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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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(screenplay), (novel)
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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

Bernadette Benson, the eight-year-old actress who played Lynda Hammond, achieved newspaper publicity in her quest to be exempted from the film's X certificate which prohibited children under the age of 16 from seeing it. She said that it was perverse that she was able to see the rushes of the film as it was being made but was too young to be allowed to see the finished film at the cinema. See more »

Quotes

Frank Machin: [to scantily clad nightclub singer] Eh love, show us your personality!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013) 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

 
Brilliant, Memorable; Yet ....
2 March 2006 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

I saw this at a theater years ago. It had sunk into what appears to be obscurity -- highly undeservedly. Tonight I saw it on the small screen. And as powerful and, oddly, as shockingly intimate as it is, it doesn't work as well this way.

Why? The reason is the structure. The straightforward scenes are searing.. But there are hallucinations that have Richard Harris now in one situation, then in another, then lying back in the dentist's chair. Call me a Philistine but on a 20-inch screen this Resnais-like "Is it or isn't it?" is hard to follow.

That said, it is a beautiful movie overall. The lead performances have rarely been equaled. Richard Harris, as a headstrong rugby player, is convincing 100%. Rachel Roberts plays the rather dour, confused and grieving widow from whom he lets a room and whom he loves. She was not conventionally beautiful but she had extraordinary screen presence. Their every scene together is chilling and poignant.

The structure is there. The movie is finished and could never be properly well made. It is a sort of angry young man meets French New Wave. Anyone reading this who might be put off by my confession about finding it a bit rough to follow on a TV screen: Please do not be put off. This is a very serious, insightful movie, well performed all around. And you are unlikely to see Harris better in anything else and, sadly, unlikely to see Ms. Roberts in much else at all.


12 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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