So, England may have done appallingly in the World Cup, but we still love football and always will. Instead of celebrating our team this summer, we thought we’d remind you about ten great football films to watch that will take your mind off things.
We’re talking about the original 1998 TV film version of The Firm, not last year’s remake. Based around the activities of the West Ham firm, it is brutally violent and stars Phil Davis, Charles Lawson and Steve McFadden (yes Phil Mitchell’s first role).
Bend It Like Beckham
Not your average football film. Perhaps it’s one that appeals more to the ladies, due to its happy, less violent plot line about two girl footballers from very different familes sharing the same dream. Although it does star a young Keira Knightly, so it’s not all bad for the boys! Oh and the Beckhams even make a cameo.
The Football Factory
Probably the highlight of Danny Dyer’s career. It tells the story of rival football firms, one from Chelsea F.C and the other that supports Millwall. It is a great example of the English and football violence, with an excellent British cast and some legendary quotes, such as “After all that you really do have to ask yourself if it was all worth it… course it f**king was!”
Mike Bassett: England Manager
Considered by some to be a terrible film, we like to think of it as more of a classic. It tells the story of Norwich City manager Mike Bassett (Ricky Tomlinson) who is made England boss ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, somehow England get to the semi finals and Bassett becomes a hero. It’s a nice one for pretending that, just for once, we do well.
Again we are talking about the original, not the American remake. Released in 1997 and staring Colin Firth (yeah, not great), it is a romantic comedy about a man, a woman and a football team. This is probably the best one to watch with your girlfriend, as it’s still got just enough football and a witty script so everyone will like it.
The Damned United
This is quite a new one, but a goodie already. Based on a largely fictional book about Brian Clough’s time as manager of Leeds United. Those of you who know the story already will really enjoy it, and even if you don’t, you’ll like it as Michael Sheen is amazing, as are the other British actors. It’s a very dramatic take on one of the most controversial UK football managers of all time.
Escape to Victory
If you ask any football fan, they will pick this as one of their favourite films. With an all star cast of Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo (Ossie) Ardiles and Pele, it shows us beating Germany with some really great football. If only the England squad had seen this and picked up a few tips.
There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble
Ok, so the title is not great, but this comedy starring legendary actors Ray Winstone and Robert Carlisle, is just what we all need right now. It’s the lighthearted story about a bullied schoolboy, Jimmy, who turns from a loser into football hero in 90 minutes. It’s silly, but good fun.
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
This is for the more serious football fans, it’s a documentary about Zinedine Zidane shot during a Real Madrid vs Villareal game in 1995. If that sounds boring to you, you can just listen to the music which is provided by Scottish post-rockers Mogwai.
Perhaps not one you have heard of before, but we like it nonetheless. The story of teenage boys who are desperately trying to get the money together, so they can get season tickets for home games to see their team, Newcastle United. There is a truly terrible cameo from Alan Shearer, but its something every football fan can relate to – the desperate need to see their team without having to pay a fortune.
So, that’s that then, what do you think? Are we off the mark with some of these or on the ball?