IMDb > This Sporting Life (1963)
This Sporting Life
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This Sporting Life (1963) More at IMDbPro »

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This Sporting Life -- One of the finest British films ever made, this benchmark of "kitchen-sink realism" follows the self-defeating professional and romantic pursuits of a miner turned rugby player eking out an existence in drab Yorkshire.
This Sporting Life -- Trailer: Richard Harris as the wild Frank Manchin


User Rating:
7.8/10   3,948 votes »
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David Storey (screenplay) and
David Storey (novel)
View company contact information for This Sporting Life on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
January 1963 (UK) See more »
In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(35 articles)
User Reviews:
A touch overlong but engaging in its naturalism and its character development See more (63 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Richard Harris ... Frank Machin

Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Margaret Hammond
Alan Badel ... Gerald Weaver

William Hartnell ... 'Dad' Johnson
Colin Blakely ... Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ... Mrs. Anne Weaver
Anne Cunningham ... Judith
Jack Watson ... Len Miller

Arthur Lowe ... Charles Slomer
Harry Markham ... Wade
George Sewell ... Jeff

Leonard Rossiter ... Phillips, Sports writer
Katherine Parr ... Mrs. Farrer
Bernadette Benson ... Lynda Hammond
Andrew Nolan ... Ian Hammond
Peter Duguid ... Doctor
Wallas Eaton ... Waiter
Anthony Woodruff ... Tom, Headwaiter
Michael Logan ... Riley
Murray Evans ... Hooker
Tom Clegg ... Gower
Ken Traill ... Trainer
Frank Windsor ... Dentist
John Gill ... Cameron
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Edward Fox ... Restaurant Barman (uncredited)

Glenda Jackson ... Singer At Party (uncredited)
Graham Roberts ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Anton Rodgers ... Restaurant Customer (uncredited)
David Storey ... Rugby Player (uncredited)

Directed by
Lindsay Anderson 
Writing credits
David Storey (screenplay)

David Storey  novel

Produced by
Leslie Parkyn .... co-executive producer
Karel Reisz .... producer
Julian Wintle .... co-executive producer
Original Music by
Roberto Gerhard 
Cinematography by
Denys N. Coop (photographed by) (as Denys Coop)
Film Editing by
Peter Taylor 
Art Direction by
Alan Withy 
Costume Design by
Sophie Devine (dresses)
Makeup Department
Ivy Emmerton .... hairdresser
Bob Lawrance .... makeup artist (as Bob Lawrence)
Production Management
Albert Fennell .... in charge of production
Geoffrey Haine .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ted Sturgis .... assistant director
Ken Softley .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Claude Watson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Peter Lamont .... set dresser
Ernie Quick .... propertyman
E.W. Brister .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Eric Saw .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Chris Greenham .... sound editor
Gordon K. McCallum .... sound recordist
John W. Mitchell .... sound recordist
Ron Butcher .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Ken Cameron .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Trevor Carless .... boom assistant (uncredited)
Tony Cripps .... boom operator (uncredited)
Frank Sloggett .... sound assistant (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Charles Staffell .... special effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
John Harris .... camera operator
Neil Binney .... focus puller (uncredited)
Christopher Neame .... camera assistant (uncredited)
George Courtney Ward .... still photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Miriam Brickman .... casting
Editorial Department
Tom Priestley .... assistant editor
Philip Baker .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Jacques-Louis Monod .... musical director
Gary Hughes .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Pamela Mann .... continuity
Malcolm Taylor .... dialogue coach

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
134 min | West Germany:122 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) | UK:12A (2009) | UK:AA (re-rating) (1970) | USA:Not Rated | USA:TV-MA (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

At the time of filming, Arthur Lowe and Anne Cunningham were appearing together in Coronation Street.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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Free Cinema (1986) (TV)See more »
Walking Back to HappinessSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
12 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
A touch overlong but engaging in its naturalism and its character development, 10 September 2007
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Frank Machin is an amateur rugby league player in Yorkshire. Ambitious within the sport, Frank pushes himself in front of the local scouts and soon is signed to one of the professional clubs and able to hold out for £1000 down to join. As he rises within his own world, Frank has more resources and more opportunity but a strained affair with his landlady Margaret and his inability to shake off his basic roots see him frustrated and pained with his journey.

Like many others have said in relation to this film, British cinema did have something at one point. The "Free Cinema" movement of the 1950's gave a home to a slightly more realistic form of cinema and, although I do not like all within that "movement" that I have seen, I do think that Anderson's work with that paved the way for this. At times the film is too keen to revel in the depiction of working class England but this isn't too much and perhaps, if you think of the context of the period (where such views were not the norm) then you can perhaps understand why. However the power of the film is less in its depiction of the working class work (although this is indeed of value) but more in the convincing exploration of the character of Frank.

Here is a man who has aspirations but seems unable to reconcile these goals to be "better" with the fact that he is from the working classes and doesn't fit with those above him. Likewise he needs affection, love and intimacy but his outward emotions are much cruder and he is quick to lose his temper and resort to violence as the simplest reaction. It is a well written script and it doesn't push the characters or emotions past where they would naturally go for the sake of the film; you can see this in the conclusion which is meaningful and ultimately quite downbeat. Anderson's direction is suitably gritty and natural for the material, but it was Harris that impressed me most.

His performance can be mistaken for being a bit showy and loud and some viewers have made that call. However for me this was his character's boorishness, a quality that he sinks into with ease. However where Harris really does his best work is in the moments just before this happens, or immediately afterwards where, without words, we can often see this struggle, this conflict within himself. It is hard for me to describe here in words so think how difficult it must be to do as an actor but Harris pulls it off. He is well supported by Roberts and they share some excellent scenes. Smaller roles are also well filled with natural turns from the likes of Hartnell, Lowe, Blakely and others; but the film is Harris'.

Not perfect and perhaps a little longer than it can sustain, this is an impressive film. The working class depiction does seem a bit heavy at times through modern eyes but in the emotion and development of the characters the film is hard to really question. Engaging, well written and well delivered – like others have said, where are the British classics like this now? Four Weddings? Do me a favour...

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The spider grahamchris
Edward Fox bit role? jeremy3
Is it just me.... Jasonroides84
Mr. and Mrs. Weaver? bobvend
The original 'Raging Bull'? toddrutt
How about the fact that this movie is just WAYYY TOO LONG??? BG43214
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