10 Best Football Movies Ever Made

Mohamed Al-HendyCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2011

10 Best Football Movies Ever Made

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    Unfortunately for soccer fans, sometimes there are times in our lives when there just isn't any good, quality football to be watched on TV.

    If you're a real soccer fan, you know the situation all too well: It's the middle of the week, there are no Champions League or even Europa League games going on.

    There are no domestic league cup games being played and all you can find are reruns from the league games you've watched the previous weekend.

    So what are we to do with our extra time?  

    Well, some might say that we could spend our time doing something not soccer-related, like working or studying or some "supposedly" useful activity along those lines. We could do that.

    Or, we could instead choose to pick up one of the 10 greatest soccer movies ever made and allow the world of Hollywood soccer to entertain us until the real action resumes and takes up all of our time once again.

    For those of you who wisely select the second option time and time again, this list is for you.

No. 10: Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

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    I'm not gonna lie, the trailer of this movie alone has me excited to check this movie out.

    "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos" is a documentary about the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos, who at one point drew in bigger crowds than the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL.

    The documentary discusses how the signing of Pele ushered in an era in which soccer drew massive crowds and made the New York Cosmos one of the most well-known clubs in the world.

    It also discusses how Pele's retirement led to huge financial difficulties and played a big role in the downfall of the Cosmos, as well as the whole North American Soccer League.

    The movie has earned fairly solid reviews on IMDb, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, and is a must-watch for an fan of American soccer and its history.

No. 9: Shaolin Soccer

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    If you find yourself in one of those Jackie Chan or Jet Li kind of moods, or you're just a big fan of their movies, then "Shaolin Soccer" is definitely a movie you're going to want to check out.

    And even if you're not a fan of Jackie Chan or Jet Li, this is still a movie you're definitely going to want to see.

    It's hard to describe what this movie is about without sounding somewhat ridiculous, but here goes:

    An ex-soccer player meets a Shaolin Kung Fu student trying to spread the word of Kung Fu. The ex-soccer player helps reconcile with his five brothers and teaches them soccer, adding Shaolin Kung Fu as a twist.

    The team of brothers enter a national soccer competition with a $1 million dollar prize and breeze past the competition. But in the end must face Team Evil in a battle for the title.

    There, I've described it without hopefully sounding too ridiculous. I can already tell you, for you guys who loved Dragon Ball Z as kids, you will love this movie.

    For those of you who somehow didn't like DBZ, or just missed out, you might not enjoy it as much. And I pity you for missing out on DBZ.

No. 8: Kicking It

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    We come to the second documentary on our list.

    "Kicking It" follows the lives of seven players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup, showing the impact the competition has on the players and how it helps them out of the turmoil in their respective lives.

    Colin Farrell, who's dad was actually a footballer for Shamrock Rovers in Ireland, narrates the film. It received excellent reviews at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals and was subsequently distributed by ESPN through Liberation Entertainment and Netflix.

No. 7: Gracie

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    In this day and age, women's soccer is actually well-respected, at least in America. Nearly everyone knows who Hope Solo and Alex Morgan are. Legends like Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach carry great name recognition as well.

    But it wasn't always like that, as the movie Gracie shows us. 

    In "Gracie," a young teenage girl named Gracie Bowen overcomes the grief of the loss of her brother in a car crash by petitioning to fill his spot on the varsity soccer squad at school since there was not woman's soccer team at the time.

    Facing doubts and pressure from all those around her, including her own family, Bowen finds the strength to prove everyone wrong and unites her broken family in the process.

    Needless to say, this movie probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, especially those who still don't support woman's soccer (let's be honest, there's still a lot of skeptics out there).

    But if you do like or at least appreciate woman's soccer, or just want to make yourself look like you care about gender equality to impress your wife or girlfriend, this might just be the movie for you. 

No. 6: Fever Pitch

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    Everyone loves a good romantic sports movie. The first such movie on this list is "Fever Pitch."

    Based on Nick Hornby's best selling autobiographical novel, "Fever Pitch" is a romantic comedy about a man, a woman and a football team.

    In the movie, English teacher Paul Ashworth believes his long-standing obsession with Arsenal serves him well. But then he meets Sarah, a fellow teacher at his school, and falls in love.

    Their relationship develops in tandem with Arsenal's roller coaster fortunes in the football league, both leading to a nail-biting climax.

    The film was remade in 2005 in America with baseball and the Red Sox taking the place of soccer and Arsenal. The few Americans who have watched both movies will tell you that the 2005 version is better, but don't believe them.

    If you're in the mood for a romantic comedy, this a good movie to check out.

No. 5: Victory

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    Victory is the oldest movie on this list, but a true classic with a list of stars that makes it an absolute must-see. 

    In Victory, a group of Nazi officers come up with a propaganda event in which an All-Star Nazi team plays a team composed of Allied Prisoners of War in a soccer match. The prisoners agree, planning on using the game as a means of escape from the camp.

    Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Max von Sydow all have major roles in the movie. Pele and Bobby Moore also act as two of the players on the POW team in the movie.

    With a star-studded cast like that, what excuse could you possible have to miss out on this football classic?

No. 4: Bend It Like Beckham

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    It seems as though these girl-goes-against-family-to-play-soccer movies become very popular very quickly.

    First there was "Bend It Like Beckham," then "She's the Man," then "Gracie," and I'm probably missing a bunch more.

    In any case, we're here to talk about the one that started it all, "Bend It Like Beckham."

    BILB is the story of a young Sikh girl, who is a very talented soccer player and has her hopes set on playing professional soccer.

    In the movie, she is forced to deal with balancing out her interests with that of her parents, who ideally would like to see her find a husband or boyfriend and learn how to properly cook for him and behave as a proper Indian wife would.

    BILB has been a classic for some time, and is probably the most widely known football movie on this list. Definitely worth watching.

No. 3: The Damned United

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    Do you ever find yourself harking back to the days when English soccer wasn't all about Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs? If so, this is the movie for you.

    The Damned United is a movie about Brian Clough's 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United. It follows the rivalry of Clough and Don Revie (Leed's manager prior to Clough, who moves on to coach England).

    Michael Sheen does an excellent job of portraying Clough as a brilliant but eccentric man. The movie has received wide acclaim, and has received some of the highest online ratings of any of the movies on the list, earning a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 81/100 on Metacritic. 

No. 2: The Two Escobars

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    In his article ranking all of ESPN's 30 for 30 sports documentaries, Austin Schindel ranks "The Two Escobars" ranks third, which is very high praise considering the quality of ESPN's documentaries.

    Here's what he had to say about the Two Escobars:

    "There may not be a more gripping sports documentary out there. It mixed politics, organized crime, drugs and soccer all into one blur that soon no longer looked like sports.

    Pablo and Andres Escobar, though not related by blood, were more connected than brothers. Pablo ruled a criminal world run with an iron fist and Andres was the captain of the Colombian soccer team, one of the best in the world.

    This documentary shows how their paths crossed and the journeys they took, both ending in premature death.

    This movie will grab you and not let go from start to finish. The story is fascinating and borders on fiction. This is a must-see."

    I'm sold.

No. 1: Goal! the Dream Begins

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    The first movie of the "Goal!" series, "Goal! The Dream Begins" is without a doubt a must-watch for any soccer fan.

    The movie follows the story of inner-city youth, Santiago Munez, whose standout talent for soccer carries him all the way to England and the Premier League.

    Through his journey, Munez overcomes numerous challenges and comes back from the edge of despair to realize his dream of being a professional footballer.

    The movie was made with full cooperation from FIFA, thus featuring real teams and players throughout the film. 

    As a side note, an edited version of the trailer for "Goal" was made for Manchester United's Chicharito (Javier Hernandez). Check it out here, its actually kind of cool.

    Feel free to mention any movies you thought deserved to be on the list, or movies that you think are great but may not be good enough to make the top 10 of all time, and thanks for reading!

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