Football is arguably one of the most spectated sports in the world, so it’s no surprise that films have been made around it. Listing the best football films is likely to step on some people’s toes because we can all get overprotective about the things we love. However, before waffling on too much, let’s take a look at 5 of the top football-themed films to grace our screens.
This heartfelt comedy follows Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), the daughter of an extremely strict Indian couple in London. Despite being 18, her parents won’t let her join in any organised football events. Throughout the movie, she plays for fun and is spotted by Jules (Keira Knightley) and is convinced to play in the semi-pro team based on her football value. This film is a typical coming-of-age film that finds the young girl fighting adversity, lying to her parents, and dealing with having the biggest crush on her football coach.
Taken from the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, this adaption brings Colin Firth into the role of Paul Ashworth. Set during the Gunners’ Championship-winning season (1988-1989), Paul has to balance his romantic life with his true passion for Arsenal. Although this film is caught up in the madness of a football frenzy, this film leans heavily into the world of romantic comedy.
Shaking things up at number three is Green Street, which sees everyone’s favourite hobbit (Elijah Wood), fall into the wrong crowd and embark on a journey of football hooliganism. This film offers an interesting insight into the world of football fan violence, with opposing teams battling it out on the streets before and after games – with sometimes deadly consequences.
This 2001 Hong Kong movie blends the world of football with kung fu – and it’s golden. The story, which stars Stephen Chow, follows a man who has been beaten down by life at every turn but never gives up on his dreams. Banding together with a group of kung fu master misfits, they enter a football tournament and use their ninja-like fighting skills to win the $1 million prize money.
Eric Bishop’s life is a disaster in this 2009 comedy, which stars Steve Evets and Stephanie Bishop. The poor man is left by his wife, disregarded by his sons, and ends up hitting the hospital after an RTC. When the chips were down, Eric sparked a joint and saw visions of his idol – the one and only Eric Cantona. Together, with the support of his daughter and his greatest inspiration, Eric gets his life together.
Not everyone will agree with this list, but there are plenty of laughs and some all-round good content along the way. Although the boom of football-related films happens throughout the 2000s, they age extremely well. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch Frodo Baggins beat up on some football hooligans?