Escape To Victory stars many real footballers. Based on Zoltán Fábri’s Two Halves In Hell, Escape To Victory follows a group of Allied POWs, including Sylvester Stallone’s Robert Hatch, as they plot their escape from a POW camp. Escape To Victory gained attention when it was released in 1981 due to the number of professional footballers involved, including Pelé, who was named Athlete of the Century by L’Equipe that year.
Jaume Collet-Serra is reportedly planning a 2019 remake of John Huston’s seminal blend of football and military drama. MMA drama Anthony Tambakis, writer of Warrior, is attached to the project to add sports-based grit. The prospect of combining 21st-century footballing icons with a stellar cast like the 1981 original is exciting.
Escape To Victory is a groundbreaking film that combines sports and wartime drama. Huston’s ambition led him to include 14 professional footballers in Escape To Victory, boosting its sports action. Here are Escape To Victory’s real footballers.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento is revered for his play and athletic achievements. Pelé was a retired global superstar when he played Luis Fernandez in Escape To Victory. Fernandez scores one goal and creates two more as the Allies draw 4-4 with the enemy. Pelé is credited with coining the phrase “The Beautiful Game”
Bobby Moore’s casting as Terry Brady propelled Escape To Victory into dreamland. Moore is the only Englishman to win the FIFA World Cup, doing so in 1966 against Germany. Brady is a rock at the heart of the Allied defence in Escape To Victory, denying the German exhibition squad shots on goal time and again.
Carlos Rey’s midfield performance alongside Pelé’s Fernandez is crucial to the Allies’ life-or-death draw with the Germans. Ardilles formed Tottenham Hotspur’s best-ever team with Glenn Hoddle and Ricardo Villa. Ardilles coached four English clubs, including Spurs, before managing in eight countries.
Van Himst plays Michel Flieu in Escape To Victory, another member of the Allied team that escapes the undertaker. Van Himst won eight Belgian championships with Anderlecht. Van Himst’s injury in Escape To Victory is another example of the film imitating each player’s innate qualities. Van Himst was one of the most fouled players ever in the Belgian leagues.
Mike Summerbee is revered in the North-East and in Manchester. Summerbee played for Manchester City in the late 1960s and early 1970s and made eight appearances for England. The fiery right winger plays Sid Harmer in Escape To Victory.
Kazimierz Deyna is always mentioned among Manchester City’s football icons. Deyna was a rare talent who scored goals from unusual positions, including direct corner kicks. The mercurial attacking midfielder’s talent was never in question as he helped City avoid relegation and cemented his cult status. In Escape To Victory, Paul Wolchek showcases his rare attacking talents on the fictional German pitch.
Thoresen played Norwegian POW Gunnar Hilsson in Escape To Victory. Thoresen scored 152 goals in 314 appearances for FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Jacobus Theodorus Wilhelmus “Co” Prins scored 60 goals in six seasons for Ajax before joining 1. FC Kaiserslautern. This was rare in 1960s European football and made Prins a pioneer for Huston’s film sequences 25 years later. Prins plays Allied striker Pieter van Beck in Escape to Victory.
Sren Lindsted plays Allied striker Erik Ball. Lindsted reached the 1976 Danish Cup final as Holbaek Boldklub’s top scorer in 1977 and 1978. His performances in these two seasons attracted FC Twente, where he played from 1979 to 1982.
Roth is one of the few genuine stars of American soccer from the 1960s. The Yugoslavian-born defender played for the New York Cosmos alongside some all-time greats. Roth is in America’s National Soccer Hall of Fame, joining Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer. Roth plays Baumann alongside Bobby Moore in Escape to Victory.
Osman, Wark, O’Callaghan, & Sivell
Ipswich Town players joined Escape To Victory’s star-studded cast as Allied team members. Osman, Wark, O’Callaghan, and Sivell all contribute in the final match as the Allies overcome crooked refereeing and cheating by German exhibition players. Kevin Beattie played Michael Caine and Paul Cooper played Sylvester Stallone in Escape To Victory.