This Sporting Life
This Sporting Life (1963)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: July 16, 1963
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2008
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
David Jenkins
Time Out

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

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John Petrakis
Chicago Tribune

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.

Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Leagues above the sanitized picture of organized professional athletics exemplified by '42,' 'This Sporting Life' wallows in the mud of the moral dirt that surrounds and runs the whole.

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Variety Staff

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.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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

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This Sporting Life exhibits astonishing vigour and a fierce engagement with life, but the bitter poetry is all its own.

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Tom Milne
Time Out

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

MFB Critics
Monthly Film Bulletin

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.

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Wendy Ide
Times (UK)

I can't think of a sport movie that is better photographed. The black and white cinematography is gorgeously stark, the perfect medium for this bleakly unforgiving tale.

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More reviews for This Sporting Life

Flixster Audience Score: 87% Flixster User Reviews
Randy Tippy
Richard Harris gives a very 'Brando-esque' performance in this UK classic. Simply fantastic from start to finish.
jay nixon
One of the original angry young man films is extremely well acted by the leads but is a rather dispiriting experience to sit through.
Cassandra Maples
"This Sporting Life" is one of the most famous of the British "kitchen sink" dramas of the 1950s and 1960s ("kitchen sink" films… More
John Ballantine
The brutality of Harris brings to mind Brando in Streetcar. He is all brute force and aggression who uses rugby sometimes unsuccessfully as the conduit through… More
Ken Stachnik
The British Raging Bull.
Emily B.
Powerful performances by both Richard Harris and Rachel Roberts.