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This Sporting Life (1963)

 -  Drama | Sport  -  January 1963 (UK)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,522 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 38 critic

In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges ... See full summary »

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Title: This Sporting Life (1963)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rachel Roberts ...
Mrs. Margaret Hammond
Alan Badel ...
Gerald Weaver
...
'Dad' Johnson
Colin Blakely ...
Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ...
Mrs. Anne Weaver
Anne Cunningham ...
Judith
Jack Watson ...
Len Miller
...
Charles Slomer
Harry Markham ...
Wade
George Sewell ...
Jeff
...
Phillips, Sports writer
Katherine Parr ...
Mrs. Farrer
Bernadette Benson ...
Lynda Hammond
Andrew Nolan ...
Ian Hammond
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Storyline

In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges with Mrs Hammond, whose husband was killed in an accident at Weaver's, but his impulsive and angry nature stop him from being able to reach her as he would like. He becomes increasingly frustrated with his situation, and this is not helped by the more straightforward enticements of Mrs Weaver. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

This Sporting Life  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the budget would not stretch to the thousands needed for the rugby league match scenes at Belle Vue, director Lindsay Anderson deployed hundreds of wooden dummies to stand amongst the human extras for the crowd scenes. See more »

Quotes

Frank Machin: We don't have stars in this game, Mrs Weaver, that's soccer.
Mrs. Anne Weaver: What *do* you have?
Frank Machin: People like me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Free Cinema (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Back to Happiness
Written by John Schroeder and Mike Hawker
Performed by Kim Leslie
Backed by Tommy Fisher and the Mis-Fits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Insolently sublime masterpiece
4 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

This title mostly stays obscurely distant to the wider audience, which is utterly sad, almost as the movie itself. "This sporting life" marks era of the British New Wave, but it is somehow off the French mellow tracks. Frank Machin is rude and robust, just like the circumstances of time and place. After swift uplift of cinematic themes, which almost totally set WWII into background, 1960ies made Brits turn the mirror inwards. Medium of film was open for investigating and reflecting what hides in one's inner and where could it lead. In circle, surely, as well-tried French recipe of the era already settled the never-ending mental pattern.

This is basically a love story, a tale of two fairly different people joined in their solitude. They glide through scenery of urban and mental squalor, wonderfully photographed by Denys N. Coop. Shades of the mind are so aptly blended with interiors and every feeling convincingly underlined by many (but never one too many) close-ups. By my account, the only moment which was superfluous happened in the fancy restaurant: Frank taking Margaret and her new fur-coat to dinner to a place that was never intended for them. Frank's rawness in the situation was a bit over the top, movie could have well done without it, or at least with having it toned down.

Nevertheless, poetry is inevitable. Lindsay Anderson managed to draw tenuity out of time, places and persons who struggled against each other. Finale offered the only possible solution: For those who stayed – "after all…tomorrow is another day."


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