5 Best Cricket Films of All Time

Chris TealeFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2013

5 Best Cricket Films of All Time

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    One of the most popular sports to be televised around the world, cricket has also made quite an impact in film.

    Referenced in award-winning movies like Mary Poppins, Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon, cricket has been subtly introduced to millions around the world.

    It is also a sport that lends itself well to being the subject of a film, whether that be as a drama or a documentary.

    With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five best films to be made about cricket. 

Honorable Mentions

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    The Final Test

    A 1953 film about Sam Palmer’s last appearance for England—played by Jack Warner.

    A comedy drama, there are also cameos from leading cricketers, including Len Hutton, Denis Compton and Alec Bedser.

     

    Chennai 600028

    Focusing on street cricket in India, this 2007 Bollywood movie was written and directed by Venkat Prabhu.

    It examines various themes, including love, rivalry and friendship in suburban India, and was nominated for several Vijay Awards, which honor Tamil cinema. 

5. Wondrous Oblivion

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    A British film released in 2003, Wondrous Oblivion tells the story of a friendship between a young European Jewish immigrant boy and his family’s next door neighbours, a West Indian family.

    Set in South London in 1960, the film brings up issues of race, friendship and romance, with the relationship between the boy (played by Sam Smith) and neighbour Dennis (Delroy Lindo) formed by their mutual love of cricket.

    Directed and written by Paul Morrison, the movie won awards at the Boston Jewish Film Festival in 2004 and the Giffoni Film Festival in 2003. 

4. Victory

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    Which film stars Simon Jones, Sajid Mahmood and Brett Lee in cameo roles alongside Allan Border, Dean Jones and Waqar Younis?

    The 2009 Bollywood picture Victory.

    The film tells the story of Vijay Shekhawat (played by Harman Baweja), who achieves his dream of playing for the Indian national team, but then sees the pitfalls associated with such fame.

    While it did poorly at the Indian box office, it is definitely worth watching, if only to witness the acting skills of some notable cricketers. 

3. Hansie

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    Telling the story of South Africa’s former captain, who went from national hero to international disgrace, Hansie was released in 2008 in South Africa.

    Directed by Regardt van den Bergh, it is based on the story of Hansie Cronje and his extraordinary fall from grace after he became involved with Indian bookmakers, resulting in the 2000 match-fixing scandal.

    The film goes on to tell the story of the aftermath of Cronje’s life ban from cricket. 

2. Fire in Babylon

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    Released in 2010 to rave reviews, Fire in Babylon is a British documentary film about the West Indies team of the 1970s and 1980s.

    With contributions from numerous former players including Michael Holding, Clive Lloyd and Sir Vivian Richards, it charts the growth of Caribbean cricket as the West Indies became the most feared team on the planet.

    Nominated for three awards, Fire in Babylon is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of the game.  

1. Lagaan

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    Top of the list is Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, a 2001 Bollywood film nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2002 Academy Awards.

    It may have missed out to No Man’s Land in said category, but Lagaan remains a superb cricket film.

    It tells the story of peasants in an Indian village during British colonial rule, who challenge their rulers to a game of cricket to cancel their crippling taxes for three years.

    Lagaan has also been lauded as one of the best 100 films of world cinema and won numerous awards around the world. 

    Time magazine also included it on their list of top 25 all-time sports movies.