Modern day cinema has many genres. From history to horror, from comedy to romance cinema has been the media that has captivated the general audience since ages. There is a distinct genre in the world of Cinema, the Genre of Sports. But within this vast domain of sports movies a sub-domain has stood out as the most popular one. So popular that it can be considered as distinct genre itself. This is the genre of the world’s most loved sport, football (Europe) or Soccer (US). Countless super hit films have been produced in the past based on the beautiful game that it has become possible now define Soccer as an independent category of cinema.
Best Soccer Movies List
This is undoubtedly the most popular of all the soccer movies in the modern days. Its name itself simplifies the perspective of this movie. The first part came in 2005. The story is based upon Santiago Munez who is a Mexican immigrant residing in Los Angeles. Santiago is a passionate soccer player and aspires to keep on playing soccer throughout his life until one day he meets Newcastle United’s retired scout Glen Foy, who persuades Santiago to take his talent to a bigger stage in England. The first movie depicts Santiago’s journey from a local club in Los Angeles to the first team in Newcastle. He has many hurdles to reach where he wants to reach his primary hurdle being his own father who is reluctant to let him make a career in soccer. At England, Santiago faces newer challenges including his Asthma limitation. But through it all Santiago’s proves his worth in England by steering Newcastle United to the Champions League spot by scoring a very important goal on a free kick. Santiago also finds his love in England in the club’s nurse.
The second part (released in 2007) of the series begins with a crumbling Real Madrid in the face of rivals Barcelona which lets them look for talents in England. Santiago the rising star in England is chosen by the Galacticos. Once at Spain, Santiago finds an environment and culture very similar to the one back in Mexico. He also discovers his Dad’s second wife in Spain and her son who is his younger brother. This movie artistically shows the ego and attitude that can creep into a Madrid player playing at such a decorated club. Santiago’s arrogance makes him have a cold war with his coach, breaks him up with his girl, earns him a playboy lifestyle, becomes a multimillionaire star but at the end of it all he scores a decisive goal in the Champions League final against Arsenal to win the Tenth title for Madrid.
The third movie (released in 2009) was comparatively disappointing for all the fans waiting for it. It featured the World cup 2006 in Germany. Santiago has two England internationals as his close friends, they enjoy their time in Hollywood prior to the world cup during which unfortunately they meet a car accident. Santiago injures his leg and is eliminated from Mexico’s first team while one of his English friends suffers a chest injury which he claims to overcome and recover from before the World cup. He later dies of a jerk upon his chest during a game in round of 16. The movie shows Italy winning the World cup and Santiago the lead hero out throughout the World cup and it is still unclear what the purpose of the movie or the underlying message was. There is a slightly happy ending though. The movie portrays the emotions of the soccer world cup quite remarkably and tries to balance it with the personal lives of the soccer players shown in the movie.
SHAOLIN SOCCER (2001)
This is one of the best and most loved soccer movies and also the most popular one. This story combines Kung Fu with soccer and gives soccer a totally new and vibrant Continental Martial Art flavor. The movie is originally released in Chinese with the English version soon following.
Based around an ex-soccer star (Golden leg Fung) who has lost his reputation in World soccer working for a deceit (Hung) who planned a conspiracy years back as a teammate to bring him down. The coach Fung sets out to form a soccer team good enough to challenge the soccer team of Evil Hung. But instead of coming across soccer players he comes across a Kung Fu freak (Mighty Steel Leg Sing) who convinces him that the power of Kung Fu can help Fung build a successful soccer team. Together they set out in search of Sing’s fellow Kung Fu mates. The hilarious friends of Sing are up for the challenge when they are highly depressed by life. Together they form a soccer team, train hard and use their Kung Fu to play some unique soccer. Sing falls in love with a flour-maker (Mui) in a bakery who impresses him with her Kung Fu techniques of baking.
The climax of the movie showcases the final of the major tournament in which Fung’s honest Kung Fu soccer team is against Hung’s Evil and corrupt team. The dramatic element in the movie is when Mui enters the final in the second half to perform Goalkeeping when the teams first Goalkeeper is injured.
The movie throughout is a hilarious one with unrealistic yet funny individual soccer battles and graphics. It is a must watch for any Shaolin movie fan and soccer fan alike.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2002)
This is the tale of Jess, a Punjabi girl living in the UK. Her passion is soccer but the traditional Indian cultures and family pressure for marriage restrict her passion towards soccer. She aspires a scholarship for playing soccer in the US and is an ardent fan of the soccer superstar, David Beckham.
The story shows how Jess breaks free from the philosophical shackles set by her family rituals and traditions to get into soccer. Often she is caught by her arrogant mother and scolded for her craze towards soccer.
The film directed by Gurinder Chadha, features Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra (Jess). The hindi version of the movie was also released with a typical Punjabi name “Football Shootball Hai Rabba”.
Unlike the name, the movie doesn’t feature David Beckham apart from his slight clip of walking through an airport in England at the very end of the movie. The movie has a comedy element in it along with romance as Jess falls in love with her soccer coach. The movie features a love triangle between Keira Knightley (Juliet), Jess and their soccer coach (Joe). Jess is a talented soccer player and along with being a Beckham fan she specializes in taking the free kicks like the trademark David Beckham ones.
There are some scintillating women’s soccer footages and is quite a passionate movie which features a perfect blend of drama, comedy, romance, celebrations and of course the action and speed of soccer.
This movie has given a new dimension to soccer by adding a desi-punjabi flavor to the beautiful game.
One of the popular dialogs of this movie is when Jess mom says to Jess, “You can’t even cook Aloo Gobi, and you are busy playing soccer”. To this Jess remarks, “Anyone can cook aloo gobi but not anyone can bend the ball like Beckham”.
A must watch for every Manchester United fan. This inspirational movie is entirely based upon the Munich tragedy which is one of the darkest pages in the history of United. The movie revolves around Sir Bobby Charlton in his youth, who was relatively a filler in front of the talents of the world famous Busby Babes of those days. While returning from a match from Serbia against Red Star Belgrade, the plane in which the United’s young talents were travelling suffered a severe crash in a blizzard with Bobby Charlton among the lucky survivors.
Almost the entire first squad which consisted of a majority of the important players was finished. This story highlights the tragic scenes in UK following the incident with condolences across the country. Young Bobby gets highly depressed and considers quitting soccer due to the pain its memories inflicted upon him. But the coach finally convinces and gets Bobby into playing for the first team again. A squad of complete ‘newbies’ is formed within a month at United keeping up the honor and the fighting spirit of the departed souls. United didn’t quit soccer, they continued their valor to become a top team again within just a couple of years.
Featuring Dougray Scott as Sir Matt Busby, this movie is a tale of true bravery, courage at the tough times and the desire and fighting spirit of Manchester United which is more than just a squad, a family, a home where every generation is a true champion. The movie surprisingly has no soccer match shown in it and is basically more of a story that happened off the pitch.