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"Some day, I'd like to make films myself - I'd like to have the talent to direct. I know it's not something that everyone has, and I'm not sure I have it. But I'd love to try it out. One day I know I'll have a go." - Eric Cantona
- Cantona Homepage - Eric's Movies - Eric's Football Videos - Reviews - Merchandise - Eric Books -

On January 25th 1995, Manchester United and France football captain, Eric Cantona, was involved in an incident with a foul-mouthed Crystal Palace fan during a United away game at Selhurst Park in London. His infamous kung-fu kick; a foot-first lunge over the advertising hoardings and firmly onto the thug's chest, earned him an 8 month ban as well as a place in footballing history.

The incident resulted in a court case in March 1995, during which he was initially sentenced to 2 weeks in prison (this was later converted to community service). The thug, Matthew Simmons, also received a slightly shorter prison sentence (which he served).

In the Spring of 1995, during his lengthy ban from football, Eric returned to the Gers region in South West France, to fulfill a life-long ambition of acting. His brief appearance as Lionel, a two-timing, rugby-playing boyfriend of a girl whose father had quit the rat race and bought a duck farm received suprisingly rave reviews. The comedy film was called, appropriately, 'Le Bonheur est dans le Pre' (or 'Happiness In The Field' in America). It also starred Eric's brother Joel Cantona, who also played football (for Stockport County).

Interestingly, despite his ban, Eric was still Nike's No.1 World sports star, with his adverts broadcast Worldwide and given higher priority than those featuring the likes of Ronaldo and Michael Jordan (this even continued after he retired!). 'Le Bonheur' included some blatant endorsements for the product.

Whilst the film was a massive box-office success in France and Switzerland, the English Cantona-hungry cinema-goers were not given the opportunity until the film was released on video some time later.

Having served his ban, Eric returned to football in October 1995. With Cantona-frenzy being at an all time high in Europe and Asia, Eric won the Footballer Of The Year award and scored the winning goal in the last minute of the FA Cup Final against Liverpool to help United become the first team ever to win the Double Double.

Having helping add the 1997 Premiership trophy to United's bulging trophy cabinet, Eric Cantona suddenly announced his retirement from football at the young age of 31. everybody was stunned however Eric was focused on making a new life for himself, acting and painting.

Eric Cantona's first major film, 'A Question Of Honour', premiered in Paris in September 1997. Starring alongside his brother, Joel, and Jake LaMotta (the original Raging Bull), Eric played a scary boxing promoter in the comedy, which also includeed a soundtrack by Joe Strummer, Pablo Cook and Bez.

By the end of 1997, Eric was working with massive United fans, Christopher Ecclestone and Angus Deayton, on his first blockbuster, 'Elizabeth'. The film, which also starred Sir Richard Attenborough, Joesph Fiennes, Cate Blanchett, Sir John Gielgud and Kathy Burke, won one Oscar and was also nominated for 6 others including Best Picture. Eric again recieved high praise for his portrayal of French Ambassador, Monsieur de Foix, the first time he had actually played an English-speaking role.

Eric again played a boxer in his next movie, 'Mookie', which was filmed in Mexico. The delightful film saw Eric playing the lead role as a boxer who meets a monk and his talking chimpanzee on the run from scientists. Although it has never been released in the UK, 'Mookie', which was based on the Herve Fen book, is a fantastic film and Eric's performance as Capella is certainly worth a look.

The next movie project Eric was to take part in was entitled 'Les Enfants du Marais' (or 'Children Of The Marshland') and saw him return to France where he starred, yet again as a boxer, alongside the likes of Jacques Villeret, Jacques Gamblin and Michel Serrault. The film was slated despite its great cast and Eric's fine portrayal of Jo Sardi, an evil boxer.

Whatever Eric Cantona decides to do next, you can expect him to approach it with a passion that matched his footballing days. Maybe he will eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a film director or even the director of football at Manchester United.

All contents within these pages are copyright of united MANCHESTER, 2000, and may only be reproduced with prior permission. These pages are in no way official or connected to Eric Cantona.


17th Aug 2000:

Eric Cantona in -
"Children Of The Marshland (Les enfants du Marais)"
Buy the video.

Check Out our Eric Cantona Movies

(1998 movie)

Le Bonheur (Est Dans Le Pre)
(1997 movie)

Check Out our Eric Cantona books, posters & more

30th May 2000:

"Cantona's Cup"
Buy the video for
ONLY £2.99.


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