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This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 22 February 1963 (UK)
2:24 | Trailer
Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.


Lindsay Anderson


David Storey (based on the novel by), David Storey (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Harris ... Frank Machin
Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Hammond
Alan Badel ... Weaver
William Hartnell ... Johnson
Colin Blakely ... Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ... Mrs. Weaver
Anne Cunningham Anne Cunningham ... Judith
Jack Watson ... Len Miller
Arthur Lowe ... Slomer
Harry Markham Harry Markham ... Wade
George Sewell ... Jeff
Leonard Rossiter ... Phillips
Katherine Parr Katherine Parr ... Mrs. Farrer (as Katharine Parr)
Bernadette Benson Bernadette Benson ... Lynda
Andrew Nolan Andrew Nolan ... Ian


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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never before has the screen exploded with such raw emotions!


Drama | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Delays in filming meant that Richard Harris had to cede his part in The Great Escape (1963) to Sir Richard Attenborough. See more »


In reality, it would have taken years of training for Frank Machin to become a professional rugby player. See more »


Phillips, Sports writer: It's only a game, old sport. It's all a game.
See more »


Referenced in Doctor Who: Origins (2006) See more »


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

User Reviews

The streets, the houses, the shops, the pubs, the clubs and the children playing
18 October 2018 | by christopher-underwoodSee all my reviews

Gripping, arresting and totally believable from the start, this is excitingly authentic. The terrible game of rugby league football is beautifully shot in all the horror of its violent thuggery and macho heroism. The streets, the houses, the shops, the pubs, the clubs and the children playing all evoke memories of that admittedly dreary but familiar visions. The living spaces, some cramped and dinged, like mine a that time, and others spacious and exuding that illusive smell of success (or upper class thuggery!) All this is fine and Richard Harris is fully believable as the film's angry young man. It is just that as the, rather overlong, film continues we get less of the 'sporting life' and the 'dead end streets' and more of the 'love' story and rather clumsy stabs at class warfare. In the end we are rather tiring of all the 'I love you', 'I hate you' cries and welcome the closing credit but it is still very much a worth seeing film that probably catches more of what it really felt like to be in Britain late 50s/early 60s than any other film I have seen.

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Release Date:

22 February 1963 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

This Sporting Life See more »


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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