15 of the best soccer movies of all-time you need to watch at least once in your lifetime

15 of the best soccer movies of all-time you need to watch at least once in your lifetime

Claudia Kogi
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:16 PM

As arguably the globe's most popular spectator sport, and a game watched by billions across the globe, it is no surprise that filmmakers have tried to capture the essence of football onto celluloid for years. The results have brought about mixed emotions, from happy to sad, to unpredictable endings. But who does not love some little suspense? Here are some of the best soccer movies of all time you need to watch at least once in your lifetime.

Best soccer movies in 2022
15 of the best soccer movies of all-time you need to watch at least once in your lifetime. Photo: (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

One fun fact is that for every classic piece of cinema involving football, many more films come across as somewhat schmaltzy, too cliched, or fail to convey why soccer means so much to people. What are some of the best soccer movies based on true stories you need to watch?

The best football movies and TV shows

According to recent data analysis, there are numerous football films and television shows that, now more than ever, have taken over the film industry. Talk of Escape to Victory, Goal! The Dream Begins, and so many more.

15. There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

Best soccer movies
Cast of British drama film 'There's Only One Jimmy Grimble' in 2000. Photo: Tim Roney
Source: Getty Images

Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

In the movie, Jimmy's life would have been much easier if he had been the master of the game. However, he is not only a misfit but also a victim of bullying and an admirer of a girl he lacks the confidence to approach.

The 15-year-old teen wants to get picked to play for the school's soccer team, City. Fortunately, when Jimmy makes it to the team, he takes it to glory after he scores the winning goal and is later gifted a pair of boots. His goal was a major step in his life as he got the confidence to approach the girl he liked.

14. Pele: The Birth of A Legend

Best soccer movies based on true stories
A film poster for the movie, 'Pele: The Birth of a Legend.' Photo: @PeleTheBirthofaLegend
Source: Facebook

This is one of those best soccer movies based on true stories. The movie is more of a documentary about Pele, a veteran soccer player, and how he eventually rose to stardom. At the beginning of the film, the player is seen struggling to support his family between menial jobs in a poor neighbourhood in Brazil.

However, despite his living standards, he continued to nurture his skills in football and eventually became the player who won the 1958 FIFA World Cup.

13. When Saturday Comes

Best soccer movies based on true stories
'When Saturday Comes' star Pete Postlethwaite and partner Jaqueline Morish pose for photos at the premiere of the film in Sheffield. Photo: Paul Barker
Source: Getty Images

In the movie, Jimmy is a heavy drinker who aspires to be a professional soccer player. However, he is caught up in his local job in the brewery industry at the expense of achieving his dream. He then rejuvenates his hope again when he finds love.

His fate completely takes a turn when a recruiter discovers him and later gets featured in the Sheffield United Team, which was his ultimate dream team. When Saturday Comes is one of the best soccer movies for families to watch together.

12. Offside

Best soccer movies to watch
Offside's movie stars begging to be let in to watch their favourite game. Photo: @Offside2006IranianMovie
Source: Facebook

Even though the movie was released in 2006, it is still one of the best soccer movies in 2022. The movie revolves around gender segregation and football, whereby a group of Iranian girls is not allowed into the stadium to watch the game they cherish.

Their experience and plot to gain access and view the game are what the film explores. They must find a way to go around Iran's no-female-in-the-stadium policy and pose as men to disguise themselves.

11. The Game Of Their Lives

The Game Of Their Lives is one of the best soccer movies based on true stories. Although it was released in 2005, it was set in 1950, when the American football team defeated England in the World Cup, hosted in Brazil.

The movie is a reenactment of the first time a historic victory was won in the United States of America by a team of underdog players.

10. The Football Factory

Best soccer movies to watch
A film poster for 'The Football Factory film.' Photo: @TheFootballFactory (Modified by author)
Source: Facebook

The Football Factory is a movie that documents the life of Tommy Johnson and his hooliganism towards soccer. Being a member of the Chelsea Firm, Tommy is seen to have little interest in good conduct, which for the rest of the film, his careless lifestyle costs him his loved ones.

The film is a view of soccer hooliganism based on fans. It ends when Tommy rethinks his way of life and decides to focus on what he loves most, his soccer career.

9. The Damned United

In the movie, Brian Clough is determined to outdo his predecessor, a manager, but he fails to make good decisions for the team and ends up paying the price. His tenure as football manager of Leeds United in 1974 lasted only 44 days in office before he was laid off.

His short office time is central to the film while revealing soccer politics and its unpopular working ethics.

8. Mean Machine

Best football movies and tv shows
Film posters for the 'Mean Machine' movie. Photo: @MeanMachine (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Danny Meehan, played by Vinnie Jones, loses his place as team captain of the England national football team when he gets banned from the team due to game-fixing. He faces even more trials when he gets into a one-on-one brawl with the police, resulting in imprisonment.

While in prison, Danny creates and leads a team of inmates to play against the prison's officials and guards. And while the movie was released in 2001, it is an adaptation of the 1974 film, The Longest Yard.

7. Shaolin Soccer

Best soccer movies in 2022
Characters of the Shaolin Soccer movie. Photo: @ShaolinSoccer
Source: Facebook

The movie revolves around martial arts, whereby it is about a Shaolin follower who brings together five childhood friends who train in the act of martial art to form a team of soccer players who use their skill in the game to make the Shaolin Kong fu popular.

Even though it is one underrated film, it is one of the best soccer movies to watch.

6. Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso is a soccer television series based on the character of the title's name. Ted is an American college Football coach from Kansas City who gets employed as a coach to a team of English players looking to play in the English Premier League.

In the TV show, Lasso poses as an inexperienced coach who makes up for his lack of knowledge with determination and an optimistic demeanour. The series' first season was released in 2020, and it is in its second season. It is one of the best soccer movies in 2022.

5. Goal! The Dream Begins

Best football movies and tv shows
Movie signage photographed at the premiere of 'Goal! The Dream Begins' during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival on 30th April 2006, in New York City. Photo: Peter Kramer
Source: Getty Images

Released in 2005, the movie is regarded as the best trilogy in which it was created. It is the first of the trio, and its story is about a soccer enthusiast, Santiago Munez, who anticipates playing professionally.

The player then decides to reside in Los Angeles despite his Mexican nationality. Additionally, he chooses to pursue his dream as a soccer player amid disapproval from his family members.

Fortunately, it pays off, and he gets recruited to play for Newcastle United, an English team. He later faces pressure as he has to prove himself and ensure his return to the States is worth it all.

4. Fever Pitch

Best soccer movies in 2022
Jimmy Fallon Donates Fever Pitch Memorabilia to National Baseball Hall of Fame at ESPN Zone, Times Square in New York City. Photo: Jamie McCarthy
Source: Getty Images

Fever Pitch is the 1997 original of the adapted American variation released in 2005, based on baseball, with the Boston Red Sox aiming to win the World Series. The only difference is that it is soccer and more about Arsenal's league title win in the 1988/89 season.

Moreover, there is a clash of passion and romance as the main character, Colin Firth, struggles between balancing his new romantic relationship with a lady and the fandom of his admired team, Arsenal. It is one of the best emotional soccer movies to watch.

3. Escape To Victory

Escape To Victory is a 1981 all-star cast film regarded as one of the oldest soccer movies today. More like numerous archaic films on the plight of war, the film is one of freedom, only an approach to soccer.

It was produced by the late John Huston, who made sure to star high-profile personalities like Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallon, and legendary soccer players Bobby Moore and Pele.

2. Green Street

Elijah Wood stars in the movie as Matt, who faces undeserving rustication from Harvard University, living him no choice but to move in with his sister and her husband in England. While in England, he gets introduced to soccer and then learns about the culture of soccer hooliganism.

The professional is later enlightened about hooliganism which is portrayed in diverse and incredible ways. In the long run, he is seen learning about himself and discovering new limits he thought he would never reach.

1. Bend It Like Beckham

Best soccer movies based on true stories
Soccer event held in conjunction with the release of the movie 'Bend it Like Beckham.' Photo: Jeff Snyder
Source: Getty Images

If there is one film that pinpoints the main motive of soccer in society, it sure is Bend It Like Beckham. As the title suggests, the film has little to do with the football star David Beckham except for acknowledging his professionalism.

The film revolves around a girl who is passionate about soccer. It is currently one of the best soccer movies in 2022, as it has explored various themes such as sexuality, tradition, and gender stereotypes.

In the film, the girl is seen facing disapproval from her family, which she ignores, leading to her breakthrough in the form of recruitment into a local women's team.

Today, the entertainment industry has done a good job of ensuring everyone has a genre in the movies and television shows they want to watch. In this case scenario, it is clear that the list of the best soccer movies in 2022 is indeed long, thanks to the hard work by the film industry.

READ ALSO: Athletes who are vegan: Ranking the 15 most successful vegan athletes

Sportsbrief.com recently reported about 15 most successful vegan athletes. The more energetic you are, the more performance is expected from you. This then narrows down to the food they eat, increasing the number of athletes who are vegan.

However, some have completely different reasons for veganism depending on their upbringing or environmental-related issues. Click on the link above and find more information regarding these vegan athletes.

Claudia Kogi photo
Claudia Kogi
Claudia Kogi is a Kenyan content creator with over 3 years of experience. Claudia joined Sportsbrief.com as a writer in January 2022, covering sports and relatable content.