Victory Parent Review
Unfortunately not all international squabbles can be resolved on the soccer pitch, basketball court or football gridiron instead of the battlefield. But think of the lives and property that would be saved if they could! In the movie Victory a sports game in the middle of a war zone mirrors the competition between World War II’s opposing sides.
Major Karl Von Steiner (Max Von Sydow) is a German officer who loves the game of soccer. While visiting a camp, he stumbles upon a group of POWs playing the game to pass the time. Seeing an opportunity to finally beat the Europeans, he devises a plan to pit the Allied prisoners against the German National team in a propaganda event to be held in Paris. He proposes the idea to Captain John Colby (Michael Caine), an imprisoned soccer player from England. Colby is reluctant at first but finally agrees to the match if the Germans agree to provide better food and adequate training gear for his team.
Luckily for Colby, the camp seems to be full of captured European footballers (who are played by real soccer athletes from England, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and Ireland.) The one volunteer Colby doesn’t want on his team is the cocky American, Captain Robert Hatch (Sylvester Stallone). However Hatch hopes to use the game as a way to escape and puts himself on Colby’s roster as a trainer. Eventually he becomes the goalie.
In spite of his annoying, non-stop jabbering in the net and his rough American-style play (he confuses American football with soccer), Hatch proves he is a team player when he not only escapes from the camp but allows himself to be recaptured as part of the French Resistance’s plan to help the entire group get free.
With actual soccer stars on the field, viewers will see some remarkable athletic feats. Among them is Cpl. Luis Fernandez’s (played by Brazilian superstar Pelé) famous upside-down bicycle kick, a move that even earns the applause of a German officer. Audiences will also appreciate the film’s remarkably light content. Although a man is shot in the opening scenes as he tries to escape, most of the other violence in this war movie involves sporting events. A handful of profanities and a brief scene of male buttock nudity in a shower are also included.
But while these players deserve an ovation for their athletic prowess, the real heroes in this film are those off the field. They are the everyday folks who risk their lives and safety in order to secure the prisoners freedom. With courage and bravery, these are the people inspired to take a chance to do something good in defiance of the Nazi invaders.Directed by John Huston. Starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pelé. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release July 30, 1981. Updated June 20, 2014
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Victory here.
Victory Parents Guide
Why is the German major so eager to arrange a soccer game? How does he show his respect for the other players? Why is he willing to risk his position in the army in order to see the two teams play?
Who makes sacrifices for the Allied players? Why is Hatch willing to allow himself to be recaptured? What do the French citizens do to encourage and help the players? Why do they do this?