For the next four weeks, that large portion of the planet obsessed with the round-ball form of football, that is, football, will spend most of their waking hours watching, discussing and debating – loudly on social media and beyond – the 2022 World Cup. The number 1 sporting event in the world takes place from November 20 to December 18 in the small Middle East emirate of Qatar. The controversy surrounding Qatar’s human rights record has taken the shine off this year’s tournament, but some 5 billion people — that’s a billion with a B — are still expected to vote .
Given the phenomenal popularity of football, even the US is getting football fever, thanks to a resurgent national team and, well, Ted Lasso — it’s no surprise that filmmakers have spent years trying to distill the essence of the sport onto celluloid. The results are mixed to say the least. But for every Brit hooligan gangster drama – we’re looking at you, Football Factory, Green Street Hooligans and Rise of the Foot Soldier — there are moving rom-coms, powerful social dramas, enlightening documentaries and even charming animated films that use the on-field action as a starting point to explore the passions the sport evokes.
So whether the World Cup has you longing for more football on screen, or you want a way to get your footie fix while still supporting Qatar’s boycott movement, here are the 22 best movies ever made about the beautiful game.