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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best British Film Ever Made
Don't believe any of the stupid and insulting reviews of this film left here by people who are obviously out of sympathy with what it is trying to achieve. This represents the high-point of British film-making: a film about British people made FOR British people - in stark contrast to the junk we tend to produce today, sending ourselves up for the jollification of...
Published on 30 Jan 2010 by Wakefield, 2011

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Had great memories of this film
Had great memories of this film, being from Wakefield area where it is set, good to see how it used to look and sound.

Still a good film, terrific in it's time, the sporting action does now look very staged and flat.
Published 1 month ago by ALAN JONES


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best British Film Ever Made, 30 Jan 2010
Don't believe any of the stupid and insulting reviews of this film left here by people who are obviously out of sympathy with what it is trying to achieve. This represents the high-point of British film-making: a film about British people made FOR British people - in stark contrast to the junk we tend to produce today, sending ourselves up for the jollification of American onanists. Harris was never as impressive as this again and Rachel Roberts gives a heart-breaking performance as his landlady/love interest (sort of). The supporting cast is impeccable and as for the ending....absolutely devastating. No sense of it being rushed at all - absolutely perfect and right.

Be warned, though: this film is sugar and anaesthetic-free, largely unleavened by humour (and none the worse for that, I'd say). Anyone interested in BRITISH film-making (as opposed to 'films made in Britain') needs to see this film.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Tragedy, 10 Aug 2010
By 
M. J. Nelson (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having been a Rugby League player himself David Storey, author of both the original novel and the screenplay, knew what he was writing about. But the sporting background, characterised by the often brutal nature of the Rugby League game, is properly subsumed by a story of two people - the miner/player Frank Machin (Richard Harris) and the still young widow Margaret Hammond (Rachel Roberts) with whom he lodges - whose relationship is fatally flawed by the inherently violent nature of the former and the inherently repressed nature of the latter. The setting of a grim Northern town rings true, the match scenes, filmed in Wakefield, are vividly staged, the performances of the principals are outstanding and the rawness and passion of the story climaxes in a genuine - and heartbreaking - tragedy. This has some claim to be the finest of the North of England-based New Wave British films of the period.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Sporting Life, 25 Nov 2004
Uncompromising, claustrophobic, grubby, pitiless, deadly - this film succeeds in describing the essence of the industrial North before the winds of social change emanating from Swinging London really started to make themselves felt. It is almostly certainly cinema's most 'honest' portrayal of the British working-class milieu in the early-'sixties. For this reason alone it is well worth seeing, but it also features fine acting performances, not only from the two leads, but also from a surprisingly strong supporting cast, which includes a number of household names from the era.
One word of caution concerning this particular presentation: whether due to the original mono soundtrack or the DVD manufacturers/distributors, the audio is poor throughout the film and dialogue occasionally difficult to follow. Subtitles are however provided.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time you took that rock of weight off your shoulders., 12 May 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This Sporting Life is directed by Lindsay Anderson and written by David Storey. It stars Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel, William Hartnell, Colin Blakely, Vanda Godsell and Anne Cunningham. Music is by Roberto Gerhard and cinematography by Denys Coop.

Frank Machin (Harris) gets the opportunity to utilise his brute strength and angry nature out on the Rugby League field. It looks a match made in sporting heaven as Machin quickly establishes himself as a star in waiting, but off the field he is less successful at life's challenges...

You taking the jam out of someone's sandwich without asking for it?

Pigeon holed as Brit Kitchen Sink Drama or Brit New Wave, This Sporting Life is regardless a very unique and powerful film. It was director Anderson's first full length feature and also Harris' break out performance. What transpires over the course of the two hour plus running time, is a tale of mud, blood and emotionally fractured characters. Set to a grim back drop of a damp Yorkshire city, with coal mines and factories the means of employment, the streets are paved with stone and the terraced houses charred by the soot of the chimney smoke.

Just a big ape on the football field.

This back drop marries up perfectly with Machin's life, where even out on the pitch he comes to understand that he's in a vortex of unfulfillment. There are some bright spots dripped into proceedings, hope dangled like a golden carrot, especially with one beautiful sequence as Frank plays with Margaret's (Roberts) kids, but bleakness is never far away, the story demands that. Margaret is his landlady and object of his brutish desire, she's one of life's warriors but struggling to keep up the good fight. Widowed and still burned by her husband's death, her relationship with Frank is heart aching in its hopelessness. Has the polishing of a pair of boots ever been so sad as it is here?

Harris is a revelation, a tour de force, feral yet anguished, all coiled up in one hulking frame. Roberts, likewise, is terrific, a measured and layered turn that helps to bring the best out of Harris. Around the central pair are a roll call of grand British actors aiding the quality of the production, while Anderson and his editor Peter Taylor use brilliant bold-cut transitions to let the flashback narrative work its magic. From the whack of an arm thundering into Machin's teeth at the beginning of the film, to his punching of a spider on the wall at the end, this is a 1960s British classic of some considerable worth. 9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great classic, 26 July 2014
This terrific film is probably the grimmest of the 'kitchen sink' dramas from this era, and it was probably the last. The public grew a bit weary of them I think. But it's wonderful, brilliantly acted and written, and still potent. I think it's a bit patronising to say the film shows the shallow Americans 'what we were all about' because they had their own great films from around this time that reflected their culture. They couldn't have made this great film, and the Brit's couldn't have made their classics. Apples and oranges. The print is stunning. The only minor distraction is Richard Harris's oddly heavy makeup. But it's a great film, and he's great in it, as is the entire cast. And yes, it is a sugar free zone, big time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hi Def Harris, 9 July 2014
By 
This review is from: This Sporting Life [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Excellent picture & sound on this blu ray of Lindsay Anderson's homoerotic kitchen sink classic.
Comes with a booklet, but extras are limited to photo galleries & a trailer
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This Sporting Life" improves with time., 22 Feb 2001
By A Customer
"This Sporting Life" remains a cornerstone of British cinema. Lindsay Anderson's remarkable understanding of the original source material echoes with the political turmoil of the early sixties at the same time as it reminds us that the British New Wave was its own voice. Contrary to critics of the period who denounced this film as derivative of nouvelle vague filmmaking, Anderson and his remarkable team shot the world of class and culture as none had done before. The ragged use of black and white, coupled with a lack of slickness that only compunds the reality of the piece, places us squarely in the squalid and often gritty world of men's locker rooms, desperately lonely rowhouses and heartless luxury. Richard Harris creates a character achingly out of reach of his own emotions and thoughts and Rachel Roberts succeeds as the widow who, sadly, knows nothing but emptiness and tragedy. Both of these actors do the finest work of their careers and they are supported by a quietly powerful ensemble that helps to explain why this period in British filmmaking continues to resonate.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, assured first feature by Lindsay Anderson, 20 Oct 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
A working class-class young man (Richard Harris) makes his mark as a particularly violent, tough rugby player, while trying, in his awkward, coarse way to seduce his landlady (Rachel Roberts).

Strong moments of acting, photography, and interesting use of fractured time mark Lindsay Anderson's feature debut. This was a key film of the British New Wave cinema that helped moved English film towards gritty realism. (Ironic, considering Anderson's greatest films; 'If...." and "O Lucky Man" are quite far from that kind of naturalistic realism).

Almost all critics consider it a masterpiece, but on first viewing both the performances and the writing were a bit too theatrical for me to grant it quite that level of perfection.

But I plan to re-see it. As often with films one hears about for years, I may have been over-hyped, and missed some of its greatness. And even as is, I found it a strong, impressive and very worthwhile first feature, worth seeing if you have any interest in any of the elements; the cast, the moment in English history, Lindsay Anderson's great career as a director, etc.

Criterion does their usual great job, with a beautiful transfer, and tons of supplemental material, including a wonderful 50 minute, irony filled autobiographical film by Anderson called 'Is That All There Is?', made not that long before his death.
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5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable, 4 Jan 2014
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a little bit dated but still worth watching especially to recognise the sights of Wakefield at that time and the housing conditions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the sporting life, 1 Nov 2013
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allways liked richard harris,thought the film was very good,heard it on the radio audio version,decided 2 buy the dvd,glad i did
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This Sporting Life [Blu-ray]
This Sporting Life [Blu-ray] by Lindsay Anderson (Blu-ray - 2014)
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