HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Why Don't You Just Die!
Cranes are Flying, The
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Escape to Victory The best football war film ever made!
Year: 1981
Director: John Huston
Stars: Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Max von Sydow, Daniel Massey, Tim Pigott-Smith, Julian Curry, Clive Merrison, Maurice Roëves, Pelé
Genre: Action, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 6 votes)
Review: Everybody loves a good war. I personally watched Iraq on CNN, 24 hours a day for 3 weeks non-stop, living only on a diet of Jaffa cakes and pro-plus. Then my eyeball turned red and I had to stop. Everybody also loves a good football match so put the two together and what do you get? Well certainly not Escape to Victory. Christmas 1914, that football match in No-Man’s-Land, now that would have made a good film, Bertie, Ginge and Little Timmy kicking a pig’s bladder about with the Hun, dodging unexploded shells and corpses.

As far removed from the terrible reality of war as its possible to get, the Nazi propoganda machine puts Max von Sydow’s sympathetic Wehrmacht Major in charge of arranging an exhibition match in Paris between the cream of Aryan Soccer talent and a rag-tag assortment of Allied POW’s. (Keep an eye out for von Sydow’s laughable introduction to the Allies which requires a jack-booted stunt double to perform the keepie-ups)

The film plays out like The Great Escape with a football twist and though Bill Conti rips off Elmer Bernstein's memorable score, its still a catchy number. Michael Caine undertakes the selection and training of the Allied team (unfortunately the camp has an abundance of Ipswich players). But as they begin preparations, the camp’s British officers (played by a bunch of English thesps) saddle them with a wider plan to escape during the interval into the Parisian sewer system with the aid of the French Resistance. A brash American, Captain Robert Hatch (Stallone) can’t quite grasp Association Football rules but fancies himself as a bit of a Steve McQueen and so is seconded into the team to help secure the escape.

As ex-West Ham and England striker Major John Colby, a sweaty and bloated Caine does his best impression of Bobby Moore whilst the real Moore and the other Soccer stars ham their way around the makeshift training ground (its no wonder that they’re all POW’s, none of them look like they could even bayonet a goat). Pelé mumbles through most of the film but is put to good use as the humble Jesse Owens figure who manages to stick it to the Nazi top-brass (his nationality conveniently switched to Trinidadian while the Odessa boys were living it up in down town Rio). However as the end credits roll I can’t help but think that even the soldiers from ‘Ello ‘Ello could catch a black POW on the loose in German occupied France.

Pele’s overhead volley was apparently filmed in one take and the director makes sure that they milk every last drop. Unfortunately the film gave Pelé the confidence to extend his acting CV to include the eighties flick Hotshot, which also features the famous kick. He subsequently ended his distinguished career in cinema to concentrate on embezzling charity money and being the face of Viagra.

Soccer is not an easy sport to film and the match generally consists of 22 men in skin tight strips (some tighter than others Caine!) chasing a ball but there is some good cinematography for the set pieces, such as the aforementioned volley and the Ardiles flick.

As the film nears its climax, the allies find themselves facing a decisive penalty against a medicine ball with a disinterested crowd who only clap because they’re being paid (should have employed the coin throwers from the old shed-end at Chelsea). Although the first few tiers of the crowd have been draped in the obligatory French beret and flat cap, the end riot sees a bunch of Stones fans running about in flairs and seventies ski jackets.

Incidentally the referee should have been shot, not for his German bias but because an over-excited Stallone clearly jumps at least a foot and a half behind the goal line with the ball still in his hands. Disgraceful! I also think that if such a scenario were to ever arise, the Evian swilling players of today wouldn’t be seen dead doing their bit for the war effort.

‘Ah, David Beckham, it's a shame the war has ended your career'.

'Nah, it's alright, I've got a new fashion range coming out’.

Hyped to death during the 1981 NASL season, the film was inspired by the real war-time exploits of Dynamo Kiev (renamed FC Start) who took on the Nazis and won a series of matches in 1942. Unfortunately, on this occasion the Nazis didn’t take too kindly to losing and had them slaughtered like dogs.
Reviewer: Phil Michaels

 

This review has been viewed 39989 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: