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This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  January 1963 (UK)
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Reviews: 64 user | 45 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 »



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Title: This Sporting Life (1963)

This Sporting Life (1963) on IMDb 7.9/10

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Margaret Hammond
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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sean Connery was considered to play Frank Machin. Although he was interested in the film, it was decided that he lacked the finesse and aggression required. See more »


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 »


Spoofed in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) 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

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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