In a movie that explores sports and athletics, one can always expect some amount of drama and action. As a result, movies falling under the genre are often noted for the sense of inspiration that they evoke. And with the ongoing FIFA World Cup gathering steam — even amongst those who won't really call themselves football enthusiasts — it's worth noting that the 'beautiful game' is indeed universal. After all, several memorable films have their roots in it. hitlist points out a few of them.
Escape to Victory (1981)
Director: John Huston
Lowdown: Soldiers from the Allied side play an exhibition match with soldiers from the Nazi German army. No prize for guessing who wins the match. Along with Sylvester Stallone, the film is punctuated with appearances by footballing icons like Pele and Bobby Moore.
Fever Pitch (1997)
Director: David Evans
Lowdown: A blooming love story aside, the film is all about football at the club level and the passion the protagonist has for the same. Loosely based on real-life events, the storyline is true to the title as football is pretty much everywhere — from the living room to the stadium.
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
Director: Stephen Chow
Lowdown: Just when we thought Chinese cinema vis-à-vis martial arts was turning repetitive, Chow came up with this arresting film at the turn of the century. The actor-director effectively mixed football with Kung Fu by serving a dose of never-seen-before action sequences.
Bend it like Beckham (2002)
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Lowdown: The movie is about a UK-based Indian girl who's obsessed with football, much to her family's chagrin. A runaway success, this comedy-drama boosted David Beckham's popularity and ended up discovering new talent in the form of Keira Knightley.
Green Street Hooligans (2005)
Director: Lexi Alexander
Lowdown: This film not only showcases the infamous side of football — street hooliganism — but also shows its corporatisation in Europe. Starring Elijah Wood, the story deals with never-ending fights between football gangs.
Director: Jafar Panahi
Lowdown: The movie revolves around a gang of girls who wish to watch a World Cup match but are not allowed for religious reasons. No wonder Offside was banned by the Iranian government!
The Damned United (2009)
Director: Tom Hooper
Lowdown: There was an era when Nottingham Forest used to be a world-class club. And this biopic highlights the man behind its success: Brian Clough. In a remarkable performance, Martin Sheen essays the role of the legendary football manager and his eccentric nature to perfection.
Along with movies, there have been documentaries that have helped broaden the vision about a sport that is unparalleled in its global reach.
The Other Final (2003)
About: The journey of two of the lowest ranked footballing nations, Bhutan and Montserrat. The two face each other for the big title.
Dare to Dream (2005)
About: Follows the emergence of the United States' women soccer team from relative obscurity, to bagging the gold at Athens Olympics.
About: TV telecasts of matches do not focus on one player. But this docu follows Zinedine Zidane and his splendid moves.
Maradona by Kusturica (2008)
About: It goes without saying that Emir Kusturica, apart from being an auteur, is a huge Diego Maradona fan. This documentary proves so.
The Two Escobars (2010)
About: The relationship between two murders post-1994 World Cup: one of footballer Andres Escobar and the other of mafia lord Pablo Escobar.
Next Goal Wins (2014)
About: Holding the dubious world record of 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, American Samoa decides to register their first competitive win.