6.2/10
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46 user 21 critic

The Game of Their Lives (2005)

Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of the 1950 U.S. soccer team, who, against all odds, beat England 1 - 0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Although no U.S. 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

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

Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of the 1950 U.S. soccer team, who, against all odds, beat England 1 - 0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Although no U.S. 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

Taglines:

The match against England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on June 19, 1950 was "the game of their lives". See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

22 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Miracle Match  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director David Anspaugh and Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo were unhappy with Studio Executives, who cut their budget from sixty-five million dollars to twenty-seven million dollars. Thus, the film's running time had to be reduced from almost two hours and ten minutes, to one hour and forty-one minutes. Some notable exclusions were Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace as a German P.O.W., and an emotional scene of "America as a melting pot", in which the players go to Ellis Island and look up records of their ancestors. Pizzo said that only forty-five to fifty percent of what he intended to be in the movie, actually made it into the final cut. See more »

Goofs

Although Bill Smitrovich's character is clearly an Air Force general, he is identified in the credits as "Admiral Higgins". See more »


Soundtracks

Tambo
Written and Performed by James O'Connell
Courtesy of Architune, LLC
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User Reviews

 
We got Game!
24 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

O.K., how many of you know that the U.S. beat a heavily-favored English team in a 1950 World Cup Soccer upset? No? No-one? Researching the annals of Sports headlines would not necessarily provide you with the correct information, as the win was so astonishing that the final score of 0-1 was assumed by British journalists to be a typo, and was reported as an English victory of 10-1! And the American Press was too busy covering the onset of the Korean War to pay much attention to the unexpected triumph by a hastily thrown-together U.S. team in a sport which had not yet caught on in the States.

The Game of Their Lives exists to correct this glaring omission in Sports History. David Anspaugh (Hoosiers, Rudy) has directed the quintessential Soccer movie, compelling in its simplicity. Forced by an extremely limited budget to pare this true story down to its bare bones, what emerges is a straight-forward accounting of the American Spirit. On my way to the St. Louis premiere, an African taxi driver put it succinctly, yet enthusiastically, commenting, "Yes! Yes! That's what you Americans do! You make up your minds, pull things together and get things done!" The minimalist story is told in flashback.

Patrick Stewart (Yes, Star Trek) lends his authoritative voice to narration, in the role of Dent McSkimming, the only American reporter to cover the game in Brazil, traveling at his own expense. The setting is primarily "the Hill," a working class Italian-American neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. Against a visually accurate if somewhat nostalgic depiction of post-WW2 optimism and Family Values, the team players selected just weeks before the first round World Cup matches are introduced. It is immediately clear from their devotion to the game that Soccer is a thinly-veiled metaphor for Life for these amateurs. Against this backdrop of a simpler time, a result-oriented male psyche is exposed.

Gerard Butler gives a stand-out performance as Frank Borghi, the steadfast Goalie who is the heart of the team. Mr. Butler has demonstrated incredible range in recent films, going from action hero (Tomb Raider II) to big budget musical (Phantom of the Opera), to independent foreign film (Dear Frankie), to this near-documentary Sports ensemble piece. Just as Borghi is the glue which cements the U.S. team, Butler holds the cast together with an unrelenting presence. His measured determination is balanced against the frustrated pessimism of the titular Team Captain, the less-than-charismatic yet eminently practical Walter Bahr - who went on to coach at Penn State, played by Wes Bentley (American Beauty). Also turning in notable performances are the Mandylor brothers, Costas and Louis, together in a movie for the first time, portraying unrelated players. The personal stories rivet the audience to the chain of events which culminate in the eponymous game.

The match in question was played and shot on location in Brazil. Despite foreknowledge of the outcome, game play is heart-stoppingly exciting and the camera angles place you in the thick of the competition. There is some real Soccer being played on screen! Although I am not an avid Sports fan, I was surprised to find myself on the edge of my seat and carried away by the immediacy of the action. At the premiere in St. Louis, it was heart-warming to see several of the original players in person, including Frank Borghi, being finally honored after 55 years for their remarkable achievement.


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