a mistake during the team’s most important game, he learned exactly how much it would cost him.
Why you should see it: The film is an emotional and powerful piece of Colombian and World Cup history. It was made as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series and besides it’s chilling story plot, it also highlights the skilled and nearly magical 1994 Colombian team in action.
1. “Shaolin Soccer “(Stephen Chow, 2001)
Plot: A young Shaolin follower reunites his five discouraged brothers – years after their master’s death – to form a winning soccer team by using their martial arts skills to their advantage.
Why you should see it: This soccer classic is extremely cheesy, action packed, full of laughter and will have you cheering for the unconventional team as if they were part of the World Cup.