A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Being brave, working hard as a team. Overcoming your differences with others. Showing loyalty to those you care about.
Positive Role Models
Colby is courageous and pragmatic. He strives to make both his German opposition and British superiors treat everyone with fairness and respect. Hatch is brave but occasionally dishonest. However, when he lies it is to help the Allies' war effort. Many of the soccer players are highly skilled and work hard in training.
British, German, and American characters among the main cast. German, English, and French spoken. Class divides evident between the British soldiers and their ranks. Some ethnic diversity among the supporting cast. But the cast is predominantly male and White, as are the director and the writers. Discussion of Eastern European prisoners' status as stateless during WWII.
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Violence & Scariness
Character shot by machine-gun fire and killed. Bloody injury but no gore. Minor scuffles during games of soccer. Character has their arm broken. Another has their nose broken. Bloody injury shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shirtless character shown exercising in prison yards. Prisoners of war shower naked. No graphic nudity.
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Language used includes "bloody," "bulls--t," "up yours," "bastards," "bleeding," and "hell." "Christ" used as an exclamation. Germans referred to as "Gerry." The rude British "V" sign hand gesture is also used.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes. Others drink clear liquor and wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Victory -- also known as Escape to Victory -- is a sporting drama set during World War II with strong messaging around teamwork, perseverance, and courage. It's loosely based on real events, and tells the story of a group of Allied prisoners of war -- led by Michael Caine's Captain John Colby -- who use a soccer match against their German captors as an opportunity to escape. Released in 1981, the film also stars Sylvester Stallone and has cameo roles for real-life soccer stars Bobby Moore, Pele, and others, who get a chance to show off their skills. Violence is occasional and not graphic, but one failed prison attempt results in a soldier being shot to death. Other characters are hurt off-screen, with a bloody broken nose the most graphic of their injuries. Nudity is brief and non-sexual, when prisoners shower together in their camp or exercise shirtless in the yard. Language is more frequent, with "bulls--t," "bastards," and "bloody" the most often used curse words. Smoking and drinking are occasional, both in moderation, the latter with food in bars and restaurants. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unashamedly giving WWII the Hollywood treatment, this sports drama unites two on-screen legends in Caine and Sylvester Stallone. Released in 1981, Victory (also titled Escape to Victory) also finds room for world-famous soccer stars Pele, Bobby Moore, and a few other famous faces that dedicated sports fans will recognize. A very loose remake of a grittier Hungarian drama, Two Half Times in Hell, it is inspired by a real-life team of Ukrainian soccer players who were forced to compete against German teams during the war.
The plot is a mix of sporting drama and wartime prison break, which just about manages to stay in formation. Partly because director John Huston takes his assured delivery of drama and set pieces and transfers both to the field of play. The result is a feel-good yarn with no room even for historical accuracy or even the laws of the beautiful game, in some places. But in terms of pure nostalgia and its sense of fun, Victory has aged surprisingly well as a boys' own adventure played out by the alpha males of its day.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.