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Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1 August 2003 (USA)
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The daughter of orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents' traditionalism and joins a football team (soccer in America).


2,191 ( 208)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 17 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pinky Bhamra
Shaheen Khan ...
Ameet Chana ...
Meena (as Poojah Shah)
Paven Virk ...
Saraj Chaudhry ...
Sonny (as Saraj Chaudry)


A comedy about bending the rules to reach your goal, Bend It Like Beckham explores the world of women's football, from kick-abouts in the park to freekicks in the Final. Set in Hounslow, West London and Hamburg, the film follows two 18 year olds with their hearts set on a future in professional soccer. Heart-stopping talent doesn't seem to be enough when your parents want you to hang up your football boots, find a nice boyfriend and learn to cook the perfect chapatti. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't call Them Chicks! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

1 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joue-la comme Beckham  »

Box Office


£3,500,159 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,001,795 (UK) (12 April 2002)


$32,541,719 (USA) (17 October 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though their characters are roughly the same age, in reality, there is a ten-year age gap between Parminder Nagra (born 1975) and Keira Knightley (born 1985). See more »


A crew member was in the back seat, rocking the car at the airport that Jess's sister and her fianc» are in alone. At one point you can see three heads pop up over the seat. See more »


Paula: That's why she's been so depressed lately cos' that Jess broke her heart! She's in love. With a girl!
Alan Paxton: You're jumping to all the wrong conclusions
Paula: But I heard her! No wonder she never looked twice at the Kevin or brought any boys home. I tried to get her nice clothes, you know we've had some lovely prints in this summer you know in swimwear and sarongs and that. She never wants to go shopping with me. It was terrible what they did to that George Michael going on about him and his private ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Additional thanks to ... Nikki & Gary at Action Vehicles See more »


Dream the Dream
Written by Shaznay Lewis and Guy Chambers
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Used by kind permission of Universal/MCA Music Ltd.
Performed by Shaznay Lewis
Courtesy of Warner Strategic Marketing UK
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Crowd-pleasing Charmer
18 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

`Bend It Like Beckam' is a heartwarming charmer about a young girl's search for identity in 21st Century England. Like `Fiddler on the Roof,' `Beckam' deals with the painful struggles tradition-bound cultures must go through as they enter a looser, more freedom-loving modern world. The culture in this case is that of immigrant and first-generation Indians living in Great Britain. As with all such tales, it is the young folk who feel the need to pull away from the stuffy values of the past, and who end up dragging the reluctant older folk kicking and screaming into the future right along with them.

Jess Bharma is a fairly typical teen with dreams of becoming a world-class soccer player. However, Jess also comes from a very traditional Indian family that believes a girl should not play around with boys, show her legs in public, or aspire to much beyond marrying a good Indian boy and raising a family. We've seen this kind of set-up countless times before and `Bend It Like Beckam' will certainly not win any prizes for creativity or originality. It does, however, have a youthful exuberance and a generous spirit that can't help but captivate even the most diehard, coldhearted cynic. Parminder K. Nagra is utterly winning as young Jess, capturing all the innate optimism and unquenchable enthusiasm of this irrepressible character. She receives superb support from a cast of outstanding actors, both young and old, including Keira Knightley as Jules, her inspirational buddy who provides Jess with the opportunity to bring her dreams to fruition; Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Joe, the handsome young coach who provides lessons in love along with lessons in soccer; Anupam Kher as Jess' father, who turns out to have some of his own personal demons to deal with; Shaheen Khan as Jess' mother, who doesn't understand why her daughter can't be content with the pre-ordained life her parents have laid out for her; and Juliet Stevenson as Jules' mother, who proves that Indians don't hold a patent on tradition-obsessed parents. In its quiet, gentle way, the film also confronts the issue of racism, particularly in terms of how the Indians are often still treated as second-class citizens in British society.

As directed by Gurinder Chadha, `Bend It Like Beckham' is a light-on-its-feet `feel-good' film that never takes itself too seriously. The movie suffers a bit from a sitcom mentality, as when, for instance, Jules' parents labor under the illusion that their daughter and Jess are actually lesbian lovers. The plotting, in addition to being predictable at times, often seems contrived and excessively melodramatic (the rivalry between Jess and Jules over Joe being the primary offender). But this isn't enough to do any serious damage to the film as a whole.

Thus, if you're looking for a film that is easygoing, uplifting and comfortably old-fashioned in its demeanor and theme, `Bend It Like Beckham' is for you.

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