Top 10 Best Football (Soccer) Movies

Football is nothing but a story. A story that speaks for itself. However, there have been numerous attempts to document the game of football and life beyond it. Let us have a look into some of the greatest soccer movies ever made.

List Of Top 10 Best Football (Soccer) Movies

10. The Goal Trilogy (2005-2009)

The Goal Trilogy - Best Football Movies

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One of the most popular film series, “The Goal Trilogy” continues to occupy a special place in many hearts out there. It has an average IMDB rating of 6. 

Although the first two films were masterpieces in their own right, many feel that the third shouldn't have been made because it destroyed the legacy of the football series.

"Goal! The Dream Begins( 2005)" shows the extremely talented Santiago Muñez is spotted by a Newcastle United scout and given a chance at professional football. It has the recipe of the unknown with the heart of gold; a unique and virtuosic talent, from a downtrodden and hopeless setting, the brooding and unsupportive parent who refuses to accept his child's potential; the doting grandparent who can see the potential that lies within our hero; the outsider who promises a way to fame and fortune. A “rags to riches” story.

It is followed by "Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)" which tells the story NU star, Muñez (Kuno Becker) is offered a spot with Real Madrid and how he accepts, but the move - accompanied by big money and fame - tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends, and business acquaintances. Although the element of storytelling is not as good as the first one, it compensates with its legendary cast and their presence on the screen.

The third film shows the heroes competing on the greatest stage, the FIFA World Cup Finals. This film is disappointing on many levels to say the least.

9. The Football Factory (2004)

The Football Factory-Best Football Movie

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The Football Factory is directed by Nick Love and based on the book written by John King. It stars Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Neil Maskell, and Tamer Hassan. Rated 6.5 on IMDB with an audience score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The story is about what was termed The English Disease, a disease where like-minded adults from various walks of life, religiously took to fighting, in the name of what football team they happened to support. There's been a ream of books written on the subject.

The culture of hooliganism in football has been controversial over the past decade or so especially when it comes to English fans. It gives us an insight into the gritty life of a bored male, Chelsea football hooligan who lives for violence, sex, drugs & alcohol.

It's not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination but it leaves us intrigued and uneasily satisfied.

8. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006)

Zidane-Best Football Movie

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Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle offers an unusual and surprisingly thoughtful experience, providing a sense of the frustration and isolation of a legendarily talented footballer, but little more just like the player himself. With a rating of 6.3 on IMDB, this film is more of Zidane than football, so get your expectations right before you start watching the film. 

I can see why people criticize the film but I think this was a brave effort to examine one of the greatest footballers of our generation in a different way and to enable us to make up your own mind rather than a narrator explaining from the perspective of football.

Darius Khondji's cinematography was mind-blowing. The sound design was phenomenal, imploding the Bernabeu and Zidane in a way that watching a football match on television never could. 

It is definitely worth a one time watch if you have ever seen the master play and been in love with his football.

7. Mean Machine(2001)

Mean Machine-Best Football Movie

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Mean Machine is an English reworking of Robert Aldrich's 1974 beefcake Burt Reynolds starrer, The Longest Yard. With an IMDB rating of 6.5, it shows disgraced ex-captain of England, Danny Mean Machine Meehan, thrown in jail for assaulting two police officers and how he coaches the prison football team to play against the guards.

Despite the formula being predictable, the film had a great production value, sharp dialogue, and a great supporting cast of Guy Ritchie characters. Like the original( The Longest Yard), this film was made to entertain the audience and not provoke some deep introspective thought. 

Vinnie Jones is brilliant as Danny Meehan and Jason Statham as "The Monk" along with Jason Fleyming's unconventional commentatory is nothing but classic vintage stuff. The match is what the audience wants to see and that is beautifully constructed which is worth the wait. 

Overall, this is a fun little film that shouldn't be taken too seriously but just considered as a simple soccer delight to watch.

6. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Shaolin Soccer-Best Football Movies

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What happens when Stephen Chow writes, directs, and stars in probably his funniest avatar? An IMDB rating of 7.3 along with a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Some say that it is probably the most successful Hong Kong movie ever made. It's nothing more than a simple story where a Shaolin follower assembles his five childhood friends so that they can use their martial arts skills to play football and thereby popularize Shaolin kung fu.

One of the goofiest, strangest, dumbest, and funniest films ever made catering to the audience of every age group. 

A  slapstick film containing martial arts, supernatural abilities, some serious overacting, and the natural game of football and soccer. The simple, usual elements fitting exactly where they belong. And that makes it truly what it is.

5. Looking for Eric (2009)

Looking for Eric-Best Football Movies

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With an IMDB rating of 7.2, "Looking for Eric" is probably Ken Loach's most entertaining film in my opinion. It is a funny film but I won't call it a comedy. At some point, maybe even call it a social satire. 

It is a story of an Eric Bishop( Steve Evets), a football fanatic postman whose life is descending into crisis and how he receives some life coaching from the other Eric, the philosophical one, none other than Eric Cantona. As he says in the film, "I am not a man...I am Cantona."

For an ardent Manchester Red, the film scores just like the man himself.  The character that Cantona plays adds even more depth especially in the beginning. Watching all the stories come together and seeing Eric pull himself together makes it a phenomenal watch.

Not just a slapstick comedy. Something more than that, something far beyond that.

4. Argentina Fútbol Club( 2010)

Argentina Fútbol Club-Best Football Movies

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When we talk about football, we don't just mean the game, we mean passion. Argentinians are one of the most passionate and legendary fanbases in the entire world. 

The best part about this film, however, is how it is beyond football. It shows us how the personalities of these fanbases are shaped by these clubs. It circles on life beyond football.

The rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate is not something unknown to the football world. It goes beyond sports; a never ending struggle for identity. The film shows these intense football fanatics and what the game means to them; how it symbolizes unity and strength ripping apart the social structure which lies on the foundation of the economy. 

The songs of victory and the cries of defeat. 

It gives us a look into Argentina and the madness that exists in these fans, something far beyond the football pitch. A rating of 8.1 on IMDB which is great for a football movie.

3. Victory (1981)

Victory - Best Football Movies

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The movie is about how allied P.O.W.s prepare for a football game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris while the French Resistance and British officers make plans for the team's escape.

It has a rating of 6.7 on IMDB. 

The script of this unusual war film is not very special but is a treat for any football fan as it contains a great set of stars from the 70s including Pele, Bobby Moore, and Stallone as a funny goalkeeper. The fact that it had Michael Caine was a bonus. It packs crisp performances. 

Football was not an easy sport to film back then but the cinematography is simply gorgeous. Bill Conti offers an uplifting music score too. It feels like we're watching a documentary and that makes it even better.

Even though it doesn't have the best of scripts, it is still very close to the hearts of many football fans because of its cast and the beauty in watching them play. One of the best football movies ever made.

2. Pele: Birth of a Legend (2016)

Pele Birth of a Legend-Best Football Movie

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Arguably the greatest name in football history who has shaped and shifted the current style of playing football. The movie shows us the making and coming to be of Pele. It is one of the most spiritual movies that you will ever watch and is more heart than anything else. 

An IMDB rating of 7.2 and a 69% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The acting of Kevin de Paula and Leonardo Lima Carvalho as Pele is phenomenal. The movie is about small & humble beginnings, it's about friendship, it's about believing in oneself and taking the risk. 

Pele is someone that every football player looks up to at least once in their life. No football fan can ever deny their appreciation for Brasil and their masterful style of play, Joga Bonito. 

The camera work is stunning and there will be moments where you'll get goosebumps as you feel the greatness of the legend and his soccer.

Overall, a must-watch for every football fan.

1. Zanetti Story (2015)

Zanetti Story-Best Football Movies

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A one and a half-hour documentary one of the legends in world football, Javier Zanetti. It has a massive rating of 7.9 on IMDB and can be easily considered as a fan favourite as the legend himself. 

Zanetti, still a boy, leaves Buenos Aires to play in Europe in 1995. After arriving in Inter Milan, he was quick to gain popularity among the fans and become one of their favourites. 

As the years passed, many great players arrived in Milan but without winning the ultimate. Zanetti continued to train and fight however as though he had just started his career. His efforts bore fruit and at the age of 40, he finally won the Champions League which no other captain had won before for Inter. 

The story of the legend is narrated through the voices of the coaches, teammates, journalists, and professionals in the world of football. 

Albino Guaron, its writer, the greater Argentine writer dedicated his last novel to Zanetti.

The best of soccer. The best of football documentaries that made it to the screen and gave us a glimpse of beyond the game.

Here is our list of the top 10 best football (Soccer) Movies to watch.

10. The Goal Trilogy( 2005-2009)

9. The Football Factory (2004)

8. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006)

7. Mean Machine(2001)

6. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

5. Looking for Eric (2009)

4. Argentina Fútbol Club( 2010)

3. Victory (1981)

2. Pele: Birth of a Legend (2016)

1. Zanetti Story (2015)

Do let us know your opinions and which movies according to you should or should not be in this list.


- By Syed Tawsif Ahmed

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