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Best Soccer Movies

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Michael Sheen starred in The Damned United

Michael Sheen starred in The Damned United

Toby Canham / Getty Images

Despite soccer being the world’s most popular sport, films about the beautiful game have rarely hit the heights.

Here is a look at five of the best soccer movies, the best of a pretty bad bunch.

The Damned United

The story of Brian Clough’s turbulent 44-day stint as Leeds United manager in 1974. Having enjoyed great success at Derby, Leeds appointed Clough after Don Revie moved into the England hotseat. The film chronicles his difficulties with the players and board as he looked to impose his unique style of management at Elland Road. Michael Sheen is exceptional as relentlessly stubborn Clough.

Escape To Victory

A soccer match is used as cover for a prisoner of war break-out in this entertaining 1981 outing. Michael Caine headlines, and there are appearances from legendary players Pepe, Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles. Sylvester Stallone may not have been ideally suited to his role as a goalkeeper, but there is enough here to keep viewers watching.

Bend It Like Beckham

The plot centers around two soccer-loving girls from very different backgrounds. Jess’ parents are strict and do not want her playing the sport, while Jules (played by a young Keira Knightley) encourages her to express herself on the field. The title comes from David Beckham and his ability to ‘bend’ the ball past defenders with his world famous right foot. A feel good movie, in late 2010 it became the first western-made film to be broadcast on television in North Korea.

Kicking & Screaming

Will Ferrell plays a family man who volunteers to coach his son’s soccer team but finds himself turning into his over competitive father (Robert Duvall). The movie features some good action scenes and impressive performances from some of the younger members of the cast.

Fever Pitch

Colin Firth plays an obsessed Arsenal supporter and the film concentrates on how supporting the Gunners through their dramatic Championship-winning season in 1989 effects his relationship with his girlfriend. The 1997 production is based on Nick Hornby’s UK best-selling book of the same name. Watch out for the Arsenal underpants.

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