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Sylvester Stallone, Pele have a soccer match with Nazis in this 80s movie

During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.

VICTORY (1981)

Rated PG

Streaming: Amazon Prime

In the midst of his eight-chapter string of Rocky films, Sylvester Stallone stepped out of the ring and into the soccer nets for this wartime clash with the Nazis.

Also known in some places as “Escape to Victory,” the film was directed by 15-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner John Huston (“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “The African Queen”) and is based on the 1962 Hungarian film translated as “Two Half Times in Hell.”

Stallone stars as an American soldier, Robert Hatch, in a German prisoner of war camp who teams with other POWs to face Hitler’s national team in a purported exhibition match set up essentially as a propaganda stunt.

Essentially, a French resistance group plots to aid the Allied squad’s escape from the heavily guarded stadium at halftime. But Stallone and his teammates remain after intermission to play on — with Sly even denying a penalty kick to preserve a draw — before escaping in the confusion while spectators storm the field at the conclusion of the match.

Michael Caine also is on hand in the prison camp as a British military captain who formerly played for West Ham United, while Brazil and New York Cosmos legend Pele (find that bicycle kick on YouTube!) and a handful of fellow professional futbol stars provide plenty of soccer legitimacy to the cinematic pitch.

Quote of Note: “Coach, after you give me [the] ball, I do this, this, this, this, this, this, this, goal. Easy.” — Pele as Luis Fernandez, designing a play on the locker-room chalkboard.

Botte Blows: 4.2 of 5

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