Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Movie of the Month - Victory

Every August we try and pick a film that depicts or has soccer involved in it, simply because at the end of this month, the world's greatest sport comes back in league form around the world. But this year was special, over most, after the Euro Cup in June and July and the Olympics in full effect, soccer or football has been on stage all year. While this years Euro was held in Poland and Ukraine and saw the final game between Italy and Spain played at the same stadium that Dynamo Kiev plays in, one of the great stories of triumph and power comes from Kiev thanks to a team called FC Start. The story of FC Start is one of triumph and tragedy, as a handful of players were picked to play in what was called a "Death Match," players from the Soviet Union held in concentration camps to play a game of soccer against the Nazi's in a game to show how the Germans were superior than the Soviets. The plan backfired and FC Start, the Soviets, won and many of the players were then sentenced to death, however, the win from FC Start over the Nazis sent shock waves through the world that these players persevered over evil.

Much of this story may sound familiar thanks to a 1981 film called Victory, staring Sylvester Stallone, Michael Kane, Max von Sydow, Pele, and Bobby Moore. Victory is about men locked away in a concentration camp and are chosen to play against the Nazis in exchange for liberties and freedom. Unlike the story of FC Start, Victory does have a Hollywood ending and a Hollywood script, but for the most part, the basis of the story is all there. How good conquered evil in the form of a soccer game. While Victory maybe as campy and cheesy now as it was back then, the story that is was based on is something to admire.