Best Movies by Farr
This Sporting Life Poster
Released Runtime Category
1963 135 Drama, Sports Movies, The Criterion Collection
Director Language
Lindsay Anderson English
Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts

This Sporting Life

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What's it About

Boorish Yorkshire coal miner Frank Manchin (Harris) longs to be a champion rugby player, and eventually wins a try-out after muscling his way to the attention of a city team. With his star on the rise, Frank avidly pursues Mrs. Hammond (Roberts), the sullen, grieving widow he lodges with and has fallen for with a mix of animal yearning and quiet desperation. But Frank’s macho rebelliousness is no match for her bitter and passionless view of life.

Why we love it

Combining kitchen-sink realism and visceral, football-field punch, Lindsay Anderson’s bracing kick-spin on tragic love is (for my sixpence) one of the nerviest Angry Young Man films of the 1960s. Adapted by David Storey from his own novel, the film features a galvanic, Brando-esque performance by Harris, a burly, open-mouthed battering ram of primal impulses, while Roberts plays the wounded widow with inscrutable complexity. DP Denys Coop shoots the thrilling match sequences from the ground up — you feel every nose-busting hit, starting with the opening-shot scrum — all aiding in the film’s secondary theme of sports-world exploitation. What a "Life" indeed!

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"