While the facts of Walter Tull’s life are exemplary, the fictional film Walter’s War leaves too much unsaid. Tull’s unique achievements, as one of the first Black British footballers, and then as the first Black British officer in Europe’s trenches, are now heralded.
Nicholas Bailey says he spent 7 years trying to get this documentary made, and soccer movie enthusiasts should be glad he persisted. Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero covers Tull’s life from childhood to Black British footballer to World War 1 Black British officer and member of the Football Battalion.
Das Wunder von Bern is one of the top soccer movie money-makers. It portrays the WC 1954 final, known as the Miracle of Bern, from the standpoint of a struggling mining town post-Hitler. A German POW returns from 11 years in the Soviet Gulag to a young son he didn’t know existed, and to a family that has grown up in his absence. The young boy is a talisman for local striker Helmut Rahn, who is called up to play for Germany but has trouble getting playing time.
Michael Foreman is a renowned British author and illustrator of many children’s books. But the book that affected people the most was his 1989 “War Boy”, about what it was like to grow up in a small village at the start of World War I.
White, Blue and White is an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that examines the effect of the Falklands War on Argentines Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa. After winning WC 1978* in Buenos Aires, they are recruited by newly promoted Tottenham to become the first Argentines to play in the England First Division.
They are wildly successful until Argentina’s ruling junta invades the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in 1982. Ossie’s fighter pilot cousin is killed in the conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Some of the movies I’ve reviewed were difficult to get hold of. Joyeux Noël was one such movie. I stayed in a hotel in Avila Beach where they had this DVD in their library! It’s a fairly well done movie, but like The Boys in Company C, it is really an anti-war movie, not a soccer movie at all.
It’s sad that many think Victory is the iconic American soccer movie, because this movie is pretty ordinary and has aged poorly. Victory is a World War Two POW movie that pays heavy homage to The Great Escape; the POWs escape while playing against the Nazis.
The Boys in Company C was one of the first films to portray the senselessness of the Vietnam War. It’s a war movie and not a soccer movie by any means. But, to borrow a phrase from Susan Jeffords, this film asks if a soccer game is a “thing worth dying for”.