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Victory (1981)

PG | | Drama, Sport, War | 31 July 1981 (USA)
As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team's escape.


John Huston


Yabo Yablonsky (story), Djordje Milicevic (story) | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvester Stallone ... The Players: U.S.A. - Capt. Robert Hatch
Michael Caine ... The Players: England - Capt. John Colby
Pelé ... The Players: Brazil - Cpl. Luis Fernandez
Bobby Moore ... The Players: England - Terry Brady
Osvaldo Ardiles ... The Players: Argentina - Carlos Rey
Paul Van Himst Paul Van Himst ... The Players: Belgium - Michel Fileu
Kazimierz Deyna ... The Players: Poland - Paul Wolchek
Hallvar Thoresen Hallvar Thoresen ... The Players: Norway - Gunnar Hilsson
Mike Summerbee Mike Summerbee ... The Players: England - Sid Harmor
Co Prins Co Prins ... The Players: Holland - Pieter Van Beck
Russell Osman Russell Osman ... The Players: England - Doug Clure
John Wark John Wark ... The Players: Scotland - Arthur Hayes
Søren Lindsted Søren Lindsted ... The Players: Denmark - Erik Ball (as Soren Linsted)
Kevin O'Callaghan Kevin O'Callaghan ... The Players: Ireland - Tony Lewis (as Kevin O'Calloghan)
Max von Sydow ... The Germans - Major Karl Von Steiner (as Max Von Sydow)


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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Now is the time for heroes. See more »


Drama | Sport | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | USA | Italy


English | German | French

Release Date:

31 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escape to Victory See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie is similar in storyline to two earlier European movies made around 1962. Firstly, it is similar to the Hungarian black-and-white movie Two Half-Times in Hell (1961). Winner of the Critics' Award at the 1962 Boston Cinema Festival, this movie told of a soccer match between Allied P.O.W.s and German soldiers and held on Adolf Hitler's birthday. This movie is also similar in storyline to the earlier Russian movie, Tretiy taym (1963). See more »


The vast majority of the extras in the soccer stadium have hairstyles and wear clothes associated with the late 1970s and early 1980s (long hair, flares and wide-collared shirts etc.). See more »


Lang - The Germans: We will win?
Major Karl Von Steiner - The Germans: We should. We are very strong, but... players can get injured. The referee can make mistakes.
Lang - The Germans: [knowingly] Oh, this referee is very good. He will make no mistakes.
Major Karl Von Steiner - The Germans: We can't do that. I have given my word.
Lang - The Germans: Karl, we cannot afford to take a chance. We must win.
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 20 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »


Referenced in Comic Relief Does University Challenge (2003) See more »


Symphony 5, 4th movement
Written by Dmitri Shostakovich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thrilling and attractive war fim about a soccer match between Allied prisioners of war and a German team
11 February 2019 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Enjoyable warlike movie with memorable images and outstanding acting by well-known faces . It packs crisp performance , intrigue , stirring scenes , suspense ,soccer game , twists and turns . Set in World War II, a group of inmates (Michael Caine , Daniel Massey ,Tim Pigott-Smith , Maurice Roëves) imprisioned at a German concentration camp , there the Prisoners agree a spectacular escape by planning on using the football game as means of escape from the stadium . This is a decent film about a daring breakout from inescapable Nazi concentration camp , a barbed-wired and strongly controlled camp by using a soccer team playing at Paris stadium , being performed by all star cast and professionally directed by John Huston . It deals with Nazi officers (Max Von Sidow , Arthur Brauss ) who 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 or Football game . Following the hard preparatives of a diverse group formed by rebel officers and soldiers mounting a dangerous getaway from a soccer match . Captain Robert Hatch (Sylvester Stallone comes off best among the familiar gallery of prisoners and Nazi stereotypes) is assigned the difficult mission to be in contact with the French freedom fighters . The most part of the film concerns on the elaborated process of scheming the escape ,it includes : secretly digging an underground tunnel to execute a great effort for the groundbreaking breakout throughout the sewers trying to make their bid to freedom . Later on , a football match is set up so that the players flee . As allied POWs prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, while the French Resistance (Amidou , Carole Laure) are making plans for help them escape through the sewer tunnels of Paris , of course , they want to finish the game first . Now is the time for heroes.Their goal was freedom...

This exciting story contains soccer sports , thrills, intrigue, tension, excitement galore, entertainment and lots of fun . However , being slightly unsatisfactory both for fans of star-studded prison escape sub-genre and for soccer buffs , the latter hoping to watch the best football scenes . This movie results to be a crossover between The great escape (1963) and The longest year (1974), and even Rocky (1976) , taking parts here and there . Although it holds heavily on the barely plausible notion of a squad of Pow soccer stars escaping from Paris stadium . Suspenseful WWII epic packs exceptional plethora of prestigious actors incarnating the motley group of POWs , giving good acting ,along with a great support cast . Stars Sylvester Stallone whose character , Captain Robert Hatch , remains today as charming in his long iconography . Along with the always great Michael Caine as a British official reluctant to participate in the masquerade . Secondary cast includes notorious actors as Carole Laure , Amidou , Arthur Brauss , Tim Pigott-Smith , Maurice Roëves , Anton Driffing ,Michael Wolf and the incombustible Max Von Sidow . In addition , the footballers carry out some cunningly devised games from Pele and his squad of internationals as half the Ipswich team , plus to Ardiles and Moore. For all of the soccer players who had acting parts in this movie, this picture has been their only ever theatrical film acting role.

Colorful, atmospheric cinematography by Gerry Fisher shot in Budapest, Hungary , Paris, France . Excellent production design and art direction with evocative sets by Dennis Washington . Rousing and lively soundtrack , nowadays a classic score , and being constantly reminded , by Bill Conti . The movie was scored by Bill Conti who had composed the Oscar nominated music score for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976). Victory (1981) is one of around ten collaborations of the pair and one of just a handful of non-Rocky franchise films scored by Conti and starring Stallone with the others being F.I.S.T. (1978), Lock up (1989), and Paradise alley (1978).This Soccer/Concentration camp movie was well directed by the great John Huston at his best , its tense filmmaking makes this crackerjack entertainment , being shot over a period of five weeks. The picture was made in a good time of the 60s , 70s and 80s when Huston resurged as a director of quality films with Fat City, (1972), The man who would be king (1975) and Wise blood (1979). He ended his career on a high note with Under volcano (1984), the afore-mentioned Honor of Prizzi (1985) and Dublineses (1987). Rating : 7/10 . Above average , as the intrigue is entertaining on its own , this is one of John Huston's best films , a model of his kind , definitely a must see if you are aficionado to WWII movies . Huston broke a new ground with this landmark movie , providing classic scenes and agreeable dialogs . Two thumbs up , essential and indispensable watching , a real must see.

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