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The Game of Their Lives (2005)

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0:37 | Trailer
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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was filmed during a summer in and around St. Louis' Italian neighborhood known as "The Hill". Many of the family-owned businesses there participated, and were transformed into part of the set with temporary façades and storefronts to give a 1950s-era feel. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in My Big Break (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Opus One
Written by Sy Oliver
Performed by the Time Travelers Big Band
Courtesy of MuseNet.Com
See more »

User Reviews

This will be more than a just soccer movie.
17 May 2004 | by peterdunne02See 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.


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Details

Official Sites:

IFC Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 August 2005 (South Korea) 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

Gross USA:

$375,750

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$388,998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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