This Sporting Life

1963

This Sporting Life (1963)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Appropriately hard-hitting on narrative as well as physical levels, The Sporting Life remains a British "kitchen sink" classic that's beautiful to look at and leaves a lingering mark.

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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.

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Critic Reviews for This Sporting Life

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6)

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

Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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.

Jan 22, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

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

Feb 9, 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.

Jun 27, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

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

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for This Sporting Life

½

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

½

The British Raging Bull.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

½

One of the original angry young man films is extremely well acted by the leads but is a rather dispiriting experience to sit through.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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