Friday, 29 October 2010

Cricket in the movies

The Guardian newspaper has just run a series on the greatest movies ever made.  In successive days, they reviewed a different genre - romance, horror, thriller and so on.  All very interesting to Fantasy Bob, who used to be a bit of a movie buff.  But the series is incomplete.  There was no review of cricket movies.  An unforgivable failing on the part of the Guardian.  Yet again FB has to fill the void.
Here is his list of the top ten cricket movies (not in batting order):
  • The Third Man - fielding on the boundary in war ravaged Vienna
  • Blade Runner - the nightmare of an injured batter in a futuristic setting
  • Batman - the first appearance of the caped crusader at the crease
  • Ashes and Diamonds - the great Polish director Wadja's take on the struggles between England and Australia
  • The Beast with Five Fingers - a phantom spin bowler terrorises a whole community
  • The Big Sleep - a movie dedicated to an innings by Chris Tavare
  • Brief Encounter - Gatting faces Warne
  • Fatal Attraction - Michael Douglas plays Alastair Cook who can't resist flirting with the ball slanting across him.  Rabbits get cooked
  • How Green was my Valley - a Welsh club struggle to prepare a firm batting wicket
  • Shane - a lonesome leg spinner rides in and saves a town from a gang of flat track bullies.
Actually, cricket movies are few and far between - FB is aware of a movie made from an Australian mini TV series about the Bodyline controversy which had its moments but would never be a contender for an Oscar.   There is a fine Indian film Lagaan  about cricket during the Raj.  The classic Hitchcock The Lady Vanishes has the wonderful Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford obsessing about the latest Test Match score, but no action.  There was also an episode of Morse where Lewis had suddenly to rediscover his swing bowling skills to confound a murderous group of drug runner. And that's about it.

Regrettably, baseball has a much greater movie heritage.  In FB's humble opinion the greatest baseball movie - by far - is Field of Dreams.   In fact, even though it stars Kevin Costner, it is possibly the greatest sports film ever.  Enjoy.


  1. Excellent research FB. There was also "The Last Test" - a tale of an ageing England test cricketer played by Dixon of Dock Green, Jack Warner.

    And last year's Oscars included a nomination for 'Up in the Air' - I'm sure you can find a cricketing connotation for that one, probably involving a Mike Kennedy innings?

  2. Dear Groupie - many thanks. Well spotted, though FB's pedanticism forces him to point out that teh Jack Warner film is The Final Test. FB is ashamed to say that he has never seen this film but it sounds just the type of thing that should be the BBC's Christmas Special this year. A day of Dixon of Dock Green would also be suitably uplifting for the nation in these straitened times and remind the criminal classes of the days when they showed due deference to the boys in blue. Does FB understand your final reference correctly? As far as he knows Mike Kennedy has never faced George Clooney's bowling.