Great soccer movies of the '80s? Not enough to fill a World Cup
Great soccer movies aren't hard to find. Even bad soccer movies are relatively commonplace. But you'll find them ALL in the last 10 years or so. Bend It Like Beckham, A Shot At Glory, even the dreadful Ladybugs and Kicking & Screaming.
But look for a soccer movie in the '80s and ... cricket, cricket, cricket. I almost wanted to count 1984's Karate Kid, because Daniel-San has a few soccer moments before ditching the sport for karate. And of course, there's the far more soccer-friendly Gregory's Girl (above photo), a Scottish gem from 1981 that actually made Entertainment Weekly's list of Top 50 movies about high school.
So really, can we just get to it? It all starts and ends with Victory, the 1981 movie (sometimes called Escape to Victory) that stars Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow. More importantly, it co-stars every big soccer star of the time, including Bobby Moore, Paul Van Himst and Pelé as Allied prisoners of war who take on the German national team in a "friendly" game of soccer in Paris.
It holds the title of simultaneously being one of my favorite war movies, sports movies and '80s movies, thanks mainly to my theorem that Max von Sydow makes any movie great. And yes, I own it on DVD. (It's available on Netflix as well.)
There's still plenty of time to rent it before the next match of your fave World Cup team. (Sorry about the draw on Saturday, England. Consider it karmic payback for that whole Boston Massacre thing.)