Bend It Like Beckham finally arrived in the United States on this day in 2002. Written and directed by Indian sensation Gurinder Chadha, the movie covers the lives of two separate London girls looking to buck their family’s ideas and ideals in creating their own identities. Popularity among audiences young and old gave the movie steam and lead to a wide release in August of the following year. The soccer movie (its title a reference to popular then-Londoner David Beckham) stars Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley, in her first major film role, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers before he too became a recognizable face in films such as Woody Allen’s Match Point.
Factoid: Since starring in Bend It Like Beckham, Keira Knightley’s star has risen to the nth degree. Her turn as Beckham’s Jules won her the British Newcomer of the Year Award from the London Critics Circle. Just three years later she found herself seated amongst the best in her field when nominated as the Best Leading Actress for 2005’s Pride & Prejudice.