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Review: Victory (1981)

Directed by: | 110 minutes | action, , war | Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, , , , , , Co Prins, , , , , , , Daniel Massey, , Jack Lenoir, , , Jack Kendrick,

A film in which the leading roles are played by a top actor, a superficial action hero and the most famous soccer player in the world; a very special combination. In this 1981 film, director John Huston has managed to bring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Pelé together for this drama set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Michael Caine is the leader and captain of a football team consisting of allied footballers of various nationalities who are allowed to compete against the German national team. The Germans want to use this match, which will take place in Paris, as a propaganda stunt while the footballers want to take the opportunity to escape. The Germans do not want to lose face and will do everything they can to step off the field as winners. The heavy task rests on the shoulders of the footballers to offer the Germans a good match. Do these heroes stand a chance against Die Mannschaft?

In itself an interesting fact for a reasonable film, especially considering the potential of the cast. Unfortunately, “Victory” does not always come out well. The film may be set during the Second World War, but it does not give a good picture of the war. The prisoners in the camp are very well off and have all the amenities. In addition, the German occupier is also nice and sympathetic (Max von Sydow) and thus the impression of the war is very poorly represented. There is no tension, no threat, and no sense of fear that war should evoke. This is a shame, because in this way the contradictions between the Germans and the prisoners of war are underexposed.

Almost all footballers in the team are played by real players and not by the least. For example, Pelé, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardiles have become five times world champions together. During the film little of these players are shown, the emphasis is on Michael Caine and Stallone, but at the end of the film, during the big game, this is made up for and we see inimitable actions of Pelé and Osvaldo Ardiles. This makes the film special.

The script is therefore reasonable, but the performance is a bit weak here and there. You can leave acting to men like Michael Caine and Max von Sydow. Sylvester Stallone, as always, plays with little depth. Stallone as a football player is of course not at all possible, even as a goalkeeper he is not convincing. Pelé’s acting is particularly mediocre, but he is forgiven for that by the arts he shows on the football field.

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