ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – V – Escape to Victory (1981) Movie Review

Director: John Huston

Writer: Evan Jones, Yabo Yablonsky (Screenplay) Yabo Yablonsky, Djordje Milicevic, Jeff Maguire (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Paul Van Himst

Plot: 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.


Tagline – Now is the time for heroes

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Sports War Film

Story: Escape to Victory starts as German Prisoner of War Captain John Colby (Caine) is asked by a German Major Karl Von Steiner (Von Sydow) if he would like to have a football match, Colby accepts, with him putting together a team of elite players from different prisoners of war, with America Captain Robert Hatch (Stallone) talking his way onto the team to help his escape attempt.

As the team prepares for the game, Hatch is instructed to make a plan for the whole team to escape, with Colby needing to keep face with the German officers before the big game.

Thoughts on Escape to Victory

Characters – Captain Robert Hatch is the American in the prisoner of war camp, he is always planning an escape, but his latest plan is ruined by the upcoming football match, he pushes his way into the squad as the coach and then goalkeeper, as he uses his connections to create the latest plan of escape. Captain John Colby is one of the many former great footballers in the prisoner of war camp, he wants to prove himself on the pitch against one of the majors in the German side, once a great rival on the pitch, he arranges to put together his own team of players from around the world that are in camps to challenges the Germans to a match. Major Karl Von Steiner is the former professional footballer that wants to offer Colby a match, his sportsmanship side shines through, as he gives Colby what he wants, even if the rest of his military is against his idea, he just wants an honest match between men, not guards and prisoners.

PerformancesWe have three main stars of this film with Sylvester Stallone as the brash American working well through the film, Michael Caine as the calm collected English man is the highlight, with Max Von Sydow bringing to life an honest officer, proving not all Germans were bad.

StoryThe story here follows a group of prisoners of war offered a game of football by a German officer, looking for an honest game, only for it provide a plan to escape the prison. We have seen the escape from prison films before in film, with this being no different, with how the plan is put together, the only change comes in seeing how the honour of competing at sport will make difference. The story is keen to highlight that not all Germans were bad during the war, just like most people, they were left with no choice and tried to make the best of the situation.

Sport/WarThe football in the film is edited for the glory moments, with the former international stars, which do give those moments extra realism. The war backdrop shows us how operations would be put in place for an escape, while not showing any of the horrors of the situation.

SettingsThe film uses the prison camp for the most part, which will highlight the closed-up environment for the practise, while the escape plan is put in place.


Scene of the Movie – The match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Hatch’s improvement is way to unbelievable.

Final Thoughts This is a fun sports movie that shows the spirit of the game will always come through, with appearances from some of the biggest names in the game.

Overall: Enjoyable.

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