Victory

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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. Now is the time for heroes.

ACTORS :  Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pelé

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1981

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Victory – 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.

Once again, you can’t trust the critics.

 

John Huston’s Victory has probably seen so much critical scorn it’s mind boggling. Is this movie Oscar material? Certainly not, but it’s a great film in many ways.

First of all, Bill Conti offers up a first rate uplifting musical score. It’s outstanding work and you hear a bit of resemblence to the score he wrote for a 1982 film that received a little bit of notoriety — The Right Stuff.

Next, the cinematography is simply gorgeous. Soccer is not an easy sport to film and I think this film was done wonderfully. I thought the choice of film stock, a certain amount of grain to make it almost like you’re watching a documentary was a nice touch. Some of the action shots and slow-mos are absolutely wonderful to behold.

Finally, we have a nice plot with a couple of surprises, a great cast, and an auteur director. Certainly, Huston was in failing health and not at the top of his game by this time but his work on this film was still memorable. For me I will always remember the wonderful line with “The Forger” asking Hatch “You don’t want to get shot as a spy do you?” And the quick reply, “No, I don’t want to get shot as anything.” Simple one liner, uncomplicated, yet funny.

Victory is a great inspirational film, a sure hit for soccer fans (of course he wasn’t offside – he was behind the ball when it was struck!) and a nice film for war buffs. Just ignore Maltin et al and spend the time watching it, widescreen DVD recommended, you won’t be sorry.

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