This Sporting Life (1963)

This Sporting Life (1963)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

This Sporting Life Photos

Movie Info

Adapted by David Storey from his own novel, this drama stars Richard Harris as 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, Harris begins amassing a fortune.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Richard Harris
as Frank Machin
Rachel Roberts
as Mrs. Margaret Hammond
Alan Badel
as Gerald Weaver
William Hartnell
as 'Dad' Johnson
Colin Blakely
as Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell
as Mrs. Weaver
Arthur Lowe
as Slomer
Jack Watson
as Len Miller
Leonard Rossiter
as Phillips
Frank Windsor
as Dentist
Peter Duguid
as Doctor
Wallas Eaton
as Waiter
Anthony Woodruff
as Head Waiter
Katherine Parr
as Mrs. Farrer
Murray Evans
as Hooker
Tom Clegg
as Gower
John Gill
as Cameron
Ken Traill
as Trainer
Lois Sutcliffe Smith
as Interviewee
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Critic Reviews for This Sporting Life

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | June 5, 2009
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 22, 2008
Top Critic

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

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top 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
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Anderson's visual sense is remarkably strong for a film that relies for much of its length on a highly complex and intriguing flashback narrative.

Full Review… | June 15, 2015
Monthly Film Bulletin

Audience Reviews for This Sporting Life


Richard Harris gives a very 'Brando-esque' performance in this UK classic. Simply fantastic from start to finish.

Randy Tippy
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.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


The British Raging Bull.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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