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Film Studies 101
Features
The 50 Greatest Sports Movies
We rank the very best sports films

Back Page 33 of 50 Next
18

This Sporting Life (1963)

DIRECTOR Lindsay Anderson
STARS Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts

As raw and brilliant as its star, this Brit New Wave classic sees Richard Harris tackling (literally) all-comers as gifted rugby league player Frank Machin. His brusque Yorkshireman makes Geoffrey Boycott look like Nijinsky as he strains against his work (coal mining), his love life (bruising) and, well, just about everything else. His relationship with Rachel Robert's emotionally cauterised widow holds the gaze, but the pitchside action is compelling too. Long before the glitzy world of Super League, rugby league was a boots-and-braces kingdom rarely visited by cameras and Anderson does it justice with on-field scenes shot at Wakefield Trinity's ground. The result is possibly the most downbeat movie in the sporting cannon – any doctor worth their salt would treat the ensuing viewing trauma with a dose of Mighty Ducks – but it's also one of the most thoughtful and honest.
Read Empire's review

QUICK POLL Should This Sporting Life be higher or lower on the list?
Higher
Lower

The Stats
THE SPORT
Rugby league
THE TEAM
Local Wakefield rugby league club
DOCUMENTARY?
No.
DEFINING MOMENT
"We don't have stars in this game, Mrs Weaver, that's soccer," grunts Machin to the owner's wife. "What do we have?" "People like me."
KEY TACTICS
Tackling low. Hitting hard. Drinking ale.
Back Page 33 of 50 Next

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Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.


Your Comments

1 Underdog film
Dodgeball certainly remains one of the classic underdog films, not just for its inspirational value, but its usual comedy, too. And perhaps some of the others could make this list too: http://www.ranker.com/list/best-movies-about-underdogs/ ranker-film Read More

Posted on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 18:51 by Imperion

2 See Also
Karate Kid, The Waterboy, The foot fist way, Hot rod, Caddy Shack, The mighty ducks, coach carter, blades of glory, mean machine, leatherheads, the ringer, nacho libre, kicking and screaming, baseketball, remember the titans, brians song, don king: only in america, cinderella man, million dollar baby, somebody up there likes me, the boxer, knuckle, bend it like beckham, fever pitch, zidane Read More

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 18:42 by bnicholson50

3 RE: What the Hell!?
l largely an excuse for Chaplin to show off his legendary slapstick skills and rubbery physical abilities while poking fun at sports clichés and underdog stories, but it's still more entertaining than most of the films it skewers. ow exactly does Chaplin, in 1915, skewer films that are very very far from being made and poking fun at sports clichés that do not yet exist? Read More

Posted on Wednesday July 25, 2012, 00:42 by Evil_Bob

4 RE: Rocky - third place
BASEketball should totally be in here. Okay it's not a real sport, but it is a sport movie. And it's funny as shit wise a pretty damn solid list. (Rocky 2-4 should be included as well, but maybe that's being a bit greedy...) Read More

Posted on Tuesday July 24, 2012, 13:55 by Whistler


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