The Beautiful Game: release date, cast, plot, first looks and everything you need to know about this movie on the Homeless World Cup

The Beautiful Game on Netflix features Bill Nighy playing England football coach Mal who takes a homeless team to Rome.
The Beautiful Game on Netflix features Bill Nighy playing England football coach Mal who takes a homeless team to Rome. (Image credit: Netflix)

The Beautiful Game coming to Netflix and Film 4 will show what happens to a bunch of homeless men who pull together to represent England at football's Homeless World Cup in Italy. We've seen this premise before of course, with films such as The Full Monty and Brassed Off, where desperate men come together for a common goal, and both movies were very successful in the 1990s. So could The Beautiful Game give us another similar gem? 

Made with the support of the Homeless World Cup, The Beautiful Game stars Bill Nighty, Michael Ward and Callum Scott Howells. It's a film of second chances — where homeless teams from around the world find that all roads lead to Rome, and everything’s to play for. 

Here's all we know about the movie The Beautiful Game on Netflix..

Bill Nighy with Michael Ward in The Beautiful Game.

Bill Nighy and Michael Ward in The Beautiful Game. (Image credit: Netflix)

The Beautiful Game release date

The Beautiful Game will launch worldwide on Netflix on Friday March 29 2024, aka Good Friday. So great to watch over the Easter break.

Is there a trailer for The Beautiful Game?

There's no trailer yet for The Beautiful Game but Netflix/Film 4 will no doubt give us one soon. We'll be updating here when we can.

The Beautiful Game cast

There's a great cast for The Beautiful Game. Among them is Bill Nighy (Emma, Love Actually, Pirates of The Carribbean) playing the England team coach Mal.

Look out too for Callum Scott Howells as Nathan. Callum hit superstardom around the world earlier this year for his emotional performance as Colin (aka Gladys Pugh) in the hit drama It's A Sin on Channel 4 in the UK and HBO Max in the US. Callum gave us a hint of his excitement when he posted about The Beautiful Game on Instagram while filming in Rome, Italy (see below).

Michael Ward (Small Axe, Empire of Light, The Book of Clarence and Netflix series Top Boy) plays Vinny, while other stars include Valeria Golino (The Morning Show), Kit Young (Shadow & Bone), Sheyi Cole (Small Axe), Robin Nazari (Snabba Cash), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers Infinity War), Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes), Layo-Christina Akinlude (The End of the F**king World) and Cristina Rodlo (No One Gets Out Alive).

Bill Nighy in The Beautiful Game.

Bill Nighy as England manager Mal in The Beautiful Game. (Image credit: Netflix)

Michael Ward as striker Vinnie in The Beautiful Game.

Michael Ward as striker Vinnie in The Beautiful Game. (Image credit: Netflix)

Callum Scott Howells as Colin in 'It's a Sin'

Callum Scott Howells as Colin in 'It's a Sin'. (Image credit: Channel 4)

The Beautiful Game plot — what happens in the movie?

Led by their manager/coach Mal (Bill Nighy), The Beautiful Game follows the England soccer/football team as they travel from London to Rome for the Homeless World Cup. At the last minute they decide to bring with them talented striker Vinny (Micheal Ward), but he must confront his own issues and once-promising past in order to help the team and move on with his own life.

On tour in Rome in The Beautiful Game.

On tour in Rome in The Beautiful Game. (Image credit: Netflix)

The Beautiful Game — behind the scenes

The Beautiful Game is directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You) while the  screenplay is by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (The Railway Man). Producers are Blueprint Pictures' Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin with Anita Overland. Blueprint Pictures’ Ben Knight and Diarmuid McKeown serve as executive producers alongside Ollie Madden and Daniel Battsek at Film4, which helped develop the project.

The Beautiful Game is a film about succeeding against the odds. Our film shows the joy, drama and excitement of this real life tournament and the enormous potential of people left behind by society,” said Graham Broadbent. “We’ve worked closely with the Homeless World Cup Foundation and our writer Frank has met many players from who’s real life stories he has created our characters, and we’re happy to welcome many former players from the real tournament to be a part of the filming in Rome and London.”

Mel Young, President and Founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation, says: adds: “We are incredibly excited to be the focus of the upcoming film The Beautiful Game. The Homeless World Cup is our contribution to tackling the homeless problem across the globe but there is so much more to do,” , President and Founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation. “We have proved just how powerful football can be when it is applied to a social problem and we will keep striving to do more. We hope that the work we do being told in The Beautiful Game inspires more people to join in and support future Homeless World Cups and together we can all aim to end homelessness forever."

The Beautiful Game locations

From Callum Scott Howell's Instagram post, we know the cast have been filming in Rome, Italy. The Beautiful Game cast and crew will then move to London for filming later this year.

What is the Homeless World Cup?

The Homeless World Cup Foundation was established in 2001 with the first Homeless World Cup taking place in Graz, Austria in 2003. The Foundation’s mission is to use football to support and inspire people who are homeless to change their own lives; and to change perceptions and attitudes towards people who are experiencing homelessness. The 2024 Homeless World Cup will take place in Seoul, South Korea. It operates a Global Network, bringing together 70 member countries that are using football to tackle homelessness and social isolation in their community. Providing a focus for – and a celebration of – their year-round activity with the Homeless World Cup, a landmark international street football tournament that, has taken place in cities all over the world such as Cape Town, Cardiff, Melbourne, Edinburgh, Paris, Rio and Mexico City, The most recent edition took place in Sacramento, California in July 2023. It also supports their Member Countries’ day-to-day work by building international connections, facilitating skill sharing and helping Members to develop. Giving them the tools, skills and platform they need to change their lives and the lives of those around them.

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Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.