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History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This DVD collection takes you beyond great goals and classic match action, to focus on every aspect of the game - on and off the pitch, along the corridors of power, from its humble beginnings to the billion dollar industry it is today.

The series investigates the factors that have enabled soccer players to become culturlal icons and millionaires, recognized throughout the world. Through exclusive interviews filmed in over 50 countries, it explores the tremendous influence soccer holds over our lives.

Every aspect of the sport is covered with exclusive footage, ground-breaking interviews with icons of the game - past and present and revealing insights into why soccer generates more excitement, passion, and wealth across the world than any other sport.

With amazing DVD extras including rare and previously unseen footage, extended interviews and player profiles, this is must-see viewing for every true fan of the game!

Collect all six volumes plus a bonus seventh DVD in a special limited edition DVD box set:

Vol. 1: Origins / Football Cultures
Vol. 2: Evolution / European Superpowers
Vol. 3: Brazil / South American Superpowers
Vol. 4: For Club and Country / The Dark Side
Vol. 5: Superstars / The Media
Vol. 6: Africa / A Game For All / Futures (2 DVDs)

Approximate Running Times:
Six Volumes (Seven Discs): 11 hrs, 16 mins
DVD Extras: 3 hrs, 50 mins

**Spanish-language version also included.**


The entire history of the world's favorite game? It's an extraordinary challenge that could go have gone horribly wrong, but History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game is a class act. It boasts top-drawer production values, including narration by Terence Stamp, access to everybody who has really mattered in the game, ever, plus loads of famous, rare, and never-seen-before footage, each volume offering a blend of narrative, action, and illuminating interviews. This is a polished product: part celebration, part commemoration, but always with a sharp investigative sense, digging around the misty-eyed, good ol' days tradition, to explore in the company of those interviewed the reality behind some of soccer's myths and legends.

The breadth of enquiry is naturally impressive, as is the narrative structure, but it's the deft handling of the subplots that really sets this apart, including: analysis of the dominant club sides such as Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Milan (volume 2); the evolution of Brazil (volume 3); the superstar casualties, like Maradona and Garrincha (volume 5); football as an agent of social control in Victorian England (volume 1); the revolution in French football that created the 1998 World Champions (volume 4); and the failure, so far, of Africa to fulfil Pele's famous World Cup prediction (volume 6). There's so little material here that isn't memorable that it's difficult to pick highlights, but action aside (and it's hard to think of an historically important game that isn't featured), an emotional Maradona exposing the "conspiracy" that fixed the 1990 World Cup final (volume 2) is an unforgettable slice of soccer culture.

History of Soccer on DVD comes complete with a heap of extras (between 33 and 54 minutes' worth per volume) including, across the set, every single goal from every World Cup Final game; extended interviews with the likes of Pele, Maradona, Zidane, and Bobby Charlton; loads of "first-ever-recorded-on-film" material including the 1907 England-Scotland game; text-only biographies of the major interviewees; extended tournament highlights of past European Championships, African Nations Cups, World Club Championships, Asian Cups, and, of course, World Cup Finals. The picture itself is presented in widescreen, and there's a Spanish-language track plus an Easter egg of additional hidden material in every volume. --Alex Hankin

Special Features

  • English and Spanish language versions
  • Seven volumes: Origins & Soccer Cultures, Evolution & European Superpowers, Brazil & South American Superpowers, For Club and Country & The Dark Side, Superstars & the Media, Africa A Game for All, and Futures
  • Never-before-seen footage of the first-ever moving pictures of soccer (1897)
  • The first-ever FA Cup Final on film (Spurs vs. Sheffield Utd. 1901)
  • The first international match on film (Wales vs. Ireland)
  • The first England vs. Scotland game on film (1907)
  • Rare footage of the first European Cup final (1927)
  • Extended interviews with some of soccer's greats: Pele, Zizinho, Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Sir Bobby Charlton, and more
  • Every single goal from every World Cup Final game
  • Easter eggs
  • Biographies and more

Product Details

  • Actors: Terence Stamp, Pele, Maradona
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Dolby
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 914 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C238U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,416 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Nieman on January 8, 2005
Format: DVD
This 6 DVD box set is titled, "History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game" on the outer package, but in fact, the documentary is actually called "History of FOOTBALL," so I will be using the word "football" to describe this great game, as it should be called.

At any rate, this is a very meticulous package. It contains the first ever, motion picture of football. Film footage of the 1901 FA Cup Final between Spurs and Sheffield United. Every World Cup final goal ever scored. And these are just the EXTRAS.

The real show is the documentary, narrated wonderfully by Terence Stamp. It starts from the beginning, where a multitude of cultures and nations began to kick a ball around, and it moves through every significant event that has shaped the football world since.

There is the Soccer War, where an actual war was started as a result of a football match.

There is the Moscow Dynamo team, captured in Nazi-occupied Russia, whose exploits against Nazis in a concentration camp were the stuff of communist legend, but are revealed to have been less than legendary now that the truth can be told.

There are the giants of club football, such as Manchester United and Liverpool on the England side, Juventus, Milan, and Inter on the Italian side, Real Madrid and Barcelona on the Spanish side, and many others. And there is even a look at the darker side of the game, such as hooliganism, various victims of air crashes, and the horrendous Hillsborough tragedy.

A spotlight is shone on every football-loving nation, from England, where the game's governing body was founded, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Holland, Germany, Russia, and many more.

There is tragedy and triumph, elation and dejection at every moment.
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By A Customer on December 3, 2003
Format: DVD
HOS is certainly an ambitious series. With hundreds of teams, leagues & countries playing the game, there'll always be omissions. Many of the topics they chose to cover deal with social and political issues surrounding the game's development. They certainly give due respect to the giants of the game. However, they seem to have spent most of their budget on World Cup highlights as there's very little club football in the shows.
Despite the sometimes arrogant commentary and questionable generalizations (such as the howler that the Soviet sport system didn't produce champions in team sports), HOS is a useful addition to any fan's collection.
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By A Customer on November 1, 2003
Format: DVD
A lavish production by people who clearly love Soccer, this is probably the best sport documentary series ever produced and worth every cent.
The DVD box set contains a 13-episode documentary series exploring various aspects of Soccer's development and cultural significance as well as its greatest moments, and a whole slew of extras featuring *hours* of match highlights, extended interviews, more featurettes, biographies and even some easter eggs, little silent documentary films showing various regions' passion for the game. The production values are absolutely fantastic, equaling any of the Ken Burns documentary series. The range of interviews is staggering - lengthy and utterly engrossing chats with the likes of di Stefano, Maradona, Pele, Menotti, Sandro Mazzola and Jurgen Klinsmann to name just a few.
Absorbing, fascinating, well made and well worth it. Five out of five.
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Format: DVD
How ironic the subtitle! "The Beautiful Game." Beauty? Game? Where? If you consider high production values, a slowly building symphonic sound track, repeated close-ups of late afternoon sun-dappled water, or long shots of British dock yards beautiful, then perhaps there is "beauty" in this video. If a few select shots of crucial world cup and European championship goals, after lengthy commentary by ex-players and coaches, is your idea of "game," then perhaps there is game as well. But if one is looking for a video that actually SHOWS the beautiful game, this is definitely not it.

And what about the "History" part? Even for the academic with a high tolerance for boredom this video falls short. Its history and analysis is superficial for anyone with much knowledge of the game.

So much superficial discussion of historic teams, so much slow-building pseudo-dramatic music, so little real analysis off the field, so little sustained footage of action on the field. Ultimately, the video fails to be either a history of soccer (too superficial) or a depiction of "the beautiful game" (no sustained footage).

Perhaps the video's most embarrassing moment comes in the analysis that one interviewee provides of the failures of soccer in the United States. The game, he argues, will never catch on in the U.S. because it is too low scoring, because American audiences, who only understand goals, will never learn to appreciate the nuances of the game. Bitter irony. The viewer watches in disbelief as the producers of the video then go on to show us nothing BUT the scores of Pele, George Best, and the rest of the NASL stars of the 1970s! And so it goes throughout the series. Only goals. So much celebration of Hungary's passing attack but only goals.
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