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This Sporting Life

This Sporting Life

Genders: Drama, Sport

Director: Lindsay Anderson

Writer: David Storey (screenplay), David Storey (novel)

Actors: Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel, William Hartnell

Year: 1963
Run time: 134min
IMDB score: 7.8
Updated: one year ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: This Sporting Life

Genders: Drama, Sport

Imdb Score: 7.8

Runtime: 134min

Released: 01 Jan 1963

Director: Lindsay Anderson

Writer: David Storey (screenplay), David Storey (novel)

Actors: Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel, William Hartnell

Imdb Link

This Sporting Life Available Subtitles

Brazilian Portuguese subtitles This Sporting Lifeone year ago
Chinese subtitles This Sporting Lifeone year ago
Greek subtitles This Sporting Lifeone year ago
Serbian subtitles This Sporting Lifeone year ago
Spanish subtitles This Sporting Life2 years ago
English subtitles This Sporting Life2 years ago

Review

Richard Harris does his best in this depressing drama.

10/10 Richard Harris; although one of his best works, plays the rugby man always lusting after the widowed Mrs.Hammond, Rachel Roberts. The two act together until the end which ends in tragedy, but nonetheless, you must see this movie because Richard Harris was nominated for an Academy Award as was Rachel Roberts.If you are not in a mood for a sad ending to your day, save this until morning; it is not for the light hearted. Nonetheless, it is regarded as a classic and is also a movie where Richard Harris is playing a part that was actually something to him. Before getting tuberculosis at age 19, he was a professional rugby player. He regarded this as one of his best movies. It is also one of his earliest movies, so you can think about how young "that Dumbledore guy" was. ---He even sings a song in this movie; long before he knew his career would take him into the singing business. Also something to look forward to in the movie. Anyway, highly recommended!

Camelot and The Field are also two Richard Harris must-sees.

one year ago

Stark and uncompromising

10/10 Set in the working class environs of Northern England (Yorkshire), this is a
stark and uncompromising film. Richard Harris gives a performance of a lifetime as a rugby player who, both on and off the field of play, seems able to express himself only through violence.

Lindsay Anderson directs wonderfully, insisting on gritty realism, and stripping everything of any hint of cinematic glamour. Unlike the French "nouvelle vague", Anderson wasn't interested in technique for its own sake: he was more concerned with actual substance. Here, he explores the depths of the characters, and their relationships with each other; and, in particular, their emotions, which are volcanic. Never have such naked passions been portrayed on screen with such power. One feels somewhat drained by the end.

Something was happening in the British cinema in the 60s. Where did it all disappear?

one year ago

Depressing but powerful

8/10 If you want two hours of enjoyment, forget about it. This is one of the most depressing films ever made. Every grim feature of post war North of England is piled on in black and white - chimneys, mean terraces, cooling towers, mucky fields, stunted ambition and rising damp. A contemporary view of the early 1960s, you're given all the warts and none of the glitter.

But both performance and plot reek with power and there is a compulsive attraction to see a story through to a bitter end that you know has no trace of sentiment. The tight coldness of Margaret Hammond (Rachel Roberts), steadfastly refusing to let herself be happy for a second time in her life, grinds against the macho world that Frank Machin (Richard Harris) has climbed into.

It is one of Harris's two great roles and came near the start of his career (the other being Bull McCabe in "The Field" which came near the end) and possibly came closest to the forces that drove him through his life. His skill at and love of rugby gives the sporting dimension of the film a realism that very few others can match. Much of the passion that he showed on the screen came from experiences on the playing field in a career that was cut short through illness before he could realise his full potential. Anger at that lost opportunity is seen better in this film than in any other he made.

There are many other films in this genre when British cinema turned its back on elegance or heroism but none has captured the mood of resentment better than this. More than forty years on, it's still as raw as ever.

one year ago

An early 60s masterpiece

5/10 This masterpiece by Lindsay Anderson should be on any film aficionado's must-see list. It is an uncompromising study of alienation, social class, maturity, and loneliness. Richard Harris gives a performance of astonishing realism: it seems unlikely he could ever surpass it. The character moves from physicalized anger to tenderness often within a moment. Harris builds to a completely believable dramatic eruption by the climax. He is matched along the way by Rachel Roberts, a great actress in an unforgettable role: a woman unwilling to let go of the past and the pain it contains.

Anderson populates the film with several other memorable characters. There are scenes of nearly unbearable intensity and anguish (Frank's drunken ballad sung in a bar, or Margaret's pleading to be left alone). Also of note, the film functions on two levels at once: in "real time" and in Frank's memory, which he may be coloring by his own reactions (something for the viewer to contemplate).

The black and white cinematography is often beautiful as it poeticizes Frank's plight (for example, near the end of the film, he ends up wandering along moonlit railway tracks in a world of steely, silvery loneliness. Also of note, the wonderfully nightmarish music by Roberto Gerhard, an avant-garde composer who differed with the director on the scoring the film.

See the film on DVD for maximum quality. Although the disc contains no special features, it is good to know this great picture has been preserved in the new medium.

one year ago

One of the Best of the "Kitchen Sink" Films

8/10 "This Sporting Life" is one of the most famous of the British "kitchen sink" dramas of the 1950s and 1960s ("kitchen sink" films were very gritty, social realist films which were very popular in Britain at one time).

Frank Machin (Richard Harris) is a brutal, young miner in a city in northern England. Hoping for fame and fortune, he becomes a successful Rugby League football player. He uses his fame and fortune, along with physical violence, to try to force his widowed landlady (Rachel Roberts) to fall for him.

Photographed in bleak black-and-white, the film's scenes of emotional and physical domestic violence are still shocking today. Also notable are the violent, stylishly-shot rugby matches.

The cast are brilliant without exception, especially Richard Harris who manages to invest even his totally unsympathetic character with some degree of humanity.

one year ago