Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Sport  |  7 July 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,258 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 13 user | 40 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

The rise and fall of the N.Y. Cosmos. The soccer team that brought Pele to America; against the backdrop of N.Y. City in the 70's.




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Credited cast:
Nesuhi Ertegün ...
Himself (archive footage)
Narrator (voice)
Clive Toye ...
Shep Messing ...
Giorgio Chinaglia ...
Peppe Pinton ...
Werner Roth ...
Jay Emmett ...
Phil Woosnam ...
Raphael de la Sierra ...
Carlos Alberto ...
Franz Beckenbauer ...
Himself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marv Albert ...


A look back at one of the more curious fads in American professional sports, the sudden rise and precipitous fall of the North American Soccer League, spanning its existence 1968-1984, as seen through the experience of its most famous club, the New York Cosmos. The NASL made very little impact in the US, where soccer had virtually no following, until in 1975 the New York Cosmos succeeded in signing the most famous player in the world, Pele. Attendence for Cosmos games exploded, outdrawing even the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, to where exhibition games in Seattle were drawing huge crowds, and when Pele announced his retirement in 1977 his final game drew the biggest crowd to ever see a soccer game in the US. His retirement from the game began a slow but steady decline for the NASL as money issues for the league and the spending practices of the Cosmos became a running controversy. Written by Michael Daly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Goals. Greed. Girls. And that's just the first half... See more »


Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and some nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





Release Date:

7 July 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fußball vom anderen Stern - Die Geschichte von Cosmos New York  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,805 (USA) (7 July 2006)


$144,431 (USA) (1 September 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Pelé declined to participate in the documentary when the producers balked at his $100,000 fee. See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, a pair of "super fans" re-enact the Cosmos cheer. See more »


President Chimp Toe
Written by Steve Cobby and David McSherry
Performed by Fila Brazillia
Courtesy of Twentythree Records Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Those Lucky New York Fans
21 May 2006 | by (London) – See all my reviews

What a crazy laugh the New York Cosmos must have been back in the 70s! This is the story of one man and his dream to turn what was not much more than a pub team playing in a delapidated stadium into one of the best. Although the wheels came completely off in the early 80s it must have been huge fun whilst the show was on the road. As a football fan what would I have given to have Pele and Beckenbauer in my team (maybe even the crazy Chinaglia too), football is all about passion and dreams and the management team at the Cosmos delivered the fantasy in spades.

The film runs at a slick pace and there are lots of funny moments, the Mick Jagger bit made me laugh out loud. If you love football go and see it, you won't be disappointed. If you don't you'll still enjoy it as this is as much about all the clashing egos as much as what the team did on the pitch.

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