VICTORY—since the star of this $10,000,000 defeat, Sylvester Stallone, managed to sit out the Vietnam War (the real one, not Rambo) perhaps that left him with the guts to headline this 1981 insult to POWs. What then was the excuse for co-star & combat vet Michael Caine (Korea) and director John Huston (WW2) to besmirch themselves with such idiocy? Probably it was another whim-work for Huston, and Caine no doubt wanted to hang with him again after The Man Who Would Be King. They were reportedly not too enamored with the ego demands of Sergeant Sly.
Plot (ripping off The Great Escape and The Longest Yard) has Allied prisoners playing a soccer game against a team of their German captors, staged as propaganda by the Nazis, and as an escape attempt by the prisoners with help from the French Resistance. Caine is the best-fed POW the Third Reich ever didn’t have, in 117 minutes that gamble on contemporary audiences being either so insane for soccer that they’ll watch anything or knowing squat about WW2 except Hitler’s name.
Eighteen internationally famous soccer stars are on hand, including Pele, as is Max Von Sydow (in check-collecting mode). It made $27,450,000. With George Mikell, Anton Diffring, Maurice Roeves and Daniel Massey. This is so implausible it actually makes you feel sympathy for the Nazis— being portrayed as such dopes. A Huston low point, though Caine and Stallone both dug even deeper into the dramatic dungheap.