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Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016)

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Pele's meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading Brazil to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17 is chronicled in this biographical drama.

Directors:

Jeff Zimbalist (as Jeffrey Zimbalist), Michael Zimbalist

Writers:

Jeff Zimbalist (as Jeffrey Zimbalist), Michael Zimbalist

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kevin de Paula Kevin de Paula ... Pele
Leonardo Lima Carvalho ... Younger Pele
Seu Jorge ... Dondinho
Mariana Nunes ... Celeste Arantes (Pele's Mother)
Milton Gonçalves ... Waldemar de Brito
Seth Michaels ... Mario Zagallo
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Feola
André Mattos ... Santos club's coach
Phil Miler ... Narrator (voice)
Rafael Henriques Rafael Henriques ... Yuri (14 year old)
Felipe Simas Felipe Simas ... Garrincha
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adriano Aragon ... French Announcer (voice)
Mariana Balsa Mariana Balsa ... Lucia
Eric Bell Jr. ... Zoca (voice)
Diego Boneta ... Jose
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Storyline

Pele's meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading Brazil to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17 is chronicled in this biographical drama.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A boy with nothing who changed everything.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 May 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pelé See more »

Filming Locations:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,226, 15 May 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$27,312, 22 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Seu Jorge played Pelé dos Santos in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). See more »

Goofs

In the film, Pelè's mother is a servant in Josè Altafini "Mazzola's" home. In real life, both Pelè and Altafini were from modest families. They also lived in different towns. See more »

Soundtracks

Celeste's Theme
performed by Nikita Gandhi
Composed by A.R. Rahman
© 2016 Sony Classical
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User Reviews

 
It's a kick
7 May 2016 | by David FergusonSee all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. From rags to riches … a common expression that often leads to a paint-by-numbers movie. Co-directors Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist are fortunate in that their "coming of age" subject is the globally famous Pele' – often considered the greatest soccer/futbol player of all-time.

Rather than revisit the career of the transcendent player who later dedicated his life to humanitarian causes, the film kicks off with a 17 year old Pele trotting out onto the pitch at the 1958 World Cup. It then flashes back 8 years to when 9 year old "Dico" was growing up in the slums of Sao Paulo. We get to see his relationship with his family … his dad taught him to play, and his friends were loyal to him and encouraged him to pursue his dream.

There are some similarities to "The Sandlot" as we watch the joy these boys have in playing the sport whenever and wherever they can … plus the origin of the somewhat derogatory and now immortal nickname. It seemed that Pele' was able to carry this love of the game throughout his career. We see boys huddled around a radio listening to the 1950 World Cup as Brazil's team was humiliated … an event that played a role in Pele' returning pride to a bruised country.

Kevin de Paula plays Pele' as he works his way up through the age groups and national teams. Often the youngest and shortest player, the film depicts him as a shy kid often out of his element … the polar opposite to the beaming superstar we so often saw later in his career. There is an explanation of the roots of the "Ginga" style and its ties to the Brazilian culture and martial arts.

For some reason, Vincent D'Onofrio is cast as Brazil's Coach Feola and we are forced to endure a tortuous accent that is basically inexcusable these days. There are also some exaggerations in the crowd scenes and shots of the press, though young de Paula underplays the lead. Colm Meaney plays George Raynor, the coach of Sweden in that infamous 1958 World Cup, and we do get a cute little cameo from Pele' himself.

The film does a nice job with the young man's childhood and progression towards superstar (the IOC named him the athlete of the century). He is presented as close to his family, and inherently quiet and calm. The match clips of Pele' that play over the closing credits are proof that a movie just can't capture the transcendence of his talent. Pele' is truly the reason it's "the beautiful game".


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