Richard Harris’ first starring role and his career breakthrough came with this slice of Northern grit. He plays Frank Machin, a hardened and bitter coal miner in West Riding, whose pent-up aggression makes him perfect for the local rugby league team.
He rents a room in a house owned by Margaret Hammond (an excellent Rachel Roberts), a widow whom Frank attempts to woo. But a fatalistic streak makes Frank a danger to all those around him. Adapted by David Storey from his novel, ‘This Sporting Life’ is an extraordinary debut by Anderson and one of the finest British films of the 1960s.