Footballers on film: from Escape to Victory to Payback Season

A look at those who've made the transition from pitch to screen. How many have you seen?


Football legend Sir Geoff Hurst takes on the role of agent Adam Avely in the drama Payback Season, released in UK cinemas today.

The man best remembered as the only person to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final isn’t the first soccer player to make the transition to celluloid. Who could forget these other film performances from ex-footballers?

Escape to Victory (1981)

This bank-holiday staple about Allied prisoners of war interned in a German prison camp during the Second World War featured an array of footballing talent alongside stars Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. Keep your eyes open for Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Mike Summerbee, Kazimierz Deyna, Paul Van Himst and – most prominently – Pele.


When Saturday Comes (1995)

Factory worker and pub footballer Jimmy Muir (Sean Bean) got the chance to fulfil his childhood dreams when his performance during a match earned him a trial with Sheffield United. The captain of the team, who takes a dislike to Muir, is portrayed by former Sheffield Wednesday player Mel Sterland.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

This British heist film may have brought Guy Ritchie international acclaim and introduced Jason Statham to worldwide audiences, but it also marked the movie debut of former Welsh international Vinnie Jones, who played debt collector Big Chris.

A Shot at Glory (2000)

Fictional Scottish football club Kilnockie attempted to reach their first Scottish cup final in this mediocre drama. Robert Duvall played the coach, while Ally McCoist (then a striker for Kilmarnock) portrayed team member Jackie McQuillan, who had recently been signed from Arsenal.

Goal! (2005)

A young Mexican, Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker), made a bid for football stardom in the Premiership in this Fifa-endorsed drama. David Beckham, Alan Shearer and Steven Gerrard were among those who put in cameo appearances.–qOSiMyD84

Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)

Suspected serial killer Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) returned in a London-set sequel. In the pre-credits sequence, England football star Kevin Franks (Stan Collymore) was in the passenger seat of Tramell’s speeding car but drowned when the vehicle plunged into the West India Docks.

Looking for Eric (2009)

Ken Loach captured the escape from the trials of modern life that football can bring when postman Eric (Steve Evets) hallucinated a vision of the famously philosophical Eric Cantona after smoking cannabis.