Top 5 Football Films – World Cup Special

I love the World Cup. I mean I REALLY love it. The greatest sporting tournament the world has ever seen. Forget your Olympics, your Superbowl, your Topless Darts Championship, the football (or soccer if you recognise American independence, I don’t) World Cup is the beautiful game at its theoretical best. So in honour of the most watched sporting event in the universe here a selection of some of the best and worst football movies in existence.

Cantona would be proud

1. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Star player: Stephen Chow

How good is it? Imagine The Matrix crossed with Match of the Day and you’re pretty close. Β Stephen Chow plays a loser who loves kung-fu but laments the death of it in Chinese culture. He puts together a football team of martial-arts master monks on a quest to beat the aptly named Team Evil. Its a crazy film with lots of hilarious slapstick moments and over the top soccer matches. A plucky underdog that kicks ass as well as balls (wait, that didn’t sound right)

Team it resembles: The 1982 Northern Ireland team – underdogs who surprised the more experienced teams and knocked out the host country Spain!

download (1)
victory 2
Classic Stallone face

Β 2. Escape to Victory (1981)

Star player: Michael Caine

How good is it? Somehow Escape to Victory manages to be even more ridiculous than Shaolin Soccer. If you haven’t seen it, its the story of a group of WWII POWs who play in a football match against their Nazi captors while planning an elaborate escape. The heroes team consists of Pele, Michael Caine, a load of Ipswich Town players and Sly Stallone as their goalkeeper. I won’t spoil the ending which may be even more silly than what precedes it.

Country it resembles: Germany – dependable, always good to watch, you can never rule it out


Cantona blowing his own trumpet. Boom!
Cantona blowing his own trumpet. Boom!

3. Looking for Eric (2009)

Star player: Eric Cantona

How good is it? My favourite ever footballer/poet/philosopher/actor/fan-kicking frenchman Eric Cantona plays himself as the imaginary friend to a down on his luck postman. Cantona retired from football to pursue acting to varying success but he’s great here in this touching drama from Ken Loach. Not as grim as Loach’s usual misery, Looking for Eric is a treat.

Team it resembles: England – Good in theory but extremely mundane and vaguely irritating



4. Kicking and Screaming (2005)

Star player: Will Ferrell

How good is it? America has never really taken to proper football. Maybe its because they aren’t the best at it, maybe its because obese people can’t play it, or maybe its just too awesome for their bat swinging, helmet wearing sports people. Football is viewed as something for children to play which brings us to Kicking and Screaming, a Will Ferrell kids movie in the vein of The Mighty Ducks. Its good fun but displays a distinct lack of football knowledge.

Country it resembles: Belgium – Surprisingly good but probably won’t bother the top teams



5. Switching Goals (1999)

Star player: One of the Olsens, I can’t tell them apart

How good is it? What the fuck is this?!!! Burn it!!!

Team it resembles: Scotland – did not qualify


Have you got a favourite football film? Are you excited about the World Cup? Let me know this and anything else on your mind in the comments below. Gggggooooaaaallllllllllllllll!!!!


  1. Escape To Victory is mine. “I do this, I do this, I do this, I do this, I do this…goal”. Classic!!! I thought Fever Pitch was ok too. Can’t wait for Thursday, I try and catch every game at the World Cup but usually end up missing one or two. Will have to cut out films for a few weeks though.


  2. May I suggest Remember the Titans, Any Given Sunday…hey wait a minute.

    I can’t wait for Team USA to win the World Cup. Or you know, play a few games.


    • Hey Leah!

      You’re right, it has been years!

      Thanks for reading, it’s always nice to hear someone enjoys this shit!

      And I’ll have to check out that film. Any film that has Jackie Fullerton as a main character has to be great!


  3. Ohhhh yeah, world cup time! Even though it always means getting up in the middle of the night for me (pretty much the same this time around), it is my favourite sporting event too.

    I love Escape to Victory. My Nan seemed to be watching that every time we went over there for about a 10 year stretch, so have seen it a bunch of times.


  4. Oh I still need to see Looking For Eric! I interviewed Paul Laverty once and he’s such a sweet man. Never even heard of Shaolin Soccer before, that actually exist? Ha..ha..!


  5. Good stuff Mikey. I was very close to settling on soccer as my June theme for Throwback Thursday.

    . . . but then I bitched out and went with James Bond.


  6. ❀ this post. I have a special place in my heart for Mean Machine. The 2001 one with Vinnie Jones. You may commence pelting me with rotting fruit.


  7. Nice post Mikey. Shame so many good teams are out already…….like Italy & Spain. And of course theres Suarez, which as a Liverpool fan is bullshit………anyway, Kicking & Screaming is a great film, Ferrell loves his sport films πŸ™‚


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