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The Game of Their Lives (2005)

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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.

Director:

David Anspaugh

Writers:

Geoffrey Douglas (book), Angelo Pizzo

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gerard Butler ... Frank Borghi
Wes Bentley ... Walter Bahr
Jay Rodan ... Frank 'Pee Wee' Wallace
Gavin Rossdale ... Stanley Mortensen
Costas Mandylor ... Charlie 'Gloves' Columbo
Louis Mandylor ... Gino Pariani
Zachery Ty Bryan ... Harry Keough (as Zachery Bryan)
Jimmy Jean-Louis ... Joe Gaetjens
Richard Jenik ... Joe Maca
Nelson Vargas Nelson Vargas ... John 'Clarkie' Souza
Craig Hawksley Craig Hawksley ... Walter Giesler
Bill Smitrovich ... Admiral Higgins
Patrick Stewart ... Older Dent McSkimming
Terry Kinney ... Dent McSkimming
John Rhys-Davies ... 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:

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

Genres:

Drama | History | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

IFC Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Miracle Match See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$175,336, 24 April 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$375,474, 12 June 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie claimed that English player Stanley Mortensen scored a hat-trick in a FA Cup Final game three years earlier, when it was not to happen for three years in the future. This was the famous "Matthews Final" of 1953 named after Mortensen's teammate Stan Matthews, despite Mortensen's hat-trick. This hat-trick is also the first Wembley FA Cup Final hat-trick. See more »

Goofs

During the match, the flags of Brazil and the competing nations are shown flying above the stadium. However, instead of the English flag (the George Cross), the flag of the United Kingdom is shown. See more »


Soundtracks

All She Wants to Do is Rock
Written by Wynonie Harris and Teddy McRae
Performed by Wynonie Harris
Courtesy of Global Licensing Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
We got Game!
24 April 2005 | by callmomradSee 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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