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?


Albert Finney was the first choice to play Frank Machin, but he turned it down. See more »


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


Referenced in Film 2015: Episode dated 26 November 2014 (2014) See more »


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

60's British Film-making 101
27 July 2005 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

You know, the more I watch English movies from the 1960's, the more I fall in love with them, Films like I'm all Right Jack, Darling, Alfie, and now, This Sporting Edge, always feature the U.K. as this gritty place, where living is tough, and the people are tougher. Now, whether that's true to life I'm not sure (though I'd be interested to find out) but I sure get a kick out of these films, and I'm glad to add This Sporting Life to that list.

Richard Harris just acts the hell out of his role as a Miner who finds his forte as a star Rugby player. Let's stop here. Why aren't there any more Rugby movies? Soccer and Boxing are always popular sports in movies, but Rugby seems to be sadly neglected. Perhaps they thought this was the definitive movie on this subject? Anyways, Richard Harris's character, Frank Machin, maybe is a brilliant rugby player, but sort of not so in life, but that doesn't stop him from trying to succeed with what he has. The rich people, who of course, have control over the teams, give him some opportunities to move up in the Rugby world.. Some which he's comfortable with, like dropping his Father like a hot potato, other conditions, he's left wondering how low he has to go to make it big. Oooh.

So while Machin is trying to move up in the Rugby world, at home, he's trying to make the the move on his INCREDIBLY repressed landlady, played by Rachel Roberts. Who's that? I've never heard of her up to this movie, and seeing her in this makes me want to see more of her, because she's fabulous in this.

All in all, a great view.

19 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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