Best Football Films #Top3Tuesday

England’s lionesses bowed out of the Women’s World Cup in such heartbreaking fashion last week that it will take some time for both the players and their fans to get over. In the meantime, we have The Ashes, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France to hold our interest until the new season of the Premier League starts in another five weeks.

So now seems as good a time as any to do a #Top3Tuesday on my three favorite football movies. Or soccer, if you’re American 🙂

The Damned United
Between the second and third entries in their Tony Blair trilogy, Peter Morgan and Michael Sheen collaborated on this enjoyable little film that recounts Brian Clough’s 44 days as Leeds manager back in 1974.

Although this is most definitely a film about the world of football (and the business of football), it is also an intimate portrait of a megalomaniac who is obsessed with getting revenge on his successor (Don Revie) by bettering him – all because he was snubbed by his former idol when the two managers’ teams faced off several years earlier.

It’s a great film.

Fever Pitch
For my money, this is hands-down the best film adaptation of a Nick Hornby book that exists. A young Colin Firth plays against type as an Arsenal-obsessed fan who must learn to figuratively grow from a boy into a man when his girlfriend becomes pregnant mid-way through the 1988-1989 season.

Based on Hornby’s real life, the film is focused on the beautiful game from the perspective of a rabid fan, and charts how the ups and down of a team’s season can have a profound effect on the everyday life of their supporters. Case in point: the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster which profoundly affected all British footy fans, followed by Arsenal’s unexpected triumph as champions of the First Division.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
An arthouse documentary that details almost the full 90 minutes of a 2005 Spanish Liga match between Real Madrid and Villarreal CF – that focuses exclusively on the actions of Zinedine Zidane (up until the point he gets sent off.)

It’s a strange hybrid, cutting as it does between conventional TV coverage and cinematic close-ups, but it gives a unique perspective of the game by focusing so intensely on a single player – one of the greatest in recent times. The film also features a characteristically hypnotic soundtrack by Mogwai.

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