At Euro 2016 hooliganism is back on everyone’s lips. Some will say this kind of nonsense belongs only in the movies, so what are the best hooligan films of all time? Here’s our rundown.
1.The Football Factory (2004)
Topping the list of best movies about football hooligans is this stylish 2004 effort starring Danny Dyer. The Football Factory gets to grips with the primal rush of belonging to a firm and tussling with rival thugs.
We follow the Chelsea-supporting hooligan Tommy, who’s hooked on a cocktail of fighting, drinking and womanising. His girlfriend and family try to get him to leave his firm behind, but the film shows how the lure of adventure and a sense of belonging can be too strong for some.
2. Green Street (2005)
This film is about an American guy’s integration into the fictional West Ham firm, the Green Street Elite (GSE). Green Street brought terrace culture and hooliganism to the attention of an American audience, starring Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam and some dodgy cockney accents.
Their characters get caught up in the adrenaline and thrill of football violence, battling rival groups from across the country and forming tight bonds with the other members of their firm. It’s a dangerous game.
3. The Firm (2009)
A remake of a BBC drama from 1989, The Firm is about a kid’s (Dom) initiation into a group of West Ham hooligans in the 80s. This film gives you a bit of background about the style and culture of firms in the 80s, back when Fila and Sergio Tacchini tracksuits were the terrace uniform.
Dom looks up to Bex, a charismatic and violent ringleader of West Ham’s casuals, who balances violent weekends with a trading job in the city. But Bex’s fast life could catch up with him.
4. I.D. (1995)
Unlike many of the top hooligan movies, I.D. is centred on a fictional East End football team, Shadwell Town, based on a combination of West Ham and Millwall.
It tells the story of an undercover cop who infiltrates a hooligan firm, only to find himself getting swept along by that way of life. I.D. deserves its place on the list as it was the first to bring the world of terrace violence to the big screen.
5. Rise of the Footsoldier (2007)
If you’re less interested in the culture around firms and want more action, then this violent drama might be up your street. It’s a gritty biopic about Carlton Leach, a ruthless East End criminal who cut his teeth in West Ham’s Inter City Firm.
The film is graphic throughout, and builds towards the famous Rettendon Murders, when three of Leach’s partners were found dead in an Essex field in 1995.
6. Awaydays (2009)
One of the best films about football hooligans, if only for a soundtrack with tracks by The Jam, Joy Division and Wire. Awaydays is about one young lad’s initiation into The Pack, “casuals” attached to Tranmere Rovers in the 1980s, decked out in Fred Perry and Adidas sambas.
Awaydays is more of a rite of passage story of a man growing up in a rough working-class environment. But our hero does get involved in a fair bit of trouble on the way.
7. Cass (2008)
This indie movie documents the life of a son of West Indian immigrants who grew up in an all-white suburb in the 1970s. Despite his background, Cass Pennant gets involved with the Inter City Firm (ICF) for their famous dust up with Wolves fans in ‘72.
From there Cass and the ICF’s notoriety grows, and the film covers the legendary battles with other firms and police throughout the 80s, until he decides to call it a day. Later Cass finds that his hooligan career isn’t so easy to leave behind.
8. The Hooligan Wars (2012)
An up-and-coming footballer gets his leg busted in a pub fight. And with bills mounting, plus a pregnant wife, he must do whatever he can to make ends meet.
This involves him getting drawn into a life of crime. He starts dealing drugs from an ice cream van, of all things. And then he gets dragged into the Polish underworld for a bit of hooliganism in case his life wasn’t complicated enough.
What’s Your Favourite Hooligan Film?
So what do you think? Have we “mugged off” a film that deserves to be higher up the list or that we’ve missed completely?