With soccer being the worlds most popular sport, it should come as no surprise that there are thousands of different movies about the sport. The quality is mixed to say the least, but there are some really good movies that will capture your soccer heart.
Below is our list of the 20 greatest soccer movies of all time, from made-up storylines to movies based on real-world events.
1. The Two Escobars
The name Escobar in Colombia is something that will live on forever. Not only was there Pablo Escobar, a drug baron that made international news for all the wrong reasons, but Andres Escobar is also known in the soccer community.
Escobar was one of the star players on the Colombian national team, putting them in a position to possibly make a historic run at the 1994 World Cup. This film talks about how the two Escobars crossed paths in a few different ways.
The country was changing at the same time that all this was going down, and Escobar himself ended up dead after scoring his own goal during the elimination round of the World Cup. A film by ESPN, it is worth checking out for anyone interested in soccer, or a tragic sports story in general.
2. Fever Pitch
Whether it is love for football or love for a woman, Fever Pitch is all about being passionate about the most important things in life. The title character is focused on balancing his two love lives that continually get in the way. Can he pull it off?
Many people believe that the movie is not nearly as good as the book, but it still is worth checking out for anyone who enjoys soccer as a plot of the movie.
3. Green Street Hooligans
Not everyone is a huge fan of hooligans following soccer, but this movie does a good job of glorifying it to a certain extent. After being kicked out of school, the main character flies to England to visit his sister. He really gets into West Ham football and becomes part of Green Street Elite.
The ups and downs of being a hooligan are fairly accurately displayed in this movie. It makes for an interesting watch, especially for people who are into the English Premier League.
4. Goal! (Trilogy)
It is a trilogy that makes the most sense for people who thoroughly enjoy soccer because it might be a bit too intense for others. Give it a try with at least the first movie, and then decide on the ones after that. It really just comes down to what a person wants to get out of a soccer movie to be interested in all three.
5. The Football Factory
Hooliganism does not get much bigger than around Chelsea, which is exactly what The Football Factory focuses on. The main character Tommy Johnson is a huge supporter of Chelsea, and he is wondering if it is still worth following the team as much as he does.
There are some bumps along the way, but it is an interesting watch to see just what goes into being a huge supporter of a major soccer club. It glorifies hooligans to some extent, but people still like the inside look that is really seen.
6. The Match
A rare romantic comedy that is surrounded by soccer, there are definitely some love storylines in the movie, but the premise is pretty simple. It involves a bet between two pubs in a Scottish village. Whoever wins the 100th match would live on with their pub, while the other would close forever.
The ultimate game leads up to an interesting storyline and is worth the watch if never seen before. It might not be the best of the best as far as movies are concerned, but many soccer fans can relate to just how much games matter to certain followers out there.
7. Bend It Like Beckham
When Bend it Like Beckham was first released in the United States, not everyone was aware of what the comedy was about. It involves two main girls in the movie, with one dream of becoming a professional soccer player. The only problem is that she is part of a Sikh family, so she has never been able to play a sport like this.
With love for David Beckham, which is why the film is named what it is, Jess never gives up. She eventually secretly joins a team and begins to live a different type of life, playing soccer in a way she never thought possible.
8. The Damned United
For 44 days, Brian Claude is the person in charge of Leeds United. Some people believe that this is somewhat of a true story, and while some of it does match up, it is a fictionalized version of real events.
Like many films out there, many think that the book is slightly better than the movie. However, it brings everything to life, and tells a story that is a bit of an unknown to those who were not around at the time.
9. The Firm
If it seems like hooliganism is the main theme in a lot of soccer movies, The Firm is yet another one confirming that thought. However, it was the first real one to glorify this type of living, as it was released in 1988. It focuses on all the activities of West Ham’s Inner City Firm. During the 1970s and 1980s, this hooliganism got a bit out of hand.
The movie shows the good and the bad of balancing a normal life and being a hooligan. It is something that a lot of rabid soccer fans have had to deal with over the years.
10. The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
Known as one of the first movies to ever use soccer as a major part of the plotline, this is 1939 film is about a fictional team going up against Arsenal. The problem with the fictional team is that one of their players dies during the match. It is up to a detective to solve the problem.
It is a step back in time, and the plot might not be as interesting as some would like, but it is still worth a watch if never seen before. Just from a historic perspective, some shots are worth checking out.
11. Escape To Victory
With a cast of stars like Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Bobby Moore, and even Pele, this 1981 film is a must-watch for people who want some soccer in their life. It focuses on events that took place in Ukraine during World War II.
During that time, prisoners were challenged to a football match by those working as German officers. Instead of a match taking place traditionally, an escape plan was put together at the same time. It is not the most intriguing film of all time, but it is worth checking out all the stars that make an appearance.
12. The Miracle Match
The United States has always been a bit of an underdog. That was definitely the case in 1950, as a team was put together in a short amount of time with little training. This film takes a look at what that squad was able to accomplish, beating England in what is still considered the most impressive win in the country’s history.
The Miracle Match is put together pretty well, and Gerard Butler does a great job as the headline star. It is definitely worth a look for those who do not know much about the story with generally positive reviews.
13. The Game of Their Lives
Not really feeling the synopsis of the Miracle Match? For those who want another take on the upset win for the United States, this is another movie worth checking out. Those who have enough free time to watch both will find it to be different enough that it is worth trying out, but the premise is basically the same.
Availability is sometimes a little difficult for both movies, but this one is currently on a few streaming services. Since the events happened so long ago, not everyone is all that familiar with the storyline. Getting any slightly different perspective is worth it to some.
14. Mike Bassett: England Manager
Those who enjoy a good mockumentary will love Mike Bassett: English manager. It is all about taking a look at being an England manager in a lighthearted way. Whether it is making jokes at the expense of England football, the press, or football players themselves, it is meant to be a funny look at something taking so seriously most of the time.
Ricky Tomlinson plays Mike Bassett, and he has been able to put together a pretty solid career as an actor. He is very funny in his starring role and makes this film one worth checking out for a good laugh.
15. The Big Green
Kids can still get a kick out of this movie, and the older generation might remember this from their childhood. It is worth a rewatch in some instances, but do not expect it to be the best movie out there.
16. The Miracle of Bern
In 1954, West Germany made a pretty remarkable run to the World Cup finals in Switzerland. Many thought that there was no chance of them making a run so quickly after World War II, but it was one for the ages.
With The Miracle of Bern, people get a glimpse of what Germany looks like after World War II. It is a step back in time that many people are not really entirely sure about, making it worth checking out without question.
17. Rise Of The Footsoldier
The movie, which is based on true events, talks about a former member of West Ham’s Inner City firm. Going from days as a hooligan all the way to be in the world of crime, it is an interesting look at how things can evolve so quickly.
If people believe that this is just another hooligan movie, it is not exactly that. Think of it as a different twist that has a lot of unpredictable parts to it, keeping people on the edge of their seats.
With Rodney Dangerfield as the coach, this 1982 sports comedy film is about a girl’s soccer team that has plenty of misfits. It has been lost in the shuffle a bit with other 1990s films surrounding sports, but it is still worth checking out for people who want to see Dangerfield’s lighter side in general.
Although it is considered somewhat of a poor release initially, people have gravitated towards it a little more in recent years. Kid soccer fans might find it worth checking out and watching for some laughs.
19. Kicking & Screaming
This Will Ferrell movie is all about combining his character and his father going against each other in a big matchup. Being the rival coaches of their son’s soccer teams, There is a lot of back-and-forths trying to one-up each other along the way.
As far as comedies are concerned, this is definitely one of the better ones in the last few years. It might be a bit too juvenile for some people, but it shows that soccer can work as a driving force for a comedy.
20. She’s The Man
Many people were pleasantly surprised by how good a movie She’s The Man turned out to be. The premise is a girl trying to pretend to be a boy to play on the soccer team. Most thought that this would be a little too unrealistic to work.
Amanda Bynes receives a lot of credit for being someone who brought her character to life. Many believe that she carried the movie, and it ended up being a moderate box office hit because of that. This was also an early appearance for Channing Tatum, one of the other players on the roster.