Daniel Gordon (2017)

12A Certificate


Our Score
There are plenty of accounts of the rise and fall of George Best, arguably the most talented footballer to emerge from the British Isles. But director Daniel Gordon, who proved his pedigree with documentaries on Hillsborough and the scandal-ridden 100m race at the Seoul Olympics, produces a beautifully balanced perspective that extols Best's sublime skills while offering sobering analysis of how unprecedented fame (for a footballer), alcohol and his inner demons stalled his progress. The familiar feel-good details are here, of a teenage prodigy from Belfast, hailed as the fifth Beatle, whose wizardry galvanised Manchester United to European Cup glory. However much of this riveting, illuminating film reflects on Best's life after 1968: his frustration with United's lack of vision after the departure of manager Matt Busby; tabloid torment and domestic decline; and his career in America from the mid-70s, an initially happy time for himself and first wife Angie... until he bought a pub. Indeed, his tour-de-force goal in a 1981 match, inspired by a dodgy refereeing decision, is a rousing last hurrah. Gordon's film is neither hagiography nor hatchet job - incisive input from George's wives Angie and Alex, ex-players Mike Summerbee and Pat Crerand, and doyen of sports journalists Hugh McIlvanney make sure of that. Ultimately, it's a poignant, tragically familiar tale of a great talent wasted (he died in 2005, aged 59). But what a talent.


Documentary telling the story of the reserved young football prodigy from Belfast who became a global superstar, but whose career was blighted by his battle with the pressures of fame. The film reveals how the player dubbed El Beatle helped Manchester United to win two league titles and the European Cup, but his extravagant lifestyle led to various problems, most notably alcoholism.

Cast & Crew

George Best George Best
Angie Best Angie Best
Pat Crerand Pat Crerand
Mike Summerbee Mike Summerbee
Alex Best Alex Best
Hugh McIlvanney Hugh McIlvanney
Director Daniel Gordon
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: DogwoofGuidance: Swearing.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 24 Feb 2017
Documentary Sport