Shooting for Socrates

Shooting for Socrates

James Erskine (2014)

PG Certificate


Our Score
In 1986, the Northern Ireland football team brought hope to the nation when they qualified for the World Cup. Travelling to Mexico, they prepared for the first round of fixtures, which included a historic, David and Goliath-type match against the mighty Brazil. The squad's journey is loosely re-created in this modest sporting drama, with co-writer/director James Erskine charting a path from the qualifying campaign to the big game. At the same time, he also tells a parallel story in Belfast, where the tournament is providing a welcome distraction from the sectarian riots. These scenes highlight how football can bring people together, and Erskine produces some nice moments between a father (Richard Dormer) and his nine-year-old son (Art Parkinson). Unfortunately, though, there's no sense of occasion - you never feel like you're watching a real World Cup - and there are too many sequences that don't ring true. Like the '86 team, Shooting for Socrates falls short of glory.


Premiere. Northern Ireland is divided by political turmoil in 1986, but for a boy in East Belfast, the only things that matter are his imminent 10th birthday and the prospect of the national side taking on Brazil in the World Cup. Meanwhile, in Mexico, the eccentric coach struggles to marshal his mismatched players to face the world's greatest team. Comedy drama, starring John Hannah and Art Parkinson.

Cast & Crew

Billy Bingham John Hannah
Jackie Fullerton Conleth Hill
Arthur Richard Dormer
David Campbell Nico Mirallegro
Sammy McIlroy Ciaran McMenamin
Jimmy Quinn Barry Ward
Irene Bronagh Gallagher
Pat Jennings Paul Kennedy
Norman Whiteside Chris Newman (1)
Gerry Armstrong Aaron McCusker
Socrates Sergio Mur
Jimmy Nichol Matthew McElhinney
Tommy Art Parkinson
Director James Erskine
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Soda PicturesAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 5 Jun 2015
Drama Comedy