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The Game of Their Lives
Directed by David Anspaugh
Produced by Howard Baldwin
Karen Elise Baldwin
Greg Johnson
Peter Newman
Ginger T. Perkins
Written by Angelo Pizzo
Based on the book by Geoffrey Douglas
Starring Gerard Butler
Wes Bentley
Zachery Ty Bryan
Jimmy Jean-Louis
Music by William Ross
Cinematography Johnny E. Jensen
Editing by Ian Crafford
Lee Grubin
Bud S. Smith
M. Scott Smith
Jeff Williams
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date(s) April 22, 2005
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Gross revenue $388,998 (Worldwide) [1]

The Game of Their Lives (released on DVD as The Miracle Match) is a 2005 American drama film directed by David Anspaugh. The screenplay by Angelo Pizzo is based on the book of the same title by Geoffrey Douglas.



The film details the true story of the 1950 US soccer team which, against all odds, beat England 1-0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil during the World Cup. The story is about the family traditions and passions that shaped the players who made up this team of underdogs. One group of teammates were from The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.


Among other historical inaccuracies in the film, Scotsman Ed McIlvenny (played by U.S. soccer player John Harkes) was edited out of the captaincy he held in the match against England. McIlvenny moved to the United States in 1948, but returned to Britain in 1950 and played professional football for Manchester United. McIlvenny captained the U.S. side to their 1-0 victory, but the producers of the film decided to give the position of captain to American-born Walter Bahr.

Walter Bahr commented, "I was captain for about 10 years including the 1950 World Cup. But when we got to Brazil the first game was against Spain and since my teammate Harry Keough spoke Spanish, they made him captain. Against England, our coach Bill Jeffrey, who was also Scottish-born, thought it would be a big feather in Eddie's cap to be captain. It was an honor for him and I think that was the proper thing to do. I was then captain for the last game against Chile and for years to come. Yet in the film I'm captain, and that's wrong. I know Eddie's widow lives in East Sussex, and it is important she should know that an error has been made and Eddie really was the captain against England."

McIlvenny's widow, Sheila, was reported as saying: "It's disappointing, but what do you expect from Hollywood?...It is not the true story, not at all. I think he [McIlvenny] would have accepted it, but I don't think he would have been happy with it because it wasn't the truth".



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