Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Escape to Victory (1981)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Escape to Victory (1981, UK/US/It.) (aka Victory)

In director John Huston's jingoistic WWII soccer film about a POW escape planned during a propagandistic Third Reich game between underdog Allied captives and Nazis, played in a stadium near Paris, France:

  • the sequence of the French Resistance breaking into the locker room through a tiled bath floor during half-time (first signaled by a thumping noise coming from under the floor); Allied goalie Captain Robert Hatch (Sylvester Stallone), who had planned an escape for over a year, excitedly told everyone: "All right, we're getting out of here. Our escape has been arranged all the way to the Seine River. Once we get on the other side, we're gonna blow the tunnel. Now there's a boat waiting for us, and in one hour, we'll be in the country, all right?" - but as the players were ushered down into the sewer line, some complained that they wanted to continue playing in the competition: "I don't wanna go...we've still got a chance" - and one of the major players argued: "I don't wanna go. Let's go back. We can win this!" - team leader Captain Colby (Michael Caine) asked: "What do you mean, we can win?...You mean you go back and play the second half?" - but then was easily convinced: "We can win this!"; Hatch was incredulous: "What the hell's the matter with you guys? You wanna go back to prison?"; although Hatch was adamant about escaping, he was ultimately persuaded to remain as their team's goalie after Corp. Luis Fernandez (real-life Brazilian soccer star Pelé) begged: "Please Hatch, that game means a lot to us. You know that. We must go back. Please"
Hatch: "Our escape has been arranged..."
French Resistance Escape Route
Colby: "What do you mean, we can win?"
  • the scene of the overhead bicycle kick and goal by Corporal Fernandez for the wearied and bruised Allied POW soccer team battling against the favored and biased Nazi Germany team; the kick was replayed three times in slow-motion
  • the game-ending penalty kick, when the French spectators rose to their feet to sing their anthem The Marseillaise; goalie Hatch lept up for the kick, caught the ball, and saved the game, that ended in a 4-4 tie
  • the tremendous reaction of the French spectators to the game, as the stampeding mob swept onto the field, placed coats and berets on the players to disguise them, overpowered German security guards and officers, and helped the players race from the stadium to freedom

The Set-Up For Fernandez's Miraculous Kick

Overhead Bicycle Kick

Hatch's Game-Saving Penalty-Kick Grab

Hatch (and Others) Racing Out of the Stadium to Freedom


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