Five Top Movies about the Beautiful Game


As the most popular sport in the world and the source of so many cultural icons, football has always been seen as a topic worth delving into when it comes to the art of cinematography, though usually with very mixed results.

People have always been interested in learning more about the inside workings of the beautiful game, whether poring over the management of fantasy football leagues, closely looking at the latest odds or devoting hours of research to write on every aspect of the game on blogs, sites, or magazines.  It’s no surprise then that Hollywood has tried to cash in on the interest, sometimes disastrously such as with United Passions, FIFA’s propaganda piece on the origins of the World Cup.  Below are five films that managed to garner positive critical acclaim.


Fans who are particularly interested in learning more about both the private life and professional career of Argentina legend Diego Maradona are in for a first-hand account. Nonetheless, the story of ‘The Golden Boy’ is captivating enough for any football and movie fan in general, considering it was skilfully directed by Emir Kusturica, as equally as eccentric a character as the subject of the movie.

Goal! The Dream Begins

Unlike the first movie which takes on the format of a documentary, this is a full-on motion picture dwelling on the classic rags-to-riches storyline. It starts off with the poor illegal immigrant Santiago Munez living out his youth in Los Angeles, and the irrepressible drive to train and perfect his football skills, ultimately noted by a scout that sets him on the path to glory. The movie was later turned into a trilogy, but despite the clichés, it is worth the watch.

Fever Pitch

The third movie on our list is based on the novel of the same name, written by one of the most fervent Arsenal supporters of all time, Nick Hornby. Just like the book, it follows the life of a Gunners devotee who is in a relationship and at the same time living through the pressure of the 1988-1989 winning season for his team. As the main character tries to reconcile the two worlds, and retain the author’s absolute reverence for the club, this movie gains a historic, sporting, romantic and comic dimension that makes it entertaining for a much wider viewer audience.

The Damned United

The Damned United deals with the 44 days Brian Clough spent as the head manager of the Leeds United FC. While this bears the risk of making the story irrelevant for anyone disinterested in that period of English football, it has managed to encompass elements such as individual personalities and collective team spirits to make it appealing for football fans in general. The flashback mode of retelling the story contributes to an even better cinematic effect, and thus launches the movie in the high ranks of anyone’s list.

Green Street

An alternative perspective on the not-always beautiful game, Green Street follows the life of Harvard-expelled Matt Bucker who moves to his sister’s home in England and gets dragged into the murky football hooligan underground. Showing you parts of that world might have through impossible, it aims to criticise and explore this facet of football culture that has marred the image of English national football for decades.

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