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The Miracle Match

4.3 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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(Sep 12, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the spirit of REMEMBER THE TITANS, MIRACLE, and THE ROOKIE, THE MIRACLE MATCH is the incredible story about the men behind one of the all-time greatest upsets in sports history. Two weeks before the 1950 World Cup, a ragtag group of recreational soccer players from St. Louis and New York were chosen to represent the USA in Brazil. Consumed with conflicts — personal, cultural, and playing styles — they had mere days to become a team. And then they had to play the British, the best team in the world. Inspired by a newfound belief in the team, their passion and talent turned into pure magic on the field — and the unthinkable happened. Filled with heart-stopping action, and featuring Patrick Stewart, this triumphant story is a rousing celebration of the human spirit, love of the sport, and pride of country.

The writing-directing team of Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh tries to do for soccer what their films Hoosiers and Rudy did for, respectively, basketball and football. Here's another true story, a legendary upset in the early days of the World Cup. In 1950, America hastily forms a team to play against the world. We center on a tight Italian community in St. Louis providing the bulk of the national team. We meet GQ-ready stars led by goalie Frank Borgi (The Phantom of the Opera's Gerald Butler, deftly handling the duties). This brotherhood of players is unfortunately strapped to play off clichés and the movie never really engages us beyond the autumn-tinged scenery. A big part of the blame goes to the narrator telling us what we should be feeling (perhaps because we dumb Americans don't know soccer, er, football, like the rest of the world). No fault in the performance of the narrator/journalist (played by Patrick Stewart as the elder, Terry Kinney as the younger) or the rest of the cast. Perhaps the game is elusive to cinematic grandeur, (how many memorable soccer movies can you name?), but the movie is also tired and slow, something those earlier sports films were not. There's only a brief stirring when the earnest Gino (Louis Mandylor) has a wedding-date conflict and as the most famous English player of the day, Stanley Mortenson (Gavin Rossdale), patronizes the Americans in a public speech. Perhaps the studio knew they had a cellar dweller; the film was barely released and retitled for home video echoing the moniker of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Soccer kids will enjoy the film, but others better stick to Geoffrey Douglas's book, The Game of Their Lives, the film's original title (and mistakenly left on the end credits). --Doug Thomas

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Wes Bentley, Gerard Butler, Gavin Rossdale, Jay Rodan, Costas Mandylor
  • Directors: David Anspaugh
  • Writers: Angelo Pizzo, Geoffrey Douglas
  • Producers: Angelo Pizzo, Billy Higgins, Ginger T. Perkins, Greg Johnson, Howard Baldwin
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G8P1Y6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,380 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Miracle Match" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
THE GAME OF THEIR LIVES was a very good movie. It was a very good movie that I think could've been a great movie.

There really isn't any need for spoilers because it is a sports movie--and sports movies have happy, victorious endings about 99% of the time. But this story isn't really about the ending--which any viewer could predict--it is more about a team coming together at the last minute and working to form cohesion and camaraderie while facing unbeatable odds.

When the US World Cup team was formed, it was mainly comprised of 2 groups, the players from St. Louis' "Hill" and the "East Coasters." A lot of these men had played soccer well, but not professionally. They were men with other jobs like a mailman, undertakers, and a dish washer. The 2 groups had different styles to overcome and each had its own leader: Frank Borghi (Gerard Butler) led the men from the Hill and Walter Bahr (Wes Bentley) led the East Coasters. I really enjoyed these two characters. The film did an excellent job of showing their effort to create a sense of team spirit in a very limited amount of time.

There are plenty of colorful characters in the film, which strengthened the point of how they were all plucked from their lives for a mere 3 weeks to head down to Brazil and play their hearts out. There was Pee Wallace (who is afraid to fly) and Gino Pariani--who are known as a lethal combo on the field or "pitch." There's Charlie Colombo and Joe Gatjaens--Charlie who wears gloves for every game and Joe--a Haitian--who turns cartwheels and shows infectious optimism. There's Harry Keough, the young mailman learning Spanish at home so he can converse with his girlfriend.

Many of these men were veterans.
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"The Game Of Their Lives" lives up to expectations as a exciting underdog sports movie. I loved it. Saw it in a theater with only 3 other people - at noon, on a Monday, raining - but it didn't matter because I was engaged and wrapped up in the 1950's story of a bunch of ordinary guys who did something extraordinary.

Based on a real event with real, still living, people it is about heros of WWII who came home and went about their lives until asked to form a team for the World Cup Soccer matches. They have only weeks and decide to get some players from the east coast and some from one area of St. Louis, MO. from the Italian enclave known as The Hill.

Frank Borghi (Gerard Butler) is the goalie and a leader of the group. The challenge is to get the whole group to pull together and mesh the different styles to make a team that may make a good showing. They don't expect to win as most of the teams they will play are more or less professionals and/or have played together for years.

The soccer playing is exciting even for this old gal who knows little about the game. The cinematography is very good and keeps the pace of the game and shots of the crowds and sports announcers ticking along and by the end when time runs out on the English players, and the Americans have won this great upset, I was ready to cheer too.

I disagree with most of the reviews I have read. This is a good sports movie and the performances and pacing are as good as "Rudy" or any other underdog film.

One thing I loved was the look of the people and homes and cars. It was the 1950's again and the music I danced to was just right. One for my movie collection. 4/5
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The Game of Their Lives is no huge flashy, special effects, blockbuster film, but neither were the men who were members of the 1950 US Soccer Team whose lives are portrayed here. They were simply family men - an undertaker, mailman, etc. who were unknowns, playing a sport in 1950 dominated by the English. Most of the members of the team were raised in St. Louis on "the Hill" and played soccer on weekends.

Gerard Butler stars as the goalie and leader of the group, Frank Borghi, and if you are a fan of Gerry's, you will love his try at an Italian-American-St. Louis accent (the man also looks great in a pair of shorts). Wes Bentley plays Walter Bahr a player from the east coast. Bahr and Borghi are the glue that keeps the team together, and with their leadership, beat England 1-0 in a first round 1950 World Cup game.

There are side stories as we get to know the other players - one who is afraid to fly, another who moves his wedding date to be able to go to Brazil to compete and yet another who is recruited late for the team, but is adaptable to the different styles of his teammates.

After seeing the movie, I bought the book by Geoffrey Douglas and read it with great interest. It provides more of an insight into what happened to all these players after their amazing win. Something the film lacks.

This is a nice family movie that I recommend to any sports fan and any Gerard Butler fan!
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My 26 year old daughter and I drove 120 miles to Denver on a snowy Sunday to watch 2 movies, "Dear Frankie" and "The Game of Their Lives". We got out of the Game of their Lives movie at 9:30pm and still had to drive 120 miles home. Was it worth it, would I do it again? I have to say, "Definitely YES, YES, YES!!

I loved the camaraderie between the guys from "The Hill" in St. Louis. You can tell they have known each other all their lives, and that was how growing up in the 1950's was. I know nothing about soccer and have never gone to a game...but the story was so good...because it wasn't really about, how to play the game, but how to work as a team. What worked, for them, was that they all learned each others strengths and learned to depend on each other...there was no STAR Player. Hard work and treating each other as equals was what made the story great and it also won the game. The United States and all countries should watch this and learn what it takes to be a team and WIN The Game of OUR Lives.
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