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This Sporting Life

This Sporting Life (1963)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 1,811

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted by David Storey from his own novel, This Sporting Life stars Richard Harris as Frank, an athletic coal miner who aspires to the greener pastures of professional rugby. Soon establishing himself as one of the most brutal and arrogant players in the business, Frank begins to amass a fortune. He also falls in love with his landlady, Mrs. Hammond (Rachel Roberts), who initially resists his advances. When she finally gives in, their relationship hinges on sex alone, as Frank practically begs

Unrated,

Drama, Classics

David Storey

Jan 22, 2008

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

The film is raw and confident, but it's a little shallow, too.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lindsay Anderson, making his debut as a feature director, brings the keen, observant eye of a documentary man to many vivid episodes without sacrificing the story line.

January 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A reminder that something really was stirring in those days of the British New Wave before it frittered itself away.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's impossible not to appreciate the remarkable performances (both Harris and Roberts were nominated for Oscars) or the realistic rugby scenes that earned Harris a broken leg.

June 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Probably the best crafted of the British 'kitchen sink' movies.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Leagues above the sanitized picture of organized professional athletics exemplified by '42,' 'This Sporting Life' wallows in the mud of the moral dirt that surrounds and runs the whole.

November 10, 2013 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

This Sporting Life exhibits astonishing vigour and a fierce engagement with life, but the bitter poetry is all its own.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

I can't think of a sport movie that is better photographed. The black and white cinematography is gorgeously stark, the perfect medium for this bleakly unforgiving tale.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

This Sporting Life shrewdly anticipates modern Britain: a dour, yet thrilling and exhilarating film.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

I'm tempted to see it as one of the strongest films of that period, every frame of which pulsates with drama, class confusion and erotic force.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

From its virtuoso opening shot of a rugby scrum -- from the bottom, looking up -- to its final emotionally draining moments, This Sporting Life is a captivating, visceral film experience.

January 22, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This Sporting Life is a quintessential entrant in Britain's kitchen-sink realism of the late-'50s and '60s.

January 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

It's about rugby league, beer, grit and tough lads, but it's also a profound commment on relationships loaded with symbolism and rich in emotion.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for This Sporting Life

Richard Harris gives a very 'Brando-esque' performance in this UK classic. Simply fantastic from start to finish.
September 30, 2012
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

"This Sporting Life" is one of the most famous of the British "kitchen sink" dramas of the 1950s and 1960s ("kitchen sink" films were very gritty, social realist films which were very popular in Britain at one time).

Frank Machin (Richard Harris) is a brutal, young miner in a city in northern England. Hoping for fame and fortune, he becomes a successful Rugby League football player. He uses his fame and fortune, along with physical violence, to try to force his widowed landlady (Rachel Roberts) to fall for him.

Photographed in bleak black-and-white, the film's scenes of emotional and physical domestic violence are still shocking today. Also notable are the violent, stylishly-shot rugby matches.

The cast are brilliant without exception, especially Richard Harris who manages to invest even his totally unsympathetic character with some degree of humanity.
February 10, 2011
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

The British Raging Bull.
August 2, 2010
kenstachnik

Super Reviewer

One of the original angry young man films is extremely well acted by the leads but is a rather dispiriting experience to sit through.
July 3, 2010
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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