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4.6 out of 5 stars
Escape to Victory [DVD] [1981]
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
World War II and the Nazi officers come up with a propaganda driven idea for the German national football team to play a team composed of Allied Prisoners of War. Led by Capt. John Colby (Michael Caine) the prisoners agree, but there's more than just propaganda at stake here.

Directed by John Huston in the twilight of his career, Escape To Victory, in spite of it being a perennial Bank Holiday viewing in the UK, is a film that's often used as a kicking post by critics. It's hard to understand why such a fun and harmless piece can cause such derision in cinematic circles. It can't be expectation because when you read the plot, see that Sylvester Stallone is playing in goal and that a tubby 48 year old Caine is the captain of this soccer team!; well surely you know this film isn't all about about cranial depth encompassing the propaganda machinations of the Nazi regime?.

Using real footballers (notably Pelé, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardilies) is what makes Escape To Victory work as entertainment for so many people in the UK. Huston, much like Stallone, hadn't got a clue how to make a football based movie. In stepped the footballers to choreograph the film's football sequences, sequences that give the film some truly memorable moments (Pelé overhead kick, Ardiles rainbow flick, and erm, Stallone penalty save). They couldn't act for toffee, none of them, but that's where Caine comes in. Guiding them thru their scenes, Caine was highly thought of on the set by the players, a sort of father figure by all accounts, not just on the set, but in the bar too. Stallone excepted (he was off doing his own thing most of the time), it was a happy shoot, and that shows in the movie, the non actors growing in confidence as the movie progresses. While the film ultimately deals in escapist fun, it's not without moments of poignancy too. A sacrificial break for the war effort induces winces across the board, whilst the arrival of the Eastern Block players from the work camps demands our utmost heartfelt attention.

Is Escape To Victory a great film? No, of course not. But it is a darn good one. A film that's easy to lose oneself in during the holiday periods. With Caine flicking the Vs, Max Von Sydow being classy as usual and some legendary footballers strutting their stuff, what's not to enjoy? Really?. 7/10
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2005
What!? Do my eyes deceive me? No review for one of most compelling pieces of sporting cinema ever. Featuring Pele, Bobby Moore, Michael Caine and yes, Russell Osman; who gets to utter the immortal line, "hang on a minute boss, I think we can win this one", I won't explain the significance of this or I'll spoil the fun for you. Quite simply, if you're off work with the sniffles on a damp November Afternoon, then this is the film for you, yes sir. Watch in jaw dropping awe as you notice Sly Stallone's questionable goalkeeping technique in countless slow motion replays, ask yourself if perhaps Michael Caine could have had a career as skipper of some unfenced side such as Brentford; and enjoy the Allies courageous performance as they give the Germans what for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2006
the ultimate feel good movie. Good triumphs over evil and there is football thrown in! Magnificent! Watch for the acting of Mike Summerbee-priceless!

brillant brillant film!
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on 28 January 2012
I saw the film with my dad some years ago and enjoyed it. I didn't know much about football but he did! Many years later I came across it when my son was looking at some scenes on youtube. He was watching Pele's reverse kick goal from this movie! I had to get the DVD because only now can I really appreciate Houston's humourous direction and some long shots that I believe he must have enjoyed himself. It's a movie about a rather unusual football team, a brilliant pro cast that fills you with nostalgia. The war is there but comes second to the game. Even those who didn't watch the movie as a serious piece of art,they surely must have enjoyed some scenes! I mean it was Pele and a reverse kick. And as he later said he had to do it 11 times for the film.
And one last thing...there are many silly movies out there, rubbish or offensive. Well , this one is not! It's family entertainment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2011
Preposterous script, unbelievable story, but an entertaining movie for me. Great football scenes by world-class players and a fantastic goal by Pelé, the best player of all times.
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on 3 June 2014
Great fantasy film for football fans. All the other reviewers have done it justice.

However, the pitch invasion after the match is such a cheap trick that the makers need slapping. The crowd are clearly sporting bubble perms, bomber jackets and flared jeans. My mind may be going but I don't think The Bay City Rollers were around in the 1940s.
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I purchased this DVD on behalf of my neighbour who has two little grandsons who are football crazy.

They love to watch this over and over again, so it was a great value for money purchase that arrived in super quick time.

I would recommend this to other lads, both big and small, young and old who love football.
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on 14 August 2009
An evergreen treat!
Silly it may be, but it's damn fun and very entertaining with a wonderfully weird mix of actors and sportsmen as the WW2 prisoners of war take on the German football team as the dastardly Nazis look on!
Another Caine gem!
If you don't enjoy this feel-good classic you need a damn soul transplant!
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on 26 April 2012
a most enjoyable film, with all star cast from both Hollywood and te football world, A great story, about pride, The will to face the odds and win. Of course the acting from Pele Osie Ardiles and other footballers isn,t great, but is compensated the directors way guiding us through the grand sceme of things..enjoy
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2012
This is brilliant. Saw it as a lad when it came out at the cinema. A load of people who cant act, a terrible plot that makes no sense whatsoever, some former greats of the beautiful game and some wonderfully terrible lines:

"I know you, John Colby, Vest Ham United und England"

This is great fun on many different levels and it strangely works as a film. I liked the bit where Sly Stallone more or less just picks up a soft shot and they reckon he has the makings of a great goalkeeper or the bit when he gridiron style brings a guy down and Caine has to explain to him "we don't blaady play the American game!" like he wouldn't have worked that out by now. The team are obviously supposed to be England despite its international ('allied') flavour. If your not on the floor laughing by the time the bloke out of the Vicar of Dibly comes into the Commandant's office with three pints of lager (straight glasses)to talk old times of internationals then you don't have a soul.

Get it - its fun.
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