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The Game of Their Lives (2005)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Sport  |  22 April 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 2,458 users   Metascore: 47/100
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Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of the 1950 US soccer team who, against all odds, beat England 1 - 0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Although no US team has ever won a World Cup title, this story is about the family traditions and passions which shaped the lives of the players who made up this team of underdogs.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Borghi
Frank 'Pee Wee' Wallace
Stanley Mortensen
Charlie 'Gloves' Columbo
Gino Pariani
Harry Keough (as Zachery Bryan)
Joe Maca
Nelson Vargas ...
John 'Clarkie' Souza
Craig Hawksley ...
Walter Giesler
Admiral Higgins
Older Dent McSkimming
Dent McSkimming
Bill Jeffrey (as John Rhys Davies)


Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of the 1950 US soccer team who, against all odds, beat England 1 - 0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Although no US team has ever won a World Cup title, this story is about the family traditions and passions which shaped the lives of the players who made up this team of underdogs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


America's finest moment in the world's greatest game. See more »


Drama | History | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

22 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Miracle Match  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$175,336 (USA) (22 April 2005)


$375,474 (USA) (10 June 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Opened in only 64 theaters in its US release. Five weeks later it was only showing in 3. See more »


When Frank, Gino, and Pee-Wee walk in the street after leaving the bar, they are shown walking past an aluminum vertical sliding garage door. These were not in existence during this time period, rather they were wooden horizontal doors that opened outward. See more »


Monkey Pad
Written by James O'Connell & Christopher S. Parker
Performed by 'Beakertronic'
Courtesy of Architune, LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

This will be more than a just soccer movie.
17 May 2004 | by (Saint Louis Missouri) – See all my reviews

This film records the most unlikely upset in World Cup history, the 1-0 United States defeat of England in the Brazilian mining city of Belo Horizonte ("Beautiful Horizon"), 300 miles north of Rio di Janeiro, on June 29, 1950. The United States was a team of part time amateurs who were drawn against the mighty English squad, playing in its first World Cup and determined to show the world their mastery of the game they had invented. Football fans who saw the score reported assumed the score line was a typographical error, as it was unthinkable that the US could even stay with, much less defeat, an English side which featured some of the games all time great players, including Billy Wright, Sir Stanley Matthews (who sat out the match), Stan Mortenson and Wilf Mannion. London bookmakers offered odds of 500-1 against such an preposterous event. The New York Times refused to run the score when it was first reported, deeming it a hoax.

The US team was a collection of first generation American soccer players drawn mainly from club teams on the east coast and included five St. Louisans, four of whom grew up in the "Hill" neighborhood of South St. Louis: goalie Frank Borghi, fullback Frank Colombo, forward Gino Pariani, and midfielder Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace, and also the long time St. Louis University soccer coach, halfback Harry Keough. The US had only one full time professional player on its roster, Hugh McIllvenny from Scotland. They had played together only two weeks when they departed for Brazil. They'd lost to Italy in a World Cup warm up by the score of 9-0, and had been defeated by Spain in the World Cup opener 3-1.

It was reported that the American players were so confident that victory was unlikely that several of them were out late the night before the game enjoying themselves and sported hangovers at the opening kickoff. Borghi was quoted afterwards as saying he was hoping to hold the English to five or six goals. The English team poured forward, firing shot after shot at goalie Borghi, but could not score. Six minutes before half time, U.S. center forward Joe Gaetgens, a Haitian born dishwasher living in New York, redirected with a lunging header a shot by half back Walter Bahr, who is himself, incidentally, the long time Penn State soccer coach and the father of NFL placekickers and former Penn State soccer players Chris and Matt Bahr. The misdirected shot beat England keeper Bert Williams, and the single goal stood up through a second half where the Americans withstood constant English pressure and numerous near misses, including three shots off the woodwork.

The Brazilian crowd thoroughly enjoyed the failures of the pretournament favorites and carried the US team off the field after the final whistle. The game was noteworthy for the complete lack of interest in the result by the American press and public. The only American reporter at the game, Dent McSkimming of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, used his vacation time and paid his own way to Brazil to cover the game.

Author Geoffrey Douglas' book advances the premise that the victory was not a fluke when one considers the character and promise of the winning American players, as evidenced by the upstanding and honorable men they came to be.

Trivia: the English national soccer team has never again worn blue shirts they wore against the US in that game.

The film was shot on location in St. Louis and Brazil, and features former US National Soccer Team Captain John Harkes as a consultant and soccer playing extra.

61 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Does ANYONE know the USA DVD release date? malty_mom2003
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