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The Game of Their Lives (2005)



Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 26

An enthusiastic but ultimately uninspired soccer film.


Average Rating: 4.1/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 12

An enthusiastic but ultimately uninspired soccer film.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,998

My Rating

Movie Info

In 1950, most Americans had only a passing familiarity with the game of soccer, even though it was the world's most popular sport, and few athletes in the United States played the game with any particular degree of expertise. However, when an invitation was extended to the United States to participate in the World Cup tournament in Brazil -- the international soccer championship held every four years -- Bill Jeffrey was determined that America participate. In less than two weeks, Jeffrey


Documentary, Drama


Angelo Pizzo, Geoffrey Douglas

Sep 12, 2006


IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (26) | DVD (4)

Director David Anspaugh has a skilled touch, but there's just not that much drama to film. This is a very competent, very predictable sports film.

April 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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...disappointingly mediocre...

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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...lacks even a penalty kick's worth of tension and is paradoxically inert for a movie about guys running up and down the pitch for the glory of the U.S.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

These guys give a sport that is virtually nameless in the movies a good name in this one.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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It's difficult to muster dislike for The Game of Their Lives, which is reasonably interesting, but it needed more grit and inspiration than this straightforward account can provide.

April 22, 2005
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...this soccer tale is about as exciting to watch as a scoreless match between opponents so defense-minded the ball never gets beyond midfield.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Great game, bad storytelling. Soccer buffs only.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

the narrative and dialogue club us over the head in an effort to make 21st-century viewers understand why the victory of America's team over England was of such monumental importance.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A treat for soccer fans who have yet to see their favorite game given its due on the big screen. This won't be a classic soccer movie, but it's a start.

September 28, 2006
Christianity Today

A sentimental, creaky, underwritten, overloaded picture that fails as character study, period film, sports movie and heart-stirrer.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Enough enthusiasm, authenticity, and spirited soccer play to offset the missing ingredients.

May 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Oregon Herald

The Game of Their Lives takes a standard inspirational sports movie structure.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media


April 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Angelo Pizzo's screenplay is rife with the expected sports and gamesmanship cliches, and he and Anspaugh take forever just to get to the game action, which is the only really worthwhile material.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The Game of Their Lives has little to recommend unless you're jonesing for a generic period piece boasting lots of slow-motion sports montages set to swelling music.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Pure, unadulterated sentiment served up with a straight face, The Game of Their Lives is a middling depiction of one of the all-time great underdog stories in sports history.

April 22, 2005

Too many references to the inevitable popularity of soccer in America make [the film] less about the players' lives and more about selling soccer as a spectator sport.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Succeeds only occasionally in drumming up drama and inspiration.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

Audience Reviews for The Game of Their Lives

My problem with this movie is that the main actors are around 15 or 20 years older than the characters they are supposed to be playing. So they look like midlife people but they are dealing with issues as if they were fresh out of high school. I think they would have been better off casting it w/ college-aged soccer players. I am usually a big fan of movies like this one, but for some reason this movie didn't quite do it for me. It was ok. Extra 1/2 star for Gerard Butler and Gavin Rossdale...I do like them.
April 4, 2012

Super Reviewer

Nice flick, although I expected better soccer aptitudes from these 'athletic' actors.
Stewart's imitation of an American accent was flawed in some moments, but still I admire his acting experience overall.
Gavin Rossdale doesn't seem believable; perhaps he's better suited to writing simple grunge songs (a decade ago).
July 18, 2007

Super Reviewer

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