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This Sporting Life

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
A still from the black and white film This Sporting Life of two men arm wrestling

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Opinions of Lindsay Anderson’s intense adaptation of David Storey’s prize-winning novel have fluctuated over the years. Deemed too glum on its release in 1963, it was later accepted as an important addition to the canon due to its employment of nimble, jazzy editing, a non-linear structure and an ambient, avant-garde score.

Now it feels more like a museum piece, something to admire as an example of robust, heart-on-sleeve craftsmanship, packed with hulking emotional cues – care of Richard Harris’s fierce, untethered performance as solipsistic man’s man Frank Machin – that do little to cater for those looking for subtleties beneath the grubby, sweaty anguish on screen. The story follows ex-miner Frank as he rises up the ranks of a local rugby team, the brutality of the sport acting as a metaphor for his violent anti-social tendencies and his undying love for his widowed landlady, Margaret (Rachel Roberts – superb). Like Frank, the film is raw and confident, but it’s a little shallow, too.
Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 5 June 2009
  • Duration:134 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Lindsay Anderson
  • Screenwriter:David Storey
  • Cast:
    • Richard Harris
    • Rachel Roberts
    • Alan Badel
    • William Hartnell
    • Colin Blakely
    • Vanda Godsell
    • Arthur Lowe
    • Glenda Jackson
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