If you're a football fan and live in Canada like we do here at FootyFair, Netflix is not necessarily your go-to platform for great soccer programming (unless Kicking and Screaming featuring Will Farrell is your thing). Nonetheless, if you are interested in a few football related films and don't have the patience to convert your IP address to unlock the US version of the site (which does unfortunately have many other great titles), I have put together a list of four films that are both fotball related and cinematically a lot more appealing than the 1995 "family sport comedy" The Big Green.
This is definitely not your typical football flick. Action on the pitch doesn't dominate the story in this tale of Brazilian footballer Heleno de Freitas. More than anything the film is about Heleno's life outside the stadium, a remarkable player who practiced his trade mostly with Brazilian club Botafogo in the 1940's, the film goes back and forth between the colorful footballer's glory days and his final years as a patient with advanced syphilis in a sanatorium.
Perhaps the film itself is not a masterpiece, but it is on my list of "must watch" because of the story of a great footballer long forgotten and the director's incredible ability to depict Brazil in the '40s in black and white.
Kicking It (2008)
The Homeless World Cup is a tournament established in 2003 and has been played every single year since. Last year, we here at FootyFair talked a bit about the 2014 edition of the tournament which was hosted in Santiago, Chile.
Kicking It is a documentary film covering the journey of six homeless footballers to Cape Town, South Africa where the 2006 tournament was held. Nerrated by Irish actor Colin Farrell, this film is a moving piece for football fans and humans with no ties to the game alike.
The Beautiful Game (2012)
Simply put: It's a beautiful documentary showing how the game of football helps communities in modern day Africa with individual stories from six different nations from accross the continent. The Beautiful Game is another inspirational documentary about the game we all love. From lower crime rates to rise in GDP when an African nation gains some success in an international tournament, football in Africa (at least according to some participants interviewd for this film) "is bigger than religion".
The Class of '92 (2013)
As a kid (and adult) who grew up absolutely hating The Red Devils, it's hard for me to sit down and dedicate 90-120 minutes to a cinematic creation that concentrates on that specific club; Manchester United. Nonetheless, United (2011) was a pretty good film and I figured I could sit through an hour and a half of a Manchester United story just a few hours after the club has been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League :)
I am almost embarassed to admit however, that this documentary (on a number of ocassions I might add) has managed to become the only Man United related thing to send goosebumps down my spine as I was watching David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers tell their side of Premier League history that I had witnessed growing up, whether I liked it or not.
Little stories that for the most part only the players in the dressing room would know, is exactly what makes this film pretty incredible. Like the one about the time Nicky Butt burned Peter Schmeickel's manhood with a hot kettle...yes, really!
Whatever your alligience, The Class of '92 is a great production that tells the story of six highly talented footballers and their experience of growing up and playing the game together.