Soccer, or football in many parts of the world, is often referred to as “the beautiful game.” When a great game between two competitive sides is flowing well, it is not difficult to see why. We have been treated to some incredible moments over the years with some exceptional talent across the world battling it out in many leagues, competitions, and cups. Many filmmakers have translated the appeal of soccer onto the big screen with movies that span many genres. We’ve taken to the screen and picked the best soccer movies and where to stream them.
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1. Green Street Hooligans
With many sports, but English football in particular, comes some hooliganism. Green Street follows an American journalism student called Matt (played by Elijah Wood) who moves to London with his sister. During this time, he meets a football hooligan by the name of Pete (Charlie Hunnam) and is sucked into a tribal world of warring fanbases. With brutal street fights showcasing the shocking reality of football fan violence in England, this one is definitely worth a watch.
Green Street Hooligans and its sequels are available to stream via Apple TV.
2. Bend It Like Beckham
This next entry centers on a young girl who is the daughter of two strict Indian parents in London. They refuse to allow her to play soccer for a team. One day, she is playing a game for fun and her skills are noticed by another girl named Jules (Keira Knightley). Jules convinces her to play for her semi-pro team, which she has to try to hide from her family in creative ways. The reason why this is one of the best soccer movies ever is because it is just as much about discovery and self-identity as it is about the sport. On top of all of that, she has a major crush on her coach.
Bend It Like Beckham is available to stream on Disney+
3. Kicking & Screaming
Something about sports lends itself incredibly well to comedy. Kicking & Screaming is a soccer comedy movie starring Will Ferrell as a man named Phil who could never live up to his father’s sporting expectations. It turns out that his son is just as poor at sports as he was and so Phil takes on the role of coach at his son’s struggling soccer team. Well, Phil’s father is the coach of the best team in the league, which means the estranged father and son go head-to-head for the title in a hilarious face-off.
Kicking & Screaming is available to stream on Prime Video.
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4. Fever Pitch
Although there was a baseball-based American remake of the same name, Fever Pitch from 1997 is a classic soccer movie out of England. Based on Nick Hornby’s autobiographical novel, it follows English teacher Paul Ashworth who is obsessed with Arsenal football club. He meets and falls in love with a woman and attempts to unhook his life from soccer to make his newfound relationship work. Starring Colin Firth, this romantic sports comedy is one of the best in the business.
It is available to stream via Prime Video.
5. The Game of Their Lives
While soccer is increasing in popularity within the United States, for many years the quality of the national team was drastically inferior to the nation where soccer was invented, England. This film follows the true story of the US national team preparing to play England in the 1950 world cup and overcoming the immense odds to emerge victorious. It stars the lies of Gerard Butler and Patrick Stewart and is definitely one to watch to brush up on your soccer history through an entertaining flick.
You can stream The Game of Their Lives on Tubi or Vudu.
6. Shaolin Soccer
For a completely crazy soccer comedy movie, look no further than the outrageous Shaolin Soccer. After a young man has spent his life being treated poorly, he persists in his passion for kung fu. He notices that there is a soccer tournament coming up, with a grand prize of a million dollars.
Seeing an opportunity to lift himself out of poverty, he teams up with six friends to take on the tournament with a whole new style of soccer, using their martial arts expertise. Packed with action and comedy, this is one of the most entertaining soccer movies of all time.
Shaolin Soccer is available to watch on Paramount+.
7. The Damned United
Brian Clough is one of the most legendary soccer managers of all time but this film focuses on his turbulent 44-day spell as the manager of Leeds United in 1974. Based on the book of the same name by David Pearce, it sees the outspoken Clough (played by Martin Sheen) quickly alienating the players, staff, and ownership of Leeds United. This dark and dramatic insight into the period still manages to inject some humor in place and is worth watching for any fan of the game.
The Damned United is available to stream on Prime Video.
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What are we basing the best soccer movies on?
True entertainment. Many of these movies are still brought up in conversations today showing just how classic and timeless they are. The best part is that you can stream them from the comfort of your own home. Or, who knows, these movies might insight a sudden interest in you to learn soccer.
That’s definitely one of the appeals of soccer, or football, movies. These movies can strike a chord with so many audiences whether you love soccer or know nothing about it. They also encompass a wide variety of genres including drama, comedy, romance, action and more. Regardless of your taste or if you are a fan of sports, you will find something to enjoy from the list above.