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Victory (1981, United States)

Original title: Escape to Victory

Victory Escape to Victory 1981

Running time: 115 minutes

Language: English / German / French

During World War 2 in one of the prisoner of war camp German officer recognizes among the prisoners a man that he met before the war. They met on the soccer field - British officer is John Colby, who before war was one of the top English soccer players. Colby remembers him, although now his career is already over. But the German sees it as opportunity to settle the score with Colby, he proposes to set up a friendly game - German guards team against the eleven prisoners chosen by Colby. Englishman hesitates, but begins the negotiations - he wants a separate block for his players, extra food rations and time to train them. In a sportsmanship spirit the German agrees. The first clash between them takes place when Colby demands that few of the Slavic players would be part of his team. But Polish, Czech, Russian or Ukrainian prisoners are the scum of the Earth for Germans and the commandant is reluctant to agree.

Soon the high rank British officers decide to get involved in the whole idea - they want Colby to use the opportunity that the game creates to help with the plan to escape for some of the prisoners. Especially American captain Hatch is keen to be part of the team, although he knows literally nothing about football. When the news about the planned match spreads around the German propaganda machine gets involved - they change the venue to stadium in Paris and instead of just guards from the camp they want to prepare a team of the best players in whole army. Nazis wants to use the game to show how superior their race is comparing to rest of the world.

Classic war film that uses soccer as the base of the whole story about the sportsmanship, fair play and how they quickly disappear when war begins. Great cast, that included top soccer players of the 1970s, in the entertaining and uplifting story.

Our rating

7.6 / 10

Overall rating

8 / 10


3 / 10

Soccer scenes

4 / 10


4 / 10

Victory Escape to Victory 1981 Victory Escape to Victory 1981

Watch full Victory

 Victory Victory

Victory videos

Escape to Victory trailer

Creators of Victory

John Huston films

John Huston


Yabo Yablonsky films

Yabo Yablonsky


Djordje Milicevic films
Jeff Maguire films

Jeff Maguire


Evan Jones films

Evan Jones


Cast of Victory

Michael Caine films

Michael Caine

as John Colby

Sylvester Stallone films

Sylvester Stallone

as Robert Hatch

Max von Sydow films

Max von Sydow

as Karl Von Steiner

Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pele films
Bobby Moore films

Bobby Moore

as Terry Brady

Osvaldo Ardiles films

Osvaldo Ardiles

as Carlos Rey

Paul Van Himst films

Paul Van Himst

as Michel Fileu

Kazimierz Deyna films

Kazimierz Deyna

as Paul Wolchek

Co Prins films

Co Prins

as Pieter Van Beck

 Pele films


as Luis Fernandez

Anton Diffring films

Anton Diffring

as German Commentator

Victory trivia

Real soccer stars

Eighteen international soccer stars played in this movie, including Pele, Osvaldo Ardiles, Kazimierz Deyna, Hallvar Thoresen, Paul Van Himst, Co Prins among others. For most of them it was the only film they ever performed in (exception is Pele).

Michael Caine stand-in

Kevin Beattie was Michael Caine’s stand-in during the action scenes and according to Osvaldo Ardiles not without a reason - at that time Caine was 47 and as Ardiles told press in one of the interviews Caine’s football skills were "awful, and he couldn’t even run 20 yards".

The true story

The events in Victory / Escape to Victory are very loosely based on a story that supposedly took place during World War 2, when in the Eastern Front match took place between Russian and Ukrainian prisoners against German guards, but lately this story is considered more of a myth than historical event.

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