Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Marcel Iures, Stephen Dillane, Tony Plana, Anna Friel, Alan Shearer, David Beckham, Martin Tyler and Sean Pertwee

Danny Cannon

Running Time:
118 mins

Out to buy on DVD 06/03/06

"Welcome to the Toon"

Santiago Munez (Becker) was the best player in his team but Major League Soccer scouts never spotted Latino kids from the wrong side of Los Angeles. That all changed when ex-Newcastle United scout Glen Foy (Dillane) spotted him playing. Promising him a trail, all Santiago had to do was get enough money together to buy a ticket to England. Could this player who has never even played in the cold, muddy fields that great him in Newcastle make an impact in the Premier League.

When it comes to transferring the beautiful game to the silver screen, filmmakers have had as much difficulty as some people have understanding the offside rule but can 'Goal!' have what it takes to score at the box office?

With only 'Escape to Victory' ever capturing how the fans really feel about football, numerous films have tries to bring the most popular sport in the world to the big screen. 'Goal!' is different however. The first part of a projected trilogy, this charts the dream of almost every young boy in the world to become professional footballer. From his illegal crossing of border into the US from Mexico as a young boy to playing for his local team in Los Angeles, we see how Santiago is spotted and offered a trail at one of the biggest clubs in England.

With all the key story positions filled, the film is already moving up the football movie league but there are a few things that start pushing it down to mid-table mediocrity. The movie is filled with sentimental moments that seem to be included bring some depth to Santiago's character that should make his rise to the first team all that more appealing but most of it is not needed. This is a movie where the football should be the midfield general commanding the film and not the sweeper that holds everything together. There are too many clichés like a player drinking and partying his career away, an envious older player who picks on the new guy and a chance for the Santiago to make a dramatic first start. When you find out that the film has had input from 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet' writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, you can see where the comedy of the piece come from but this doesn't make up overly sentimental storylines.

The major plus point of the movie is the football itself. Many films have tried to recreate a professional game on the screen but most of them have ended up with the red card. 'Goal!' sets its stall out early with some impressively shot skills from the lead actor. As the film progresses the on screen the football comes into its own as Santiago makes it into the first team. Then the film blends Santiago and the other main footballer character Gavin Harris in actual Newcastle United games from the 2004/5 season. This makes the football scenes the best to ever grace the big screen and will have fans on the edge of their seats.

The performances from the cast are also good. Kuno Becker makes a believable footballer and a lead character that you can support. Alessandro Nivola plays playboy player Gavin Harris and even though he is an American, he does a good job. Add to this good performances from Stephen Dillane as the man who discovers Santiago Glen Foy, Marcel Iures as Newcastle manager Erik Dornhelm and the beautiful and talented Anna Friel as Santiago's love interest.

'Goal!' is the first film to really capture the beautiful game on the big screen. With cameo appearances from most of the Newcastle first team and some other major footballing names, this is a movie that fans can actually cheer about. It might quite be at the top of the table but it does enough to make it into the UEFA cup places.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well.


Audio Commentary Director Danny Cannon and screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais talk about bringing a proper football movie to the silver screen that encapsulates the passion of the game. They talk about the changes to the story, the Latino influence and bringing the story to Newcastle. They also reveal the speed of the production and how the film was financed as part of a trilogy. This is a chatty and fun commentary from three people who are passionate about the film and the game.

Behind the Pitch (10.58 mins)
Director Danny Cannon, writer/producer Mike Jefferies, co-producer Danny Stepper, producer Matt Barrelle, football choreographer Andy Ansah and stars Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel and Kieran O'Brien talk about the three-film structure of the story and bringing the biggest sport in the world to the silver screen. They reveal how they wanted a rags-to-riches that was authentic to the game and captured essence of the sport. The featurette shows how the film created the football action on and off the field and how they got the players on field during actual games.

The Beauty of the Game (6.49 mins)
Director Danny Cannon, writer/producer Mike Jefferies, co-producer Danny Stepper, producer Matt Barrelle, football choreographer Andy Ansah, associated producer Allen Hopkins, Newcastle United chairman Freddy Sheppard, former Newcastle United manager Graham Souness and stars Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel and Kieran O'Brien talk about the impact of the game around the world. The featurette features Newcastle United and Real Madrid and highlights how 2.5 billion people watch the game live every weekend.

Happy Monday's Music Video 'Playground Superstar' (4.01 mins)
Kuno Becker and Alessandro Nivola appear with Shaun Ryder the promotional video.

Munez +10 (2.58 mins)
Actor Kuno Becker picks ten players that he would love to play alone side as part of his dream team.

Golden Moments of the FIFA World Cup (3.27 mins)
Watch some amazing goals from Maradona, Pelé, Ronaldinho, Roger Miller, Michael Owen, Dennis Bergkamp and Geoff Hirst

Coming Soon… 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany (1.38 mins)
A short trailer that shows you the stadiums and the key players that will be talking part

Goal! II Trailer (1.38 mins)
Watch a preview of the sequel as the journey continues


The DVD package for goal is good, taking you behind the scenes of the film and offering a good commentary for fans of the film and the sport. There could have been more about the football aspects of the film but this is a decent package that supporters will enjoy.


Escape to Victory

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