United tells the story of the 1958 Munich air disaster involving ManU’s young team known as Busby’s Babes. Trying to take off in a snowstorm, the plane ran out of runway, hit a house, and was torn apart.
Half of the passengers were killed, and of the young players, 8 lost their lives, and 2 were too seriously injured to ever play again. Manager Matt Busby barely survived the crash.
What makes the drama compelling is the devotion of Coach Jimmy Murphy (David Tennant) for his club and players. Murphy had missed the fatal trip because of World Cup duties for Wales, and it falls to him to hold things together. The ManU Board wants to shut down the club for the rest of the season, but Murphy refuses, saying,
“It’s about showing who we are to the world. Showing we’ll not be bowed by tragedy. Because how we are in the future will be founded on how we behave today.”
Bobby Charlton has survivor’s guilt and does not want to play, but Murphy tells him,
“Remember why you loved the game? I need you. Don’t be another one who dies out there.”
With just two starters (Bill Foulkes and goalkeeper Harry Gregg–played by Ben Peel, a ringer for Kasey Keller but with hair), Murphy crafts a team that returns to competition in less than a fortnight. Just showing up is a triumph over disaster.
This movie for BBC TV was written, directed, and starred in by members of the Doctor Who team, who filmed it in 4 weeks.
7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7