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Robert Allen Schnitzer
In World War II, a group of Nazi officers come up with a propaganda event in which an all star Nazi team will play a team composed of Allied Prisoners of War in a Soccer (Football) game. The Prisoners agree, planning on using the game as a means of escape from the camp. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sylvester Stallone lost about 40 lbs for the film because he didn't want a prisoner of war to look like an "Olympic Boxer" and he felt he needed that weight reduce to perform the tasks of a soccer goalie. See more »
During the final football match several of the flags feature a counter clockwise swastika meaning it is not the symbol of National Socialism but the sign of the Buddha. See more »
When Major Karl Von Steiner sees POW's playing football he suggests a friendly match between the guards and a select 11 of the prisoners. However as word of the match spreads, the German high command seize on it as a chance to publicly show the strength of the Germans to the world, while the escape committee within the POW camp start planning for a major escape to humiliate the Germans on their big day.
Well worth seeing simply because of the range of `famous' footballers in the cast and the fact that it is one of a select few films that is based around football. That is not to mean it is any good because of course it simply isn't. The film is a strange mix of POW movie and sports movie. The POW side of it is full of cliché and rip offs of better films, the music itself sounds like a watered down version of The Great Escape. The football action itself is saved for the final third. I think the film would have worked better if it had focused more on training (al la Dirty Dozen) rather than opening up the stuff around Hatch's escape. As it stands the game is actually quite enjoyable, of course it doesn't really play out like a real football match, but it's very hard to get that in a film.
For all those who say that coming back from 4-1 down at halftime is unrealistic and laughable, I say HA! A few seasons ago I watched Man United win 5-3 over Spurs despite losing 3-0 at halftime. Even in the past 3 weeks I have seen both Wolves and West Brom come back from a 3-0 halftime loss to win 4-3 against Leicester and West Ham respectively. Of course the long midfield runs etc are a little unrealistic but the game itself is the more enjoyable aspect of the film.
The cast are not that great. Caine does almost nothing and seems to have just been interested in playing football alongside Pele and Moore (who wouldn't!). Pele, Moore and the other footballers all do OK and seem happy to play (but have major problems with delivering their lines without sounding a little wooden). However, Stallone is probably the best of the cast. For the most part his performance is pretty weak and he is forced to be a strong chin in an escape plot, however he also does well with some comic stuff and seems to enjoy being a footballer!
Overall the film is a very strange hybrid, none of which really works very well. It is best viewed as a bit of fantasy football where the `Brits' beat the Germans at football (and everything else) mainly worth watching because they can't do it in real life! The sub-par rip offs of other films keep reminding us that this is not as good as it's peers, but it is worth seeing if you are a football fan even if it's a pretty poor product as a film.
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