10 Jun 2018

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Escape To Victory

With our special screening of Escape To Victory taking place next week, now seems like the best time to remember some of the trivia about this cult classic.
  1. The film famously featured a number of celebrated footballers – eighteen featured in total, including Russell, of course! Other notable faces include Pelé, Bobby Moore, Mike Summerbee, and Laurie Sivell.
  1. In contrast, several of the actors had to learn how to play football for their roles – Sylvester Stallone actually broke his finger during filming in an attempt to stop a goal from Pelé!
  2. The film was originally meant to be a serious drama based on a Hungarian film, Két félidő a pokolban. This was inspired by a true story about a series of football matches between a Ukrainian football team and German sides during the Ukraine’s occupation.
  3. The film’s director, John Huston, may be better known for his direction of films including The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen. Whilst nobody can say for sure what drew him towards the project – given that he didn’t have a great interest in the game – was the opportunity to work with Michael Caine.
  4. Like Stallone, Michael Caine did not prove to be a natural footballer, with Osvaldo Ardiles admitting the actor was “awful, and he couldn’t even run twenty yards.”
  5. Escape To Victory continues to pack a cultural punch – supposedly, the Icelandic football team based their kit design around that of the Allied team for the Euro 2016 tournament. Considering their impressive run despite their underdog status – and easy dismissal of England – it certainly has a nice synergy to it!
  6. The boots Pelé wore during filming – and in which he performed his famous overhead bicycle kick – sold at auction for eight thousand pounds. This was actually more than a lot of the memorabilia from his actual sporting matches!
  7. The last few years have seen talks about remaking Escape To Victory to capitalise on an increasing worldwide interest in ‘the beautiful game’.
  8. The MTK stadium in Budapest doubled for the Stade Colombes during filming. One of the key reasons for it being chosen – aside from the lower cost of working in Hungary – was the fact it didn’t have floodlights, and was one of the closest contemporary stadiums to one from World War Two.
  9. Sylvester Stallone reportedly felt he should score the winning goal, as he felt he was the biggest star of the film. As he was playing a goalkeeper, it took quite a lot of persuasion to convince him this may not be the most realistic turn of events!

Find out more about our Escape to Victory screening.