Victory 1981 ***


Known as Escape to Victory outside the US, this POW camp drama is also a sports film; it’s the story of a group of gifted footballers who find themselves captured during WWII, and forced to play a propaganda showcase game against a German team. The players are also masterminding an escape bid, but when they realise the importance of the game on morale, they’re split between their personal safety and scoring a Jesse Owens-style propaganda coup against the Nazis. John Huston’s Boys Own adventure may be in questionable taste, but with the free world’s team led by Michael Caine, and Sylvester Stallone in goals, Victory is a guilty pleasure for football and war movie fans. And the gimmick of having real football stars playing versions of themselves makes Victory a snapshot of life in 1980 rather than WWII; from Pele to Bobby Moore, they’re all clearly up for the game of their lives.


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