This sporting Life

Lindsay Anderson, 1963


Lindsay Anderson says of her film, "My film is not about sports. It's not about sports, nor can it be classified as a story from a working-class background. In fact, I wouldn't even consider it a film that tells a story. It's more of a study of one man. A man with extraordinary strength and aggressiveness of character and physicality, who at the same time has an innate great sensitivity and need to be loved. But he doesn't realise this at first. His nature manifests itself in a very strange and complex relationship with a woman - and from this point of view my film could be understood as a love story. However, their conflicting relationship is clearly contoured by the social environment, which adds to its tragic dimension." That sporting life is a very authentic product of free cinema. Its production was headed by Karel Reisz, and features the then relatively unknown but typecast-accurate actors Richard Harris (known, among others, from Antonioni's Red Hermit) and Rachel Roberts in the lead roles; Lindsay Anderson was, along with Reisz, one of the main spiritual fathers of the free cinema movement. This definition is confirmed by the subject of the film, which is a novel by David Storey, who belonged to the group of "angry" literary and theatrical authors, to whose opinions and formal distinctiveness free cinema was cinematically linked.

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Film data

About a film

Production year 1963
Countries United Kingdom
Duration 137 min
Director Lindsay Anderson
Cast Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel, William Hartnell
Director of photography Denys N. Coop