This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  January 1963 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,309 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 45 critic

Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst beings to materialize as aggression and brutality, and he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Lockender Lorbeer  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Richard Harris is roughed up behind the scrum, rugby league legend Derek Turner, who was playing the character who punches him, was asked by the director to make the contact look real. So he did. He punched Harris for real and knocked him out completely, shooting for the day had to be stopped while Harris recovered. See more »


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


Here In My Heart
Written by Pat Genaro, Lou Levinson and Bill Borrelli
Performed by Richard Harris
See more »

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User Reviews

Stark and uncompromising
9 June 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

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?

21 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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