The Match (2021) Movie Script

Watch out, Nagy!
Get back on defence, David!
What's the matter?
I'm terrible, Grandpa.
Yes, you are.
Thanks for the encouragement.
If playing football
meant doing everything
by yourself
you would be the best.
Sure, you want to score
the winning goal
and be the big hero.
Everybody wants
to do that for himself.
But you cannot be the hero
every time
you're playing football.
Maybe you should play tennis.
No! I love football.
Of course you do.
It's a love that never ends.
A love you cannot betray.
When did you know?
How much I loved football?
Well, I must have been
a few years younger than you.
My father took me
to see a match.
He didn't tell me
where we were going.
It was supposed to be
a surprise.
And what a surprise.
I'll never forget
going up the steep stairs
and all of a sudden,
I see in front of me
this endless,
bright green field.
I swear, I've never seen
such a bright green in my life.
At my age,
I forget too many things.
Too many to remember.
But I'll never forget
that day...
and the way the field looked...
the way the field smelled.
Some memories stay with you.
They never fade.
They are too important.
Was it different?
Everything was different.
How many footballs
do you have at home now?
Ten, I think.
I had only two.
And they were two more
than all my other friends.
Your great grandfather
owned a nice restaurant
where all the local players
came and celebrated.
So, as gifts, sometimes
they give him footballs.
I begged my father day and night
to let me go outside
and play with the ball.
No way.
Not a chance.
They were too rare
and precious.
Owning a ball meant
to be privileged
and my father didn't want
the other boys
getting jealous of me.
I know I wanted to do
everything by myself
but that's
because I thought I could.
Sacrifice, David.
A team can only win
when you set aside your ego
and work for everybody.
Football is the only sport
where a team
that has no chance of winning
can surprise the world.
If only they do what?
Play as a team.
Exactly right.
We were better today.
Yes, you were, but you lost.
The best team doesn't
always win.
And I should know.
Know what, Grandpa?
There's a story
I never told anybody.
Not even your father knows.
Does it have to do
with football?
Yes, it does.
That's why
I want you to hear it.
It's time.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six
five, four, three, two, one!
Happy New Year!
Yes, sir.
Do you know who this is?
Yes, sir. That's Laszlo Horvath
and the team
that beat the Nazis...
Shh! Yes, yes. That's right.
Now, your only duty today
is to make sure
that their glasses
are never empty.
Yes, sir.
Here. Just go.
of the matre d', Mr Horvath.
Aren't you too young
to be serving alcohol?
Yes, sir. But I'm only
serving it, not drinking it.
Soon enough, you will know
why it makes everything
and everyone much more fun.
Don't believe anything
he's trying to tell you.
Either he is lying
or trying to corrupt you.
I just told the kid he's too
young to be serving alcohol.
Well, in a minute,
he'll be offering you a drink.
So scram, kid,
if you wanna save yourself.
- I will, sir.
- No, no, no.
Wait a second.
Come, come closer.
Um... I'm s...
Come, come. For you.
- I'm sorry, Mr Horvath.
- Laszlo.
Mr Laszlo, I don't think
my father will approve.
You know...
You deserve it...
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
Cheers! Happy New Year!
I see what I like.
Wish me luck.
I will, as always.
I'm Laszlo Horvath.
Nice to meet you.
You never were the shy one.
A man can never have enough
of two things in life.
With you, of all people
I always thought
limiting yourself
to just two things is a sin.
the beautiful sight
in this place
has clearly taken
a fancy to you.
On the contrary,
the opposite side seems to be
paying an even closer attention
to your every move.
I thought I told my mother
not to come here.
The Nazis...
You have
their undivided attention.
Well done.
So what? I care enough
to stare right back.
Are you deliberately trying
to provoke them?
You know what happens to them
who stare at the devil?
Even this devil is nothing
but flesh and bone.
They don't think they are.
Well, that's
their Achilles heel, not mine.
Yours is vanity.
Just be careful.
There's a lot of them
in here and out there.
Please. I'm begging you.
Do me a favour.
Stop it.
You're a famous man, Mr...
That's the name.
Laszlo Horvath.
We all had a bet
if you were indeed
the famous player
everyone remembers.
Did you win the bet?
- Yes, indeed.
- Good.
Because just a few years ago
you guys didn't fare so well.
do not remind me.
You and your men
were fortunate enough
to beat the Nazi team
three to two.
But this was
seven long years ago.
We are much better now.
I can see.
Soon enough,
all of Europe will be Nazis
so you can play against
yourself, which is great.
That way you can prevent
yourself from ever losing again.
May I suggest a small wager?
My fellow men and I have
a proposition for you.
Considering you were a part
of a team that beat the Nazis...
we would like an opportunity
to get back a little bit of...
how would you say...
Whoever manages
to bounce the ball in the air
between two people the longest
without it falling
to the ground, wins.
Loser pays the winner food,
drinks, anything
for the entire evening.
I insist, Mr Laszlo.
You know what?
I'm a little bit confused.
I thought pride is
what you were waging?
Very well.
You win, and we will pay
whatever you
and your men wish to consume
and if we win,
pride is what we will take.
Pride is not won.
It is earned.
And besides,
that's not too much of a wager
since everything at our table,
as you can see
is already on the house.
Maybe you have
another suggestion, then?
As a matter of fact, I do.
your fellow men, your army...
all of you...
leave Budapest tonight.
And never come back, ever again.
Mr Laszlo
even if you were to win
I am not sure
you would want this to happen.
It was worth a shot.
I insist.
If I could have your attention,
ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you.
The famous Laszlo Horvath and I
have come to terms
on a bit of a fun wager.
The only thing we need
to complete this wager...
is a ball.
Does anyone here know
where to find one?
I can't even remember
what made me raise my hand.
I was so scared.
If I hadn't raised my hand
and gone down to the basement
that New Year's Eve
things would have been
Much different.
But my God...
they must have bounced
that ball between them
a good five minutes.
I was amazed.
Everybody was amazed.
Congratulations, Mr Laszlo.
Fortunate, as you were in '36.
Fortune takes a back seat
when you have those two men.
Gentlemen, please.
After me,
probably the best two players
your eyes will ever see.
And let me tell you
a little secret.
Even when drunk
they're still better
than any men
you put against them.
Another toast.
- Already?
- One more drink.
I insist, Mr Laszlo.
To the Third Reich.
To empires.
From Romans in 476
right down to the Ottomans
in 1924.
You do know your history,
Mr Laszlo.
You know what all those empires
have in common?
Please tell me.
Our history.
The history we are about to make
will be written by the winners
living in our times.
- Come on, let's go.
- I hear it's pretty cold
up there in Russia.
I suggest you pack warmly.
Gentlemen, I think we should
better call it a night.
You were
a great football player.
Nobody knows that
better than me.
Things have changed. Accept it.
Branko! Branko!
But, sir! That man! He is hurt!
Did you ever see him again?
Mr Laszlo?
Not a day that goes by
that I don't think of him.
He was and still is
the reason why I'm here,
telling you this story.
Mr Laszlo.
I haven't said his name
like that since then.
Horvath! If you're not outside
in less than ten seconds
they will drag you out by force.
This is not the time
or place to be defiant.
Come outside.
That would not be a wise move.
You have five seconds to line up
with the rest
of your friends here.
and... one.
You here are the privileged ones
but never forget
that you are all expendable.
It's up to each and every one
of you to decide your fate.
Now, get to work.
Give me a hand.
I recognise you now.
You won't remember me,
but I remember you.
Played against you in '42
when I was a member
of the regional team.
Name's Karolyi. Karolyi Faraco.
I was a defensive midfielder.
You scored four goals
in that game.
The scoring drive
you made in the second half
I can't remember
seeing anyone do that since.
You were an artist out there.
Combination of artist
and a magician.
The flair of Michelangelo
and the nerves of steel
of Houdini.
Our Hungary, it stopped being
a country a while ago.
Even the government
is just a puppet of the Nazis.
So now they're arresting anyone
they consider a threat.
Supposed "dissidents" like me.
For whatever reason, now you.
Work us hard every day
till even our souls begin
to feel tired.
Why are you complaining?
Aren't we the "privileged ones"?
At least we're still alive.
Alive enough
to be worked to death.
Speak for yourself.
But don't drag others
into that abyss with you.
We've heard stories,
what happens to other camps.
So even if we are
being worked to death
I'd take it any day
over dying in a gas chamber.
Who knows
what makes a man like that tick?
You ever see him play, Jakob?
See? I was in the stands
when he scored the goal
that beat the Nazis.
Such a great player
on the field.
Good at sports, bad at life.
I'd rather be good at life
than a world champion
in any sport.
Any news?
I heard a rumour
that the Nazis are losing ground
in the East.
The whispers might be true.
My father always taught me
that a beast is most dangerous
when it is hurt.
And your father, is he safe?
They separated us.
My wife, son,
mother, father, sister.
We had a nice bakery, you know.
Best one in town.
When it all began,
it came so quickly.
All the people
that used to come to our shop
they no longer wanted
to help us.
When you need help
the most, they disappoint.
It's the law of survival.
It's the law
of selfishness, of not caring.
Do you think that he cares?
From the looks of it,
I think he stopped caring
a long time ago.
My first days here
were unbearable.
Time stretched on
where I didn't know
what day or month it was.
You know, you think
you'll spend this life learning
reading, loving.
And now, every moment here
is spent just surviving
for the sake of survival.
And you ask yourself,
"What am I surviving for?"
What will be left
out there of the world
if this madness ever ends?
Even when I was overseeing
construction in Gyor
I never worked crews this hard.
They want us to die.
Hands of a baker.
Should be covered
in sugar and flour
not hard, ugly blisters.
Good baker must be able to sense
the dough with his fingers.
His name is Tomasz.
That's about all we know.
Not even the other gypsies
know anything about him.
He doesn't speak.
The Nazis, just for spite
give him more food
than to the rest of us.
I think it's because they want
to keep us on edge.
I am Yanko.
You really think
they will have any use
for the things
we're building for them?
Of course.
One thing they're not is stupid.
All things being considered,
we here, we are the lucky ones.
Some are being sent to
the battlefield near the front.
We heard stories
that they use them
to clear the minefields
by making them march across.
I know why we are here.
Why would a famous Hungarian
like you
be sent to this miserable place?
...and Colonel Franz Woerns,
the Nazi Regional Commander
of all of the camps,
has honoured us by making
our camp his headquarters.
For your information,
Colonel Woerns reports directly
to General Ziege
the Nazi commandant
of the entire region.
Carry on.
- What is the count?
- Twenty nine, sir.
- How many?
- Twenty nine, sir.
Bring that fool outside. Now.
May God help him.
Everyone manages
to follow the rules.
Yet you choose
to be the only one
to put
all the other men here at risk
by being disobedient.
Isn't it bad enough
your behaviour
is the reason Andreas
is in the hospital? Huh?
Stand up! This instant!
Henkel. Enough, already.
Are you not aware
who this man is you are beating?
This is Horvath the Great.
Greatest Hungarian to ever play
the game of football.
It's good
to see you again, Laszlo.
I still remember that free kick.
The one that won
the gold medal game against us.
That was right after I fouled
you at midfield, remember?
I only remember that Nazis lost.
You and I must talk.
Bring him to my office.
But Colonel, I do not think
this is a very good idea.
Even if he is
a famous football player.
It doesn't mean
that he has the right
to defy our authority
time and time again.
I will see this man
in my office.
Laszlo was too crazy
to live an ordinary life.
He would play life
the way he would play football.
Fast, relentless, unafraid.
He would fight anybody
at any time
without thinking twice.
If he saw a tornado coming
he would go straight for it
and shout
"Give me your best shot".
Some people live just to get by
but not Laszlo.
He lived his way for as long
as life would let him.
If life was a game of football
Laszlo would play each
of the ninety minutes
as if they were
his first and last.
You always were different,
Everyone stared at you
when you played
afraid to miss
the next great move
you were about to make.
I have to admit to you
that we, as the Nazis
were always quite jealous.
But let's not share
that with anyone.
Lt Henkel would have surely
killed you out there today
if I did not intervene.
You can pound your chest
like a gorilla in a jungle
but even you might tremble
if suddenly the barrel of a gun
was pointed to your face.
You guys wouldn't do that.
You are certain?
Yes, you would shoot me
in the temple.
So that I couldn't see
what was coming.
The element of surprise,
of course.
To you, maybe it is surprise.
To me, it's a...
desperate move of a coward.
Always you were such
a funny one.
seeing you today
has given me
an extraordinary idea.
So, in less than two months,
it is the Fhrer's birthday.
April 20th, to be exact.
I would like to arrange a game.
A football match between you
and the men at the camp
against the Nazi team.
To commemorate
such a momentous occasion.
You can't be serious.
I am not like you Laszlo,
I don't make jokes.
This is an opportunity
for all of us.
- Who are "we"?
- You, me, the men at the camp.
The men in this camp are
barely given anything to eat.
They're in no condition to play.
This is a chance.
A real chance to play
a game that you love
and at which you are truly
one of the best.
You will be a winner
just by playing, Laszlo.
You could think of it
as a friendly exhibition match.
You would display your skills.
A tribute
to the beautiful game...
and something special
for the men at the camp.
In a way,
something special for me too.
It does remind me
of an old saying...
"Beware of the wolf
in sheep's clothing."
I am speaking as someone
who wants to help you.
A wolf can spare a sheep
if his appetite has
been satisfied.
I've been under the assumption
that an endless appetite
for everything
anything, anyone...
was the trademark
of the Third Reich.
I'm serious about this.
It's not just up to me.
You're asking for a lot.
Of course, I am.
But I am also offering you
something few are given.
I would have to inform
General Ziege, of course.
He loves football.
I am sure with my blessing,
he would approve.
Oh, there's one, uh...
last tiny detail.
Your feet may have
made you a hero
to your fellow countrymen
but your mouth
will get you killed.
Next time, fortune might not be
on your side
as me saving you
from yourself this morning.
I would not count on
that good fortune
if you were to say "no" to me.
And my suggestion is...
to take my offer as a gift.
That will be all.
We had an interesting talk.
Nazis don't talk. They take.
They order. They kill.
The one thing about the Nazis
is that their memory
of a loss never fades.
So that's all you talked about?
How you beat them once?
No, not entirely.
He wants us to play.
A game.
A game? What kind of game?
A match. Football match.
Against whom?
Against Nazi team.
On Hitler's birthday.
Is this some kind
of cruel joke?
Franz was serious.
So am I.
But how could we play
a football match?
If we all tried running
for five minutes
we'd faint, and this isn't five.
He's right. We don't
have the strength or stamina.
Maybe this is our one chance.
Don't forget,
every chance of failure
also presents a chance
to succeed.
However, any inaction
resulting from fear
guarantees failure.
If all of you think
we should play
then that is what we'll do.
No team can win
unless there's team unity.
Now, who wants to play?
Conditions must be met.
We'd need better food.
Time to train,
build a real team.
Very good.
Then you and I
will ask for these conditions.
"You and I",
what do you mean "You and I"?
Since you and Andreas were
former members
of the regional team
and Andreas is unavailable
that makes you the co-captain.
Welcome aboard.
...twenty six...
twenty seven...
twenty eight...
twenty nine...
So good to see you, Mr Horvath.
Very punctual.
As I understand
Colonel Franz is expecting you
this morning.
Please understand
that I don't give a damn
about who you are
or what you used to be.
Karolyi, let's go.
"Cello Suite No. 1 in
G Major, Prelude" by J. S. Bach
Come in.
Ah, Laszlo.
So good to see you again.
So, who is this?
This is Karolyi Faraco.
He represents men in this camp.
Please, sit.
So gentlemen,
I have excellent news.
General Ziege is very excited
about the idea of a match.
And in fact,
he has asked to personally
be given progress reports.
We are also very excited, but...
this does depend on
certain things we would require.
Such as?
Food. Real food.
Larger portions
for every man in this camp.
Go on.
The team itself.
I need to search
other nearby camps.
I doubt you'll find anyone.
If you're allowed to pick
whoever you want
in all of the Third Reich
then I should be allowed to pick
the best available players
from nearby camps.
What else?
We cannot train and work
at the same time.
I hope you understand that.
In order for us
to look like a team
we have to train like one
so until the match is played
we don't work.
We train.
Is that all?
One hour every three weeks
to write letters
to our loved ones.
And mail delivery
to us twice a week.
I must regrettably inform you
that all your requests
cannot be granted.
The food situation can be
improved, perhaps.
I'll consider the mail issue.
But you still are prisoners
inside this labour camp
and by definition, you will work
and come up with a team
from the men you have here.
- Is that definite?
- Absolutely.
Then please inform General Ziege
we cannot play this match.
Karolyi, let's go.
You just walked out
on a Nazi colonel.
- Halt!
- Trust me. I know the Nazis.
He wants to play a game
before the real game? So be it.
Is that game called
who gets shot first?
If it is,
please don't put me in.
Halt! The colonel
ordered both of you to halt!
He's playing a game.
He's playing a game.
our talk wasn't quite over.
Please see to it
that you follow me inside.
Please tell me that you knew
he was going to miss.
Let us have
a mutually-satisfying conclusion
to our meeting. Yes?
I have reconsidered
your requests
and I am willing to increase
the quality
and double the food portions.
When it comes to work
the men will work
in the mornings
and train in the afternoons.
The letters. We insist.
The prisoners will have enough
time to write and receive mail.
- You may visit three camps...
- Five.
I will pick the very
best fifteen players.
A match is played
with 11 men on the field
the last time I counted.
I'm being generous
when I request 15
as these men can barely walk,
let alone run.
I must have reserves.
What if someone gets injured,
like Andreas?
This is quite enough.
Thirteen players,
not counting Andreas.
I will see to it that
what we agreed today
is put in writing.
But remember...
you, and you alone,
are responsible
if anything goes wrong with
any man on the team you choose.
The match is exactly
36 days away.
This will give you plenty
of time to prepare.
Oh, Laszlo. One last thing.
Good luck.
How did you know?
The moment he said
General Ziege was excited
I knew he could not back down.
It's Hitler's birthday
and if everything goes nice
and easy for him
then he gets promoted.
Let's go find our team.
I can only pick an additional
11 men for the team.
Whoever plays will get
shorter workdays
but training will be intense.
I need you
to be completely honest.
Who here can play football?
Be honest.
Alright. Jakob.
Good. I'm impressed.
Tibor, you're next.
There's hopelessness
all around us
but here, tonight,
there is hope for Hungary.
Tomorrow, we will find
the rest of our team.
And we'll start
to work right away.
They didn't look
like a team just yet.
Who could?
Conditions were terrible.
Nobody was thinking
about football.
Football was a means
of survival.
Word spread to other camps
that whoever was lucky enough
to be chosen
they would be sent to a camp
with better conditions.
Who here can play football?
everybody became
a football player.
Some of them were quite good.
Some others...
well, they did their best.
Come on, Laszlo, let's go.
You know what happens
to them who stare at the devil?
Even this devil is nothing
but flesh and bone.
They don't think they are.
Who's that man over there?
The prisoner's teaching
the violin
to the camp commander.
Can you invite that prisoner
to come over?
I do not think
this will be possible.
One does not interrupt
the commander's lesson.
Then please inform the commander
that interruption of his lesson
comes at the request
of General Ziege.
Laszlo, this is it.
It's the last camp.
We only have one slot left
to fill. What are you doing?
We need players! Good ones.
Why are you wasting our final
choice on a man who's...
playing the violin?
Go, get a ball.
Did you request
to see this prisoner?
That would be correct,
- May I ask why?
- We need him.
For what? To play the violin?
No, to play football.
Violin players don't play
football, do they?
Put down the case.
Yes. We have a goalkeeper.
Great reflexes.
Give it back.
Do you... Do you play football?
That's what I thought.
Then again, if you don't play
that would enable
our beloved Third Reich to win.
Yes, take him, by all means.
But go.
Can someone tell me
what this is all about?
I'm Laszlo. This is Karolyi.
Welcome to our team.
A man entering a camp
holding a football
meant there was hope.
And Laszlo became this hope
for everyone who saw him.
Including me.
And I was the last one
who expected it.
What did I tell you, Branko?
I said "Never let them leave".
What do I do now?
I'm so sorry, sir.
It will never happen again.
But who will get them back?
- I will.
- How?
Come on.
I don't know what it was.
Call it destiny, chance, fate,
a roll of dice.
I've thought about it
countless times.
Why was he there,
in that exact moment?
Go into the truck, wait for me.
A few seconds later
and he wouldn't have seen me.
You always defy me.
It's unacceptable.
Where have they gone?
What? Don't look
at me like I'm stupid.
Like I'm some kind of scum.
You're the scum!
Let's go.
We have what you wanted.
Piece of shit!
You stupid little...
Get up! Get up!
That's not our fight.
You can't save everyone.
Let's go, Laszlo.
Excuse me, Commander.
You were told to leave.
- You have your men. Now, go.
- Yes, but this boy.
What about the boy? He's state
property. What's that to you?
General Ziege and Colonel Woerns
do outrank you.
Am I right? So in a way,
if I'm here with their authority
I outrank you.
You think that's gonna keep
me from shooting you?
Of course not. No, no.
But your logic does.
If you were to shoot me you
would have to explain it
to the general
and to the commander
why their
personal birthday present
to Fhrer is no longer possible.
Think about it,
it's no good for anybody.
Get out.
Get out.
Wow, Grandpa
you must have been very good
if he picked you.
I wasn't.
And anyway, I was too young
for him to pick me
even if I was as good
as you are now.
So why did he pick you?
I was a boy who never saw
himself becoming a man.
So we have
a violin-playing goalie
and a kid as our substitute.
Good work, coach.
There is more
to this game than pure skill.
Kid is number fourteen.
The colonel will never
let you keep him.
We'll see.
Tell them to come down.
Prisoners, come here. Now!
You seem to have assembled
a formidable team.
But correct me if I'm wrong,
I count 13 men and one child.
Are you trying to
adjust the rules
by sneaking an extra person
onto the field
due to his small stature?
- No, I... Yes...
- Thirteen.
You will keep
to what was agreed upon.
Henkel, take the child.
No, no. Wait. Wait.
Wait! Who do you think
will clean up after us?
Get the ball when it
goes out of bounds?
Supply us with water?
One thing about kids is that
they have lots of energy.
You think of me as a fool?
It is always something
with you Laszlo.
But fine.
You will have an extra pair
of feet to run for you.
You want this?
- Yes.
- That means you'll have
more energy to spare.
So... for the next two days
You and your team will get
a vacation...
from all food.
You can, of course, change your
mind right now if you want.
He never
should have picked me.
It didn't make any sense.
I was just some boy
he once saw and remembered.
A little boy had
no place among men
whose children were lost,
or in other camps.
he stood by my side.
Can't sleep?
Everyone is angry at me.
Not having food for few days
will do that to people.
But don't worry,
they'll get over it.
You know, I...
I did many mistakes in my life
but this time,
I did the right thing.
Go to sleep now.
You'll need it for tomorrow.
I will, Mr Laszlo. Thank you.
In the days leading up
to our glorious match
you may think you are special...
but you are nothing of the sort.
Any and all
preferential treatment
you might get accustomed to...
You are all still prisoners
and will be treated as such.
Anyone not fulfilling
his work assignment
will be punished
with swift action.
Anyone attempting
to escape will be shot.
And this includes also...
the youngest team member.
I hope
not one of you gets injured.
I'd hate to see Laszlo
play a game
with ten men
and this little boy.
When the final whistle blows
everyone will go back
to what he was doing before.
Including watching over geese.
Would I be correct?
The Commandant is
anxiously awaiting your return
and so are all the geese
you let loose.
One little boy
will have to catch
every single one of them.
Don't let him get to you, kid.
I won't.
But it's OK to feel scared.
But you have 13 backs
to watch over you.
Am I right, Karolyi?
Aye, captain, my captain.
Are we angry about the food?
Are we angry about Andreas?
You should be angry.
I'm furious.
So we have to use it.
Every time you see Nazi come
charging down the field
remember how hungry
remember how angry you were
in this moment.
Anger wasted
on the wrong address
is anger that lingers on.
So send it the way of the Nazis
and you won't waste
a single breath.
Are we angry?
Are we angry?
Good morning, gentlemen.
General Ziege. Welcome.
How is team Laszlo
looking today?
I don't see them posing
a threat to our team.
I predict a comfortable victory.
- The Fhrer deserves it.
- Who is the man with the ball?
That is Sandor Stekely
a regional player from Bakhza.
I would say
behind Laszlo Horvath
and Karolyi Faraco
he is likely
their third best player.
Laszlo discovered him at
another camp. He's a real find.
Sandor Stekely of Bakhza?
Any relation to Magda Stekely,
the famous opera singer?
Yes, I believe that is his wife.
How interesting.
How's your family?
Do you know where they are?
No, sir. I don't.
My father helped a Jewish lady.
Our families were friends.
She helped in the kitchen
and one of the waiters told
the Nazis to save himself...
and that's it.
They separated us immediately...
burned down the restaurant...
and there was nothing left.
I was angry and furious
because I didn't think
I deserved to be saved.
There's a guilt
you carry inside...
because you're
the only one who survives.
Why me?
Why not them?
Why not all of us?
So what about you, Laszlo?
I took my time
to pick the right girl.
And... there were too
many to pick from
so I couldn't make up my mind.
I don't know, I just...
I kept waiting
and waiting, and...
then the war begins...
and suddenly no one cares
that much about falling in love.
I think you love football
so much that no one else
not even a woman,
stood a chance.
That could be true.
Football always was
my first love.
and whenever
I did love someone else
football became kind of my...
They would all wonder
where I was
what was I doing,
thinking I was unfaithful.
But no, every chance
I had, I was...
I was on that field.
I was there.
The scent of freshly
cut grass...
the moment when you slide
on your cleats...
and the moment
when that football
gently touches your foot...
it's a love affair
of epic proportions.
You play...
for, and out of, love...
and on a very good day
when game loves you back
and you taste the victory,
despite the odds...
that's the day to live for.
Two more weeks.
Then we find out
if David can topple Goliath.
We're not David.
We're an ant under David's foot.
If they think of us as an ant
...we can win.
Sandor Stekely, correct?
Correct, sir.
The colonel would like
to see you in his office.
What a voice your wife has.
It seems my superior,
General Ziege
is a great admirer of her.
He is not a man
who is easily impressed.
What does my wife have...
At his invitation
your wife will tonight be
giving a performance
at the concert house
in Karlovac.
And your wife has
asked the general
if he could see to it
that this letter
be personally delivered
to you.
I have, of course
your release authorisation.
Thank you.
Alright? Come on!
Go, go. OK? Let's go!
I think you should talk to him.
Join us.
You alright?
My wife...
I think she wants to help me.
Help you? How?
I received a letter today.
There is a way for us
to be together again.
No, no,
don't fall for their trick.
They're trying to sell
you a story.
What if it's true?
I know her handwriting.
It was her.
Karolyi, give me your letter.
Give me your letter.
It's been glued back.
Never underestimate the Nazis.
Yes, but this is different.
We were offered a deal.
Don't you see
what they are doing?
Sandor, it's your wife.
Do you think it's true?
- About their offer?
- Doesn't matter what I think.
The game hasn't even started
and they're already ahead.
I changed my mind.
I can't go through
with the offer.
Please, I must speak
with the colonel.
I do not know what you
are talking about.
Please, I'm begging you.
I can't have
my wife go through that.
Back to work, prisoner Stekely.
Please, Henkel.
Sandor, stop!
Hey! Sandor!
I must see my wife tonight.
Please, I know what I'm doing.
I will be back in the morning.
Was I not clear
that if someone tried to escape
they'd be met with
severe penalty?
You and Ziege did this.
No! You did this to yourself!
You picked these men!
You wanted to see other camps!
Sandor was your choice!
He was a weak man
who made a stupid
and fatal error!
- I have to find somebody else...
- No!
- He was one of our best players!
- You have 11 men
and, of course, your violin
player and the little boy.
And If someone gets injured,
you play with ten men!
I do not care!
You will inform your team
that all of your privileges
have been taken back.
You'll receive limited food
and there will be no
more mail delivered
until the match is played.
This is not what we agreed to.
Your teammate broke
the promise you made to me.
We are done here. Good day.
You can't be serious
about me playing?
I wasn't before.
But now I have no choice,
you gotta be ready.
But can't you kick
a ball at all?
Well, yes.
If you have to play,
you'll play defence.
This is insane.
We are days away
and you have to teach him
how to kick a ball?
We wouldn't be in this situation
if you didn't pick
a violin player
with two left feet
and a little boy.
How could I deny this boy
his chance of growing up
and getting old?
So, um...
what's the plan?
We all bunker down in our goal
and we wait, for our chance.
Sounds about right.
Anytime you have an opponent
who is clearly better than you
you can't go at them,
guns blazing.
So we let them shoot
their way out of ammo
and then we wait
for a crack in their armour.
The moment that whistle blows,
they're coming at us.
Patience is not something
they're known for
and they won't be practising
it against us
because they expect us
to lose, and lose badly.
The longer we manage
to hold them back
the more nervous they will get.
And when certainty is replaced
by panic...
...we strike.
If all we do is defend
how do we score?
What have we been training for?
To defend, apparently.
Our chance will come
from a counterattack.
When they lose a possession,
which they will
I'll make sure
I get the ball to one of you.
So that's the plan?
We wait
for them to lose the possession?
If they ever lose one.
You alright?
Aron, when in doubt,
what do you do?
I kick the ball
as hard as I can.
Good man.
There is so much
you are capable of doing.
We have a baker
we have a florist,
we have a bookstore owner
we have a man
who still hasn't spoken a word.
We have fathers and sons
and we have pride and dignity
and we have so much more.
If we are going to rain on
their Fhrer's birthday parade
it's not going to be
with what I can do.
It's going to be
with what each of you can do.
Somehow, we were
coming together as a team.
They tried to break us,
but it didn't work.
Whatever they did,
we ended up feeling close.
And as for Laszlo,
as things got worse
the more it fired up his anger.
And he pushed and pushed
everyone to the edge.
We'd watch him run and run,
and if he was ever tired
he would barely show it.
If he didn't stop,
no one dared to stop either.
Each of us had a hunger
that was different
than just a lack of food.
At all times, what do we do?
Stay together!
I'll yell "Franz".
The code is "Franz".
When you hear that,
run up front.
- Alright?
- Yeah.
Tomorrow, well, I don't have
to tell you what is tomorrow.
So get some rest
and don't think about the game
until the match begins.
At all times, what do we do?
Stay together!
You think he knows
what he's doing?
He should know. He's played
the game all his life.
Do you think we have a chance?
To do what, win?
Of course.
I just wanna survive
another day.
Laszlo said not to think about
football any more.
So don't.
Why did you save me?
You ever like a girl so much...
that you can feel
your heart beating right up here
near your throat?
You ever kiss a girl?
There is your answer.
Without love and a kiss,
life is nothing
but a big old book
filled with pages
that have nothing to say.
There was this one girl.
I always walked past her house
on my way home.
Did you smile?
Every time you saw her?
Did she?
That's nice, isn't it?
Yes, it is.
You'll find out,
one day, what it's like...
when that "nice"
turns into extraordinary.
Good night, Mr Laszlo.
Good night, Mr Branko.
what are you doing here?
The hospital released
me yesterday
and ordered me to report
back to camp.
How do you feel?
I am ready to help
our team win the match.
Too bad you can't play.
All the positions
have been filled.
You gave me your word.
Andreas is not included
in the final count.
We have written agreement.
Yes, he can board the truck.
You never played this before.
It's beautiful.
- What is it?
- It's called "Kol Nidrei."
It's played in many synagogues
on Yom Kippur Eve
the holiest of Jewish holidays.
That's what you played
the day I met you.
Laszlo, you have a good memory.
don't tell me
you were teaching
a Nazi officer
how to play a Jewish melody?
It was worth the risk.
Come on, keep on playing.
We all need it.
It was the first time in ages
we had all seen something
clean and fresh.
Something that smelled new.
Real soap!
I think that was the only time
I saw them behaving my age.
So clean, so nice.
Little things become big quick
if what you take for granted
is taken away from you.
is going to play the part
of our coach.
You just stand on the...
I hope I'm not intruding,
You like the uniforms?
Please, please, have a seat.
I believe you are also enjoying
the towels and the soap.
One must always have
fresh towels on a big match day.
Now, if you'd excuse me,
I'm about to enlighten these men
with my super-secret strategy
that I wouldn't like you to hear
unless you are here
to spy on me?
No need for that.
We want a just and fair battle
on the field.
And the men in this room
represent fairness and justice.
Certainly. I will leave
you with your team.
Oh, one more thing.
You will not need to wear
your armbands today.
No need to mix politics
and sport
on such a great occasion.
What a fine idea, Colonel.
This match does indeed have
nothing to do with politics.
We are all here
to have a great time.
Yes. Best of luck.
Come closer.
My team.
Let's just play together
and show these Nazis
that football is not a game
in which they always win.
Because what I see
in front of me
it's not just a group of men.
I see a team.
A team
that can beat anyone!
Let's go now!
Let's show them
what it feels like to bleed.
To victory!
Today and always!
To victory!
For years, I couldn't
go to see a game.
The sounds I heard
that day wouldn't stop.
The hate they had for us...
it was constant.
Like a scream
that kept coming...
coming and coming.
It still echoes.
was anyone rooting for you?
To make the show complete,
a few were allowed in.
We could see them,
but we could not hear them well.
It was the only moment
our people could rise up
even the slightest,
against the enemy.
General Ziege, welcome.
You've put together
quite the event, Woerns.
- Thank you, sir.
- Impressive.
Very impressive,
very impressive.
Very good. Thank you.
Were you scared?
Not on that day.
I had been scared and close
to death many times before.
But on that spring afternoon,
being scared was not an option.
We wanted victory. For us.
And for those
who were not afraid to rise up.
We wanted to show our people
that even if this was
a football match
it meant something else.
Enough was enough.
Sieg heil!
The Hungarian team.
They don't look like much.
They have been practising, sir.
We've given them many privileges
to prepare for today.
I know The Reich will prevail.
But we must give
a good performance.
A believable one.
- If you know what I mean.
- Of course.
I want those in attendance
who are not rooting for us
to feel good about the ability
of their men...
despite the final defeat.
Of course. So do I, sir.
But don't let
their looks fool you.
They are a feisty bunch.
Like a pesky animal
always looking for a way out.
They will put up a fight.
They came at us
wanting blood.
- Ah! It's OK.
- You alright?
And Laszlo was right.
They kept coming relentlessly.
Left and right.
The Nazi team
must have had the ball
in its possession
the entire half.
We were dodging bullets
and somehow, it was working.
And as Laszlo had predicted
they tried skipping
their ground game
and switching
to an aerial game.
And when they tried
going through the air
we knew we had them in a panic.
I have never seen
a team try so hard
and achieve so little.
The more they shot...
the more they missed.
The more they missed...
the more that seed of doubt
we hoped to plant
began to grow and spread.
All we did was defend
defend, defend.
But Laszlo said to wait.
So we waited and waited
for the tiny crack.
And just before the half...
Bam! A bolt of lightning.
And boy, were they stunned.
That walk to the locker room
will stay with me
till the day I die.
When I remember our team,
for a moment there
they were just like me.
Like a little kid
with the type of smile you get
when you're fearlessly happy.
Is this part
of the celebration, Herr Woerns?
I wonder if you have been
feeding these prisoners
better than we have
our own players.
Perhaps I should consider you
to be hired
the next time our team trains
for a much more serious
Another month and you could have
made these prisoners
into world champions.
I assure you,
this is just luck. That is all.
Nothing short
of a glorious victory
on the Fhrer's birthday
is what we will see.
I do hope so.
We did not come
to see '36 repeat itself.
Absolutely not.
If you will excuse me.
What happens now?
Karolyi, how's your ankle?
I feel fine. I'll pull through.
Good. What did I tell you?
Goals are what counts!
And when I look
at the scoreboard. We're ahead.
I love it!
Do you think they'll offer us
something in return for losing?
Wait a second. What losing?
But don't you think we have
something to bargain with now?
Nazis, they don't bargain.
They take.
I must congratulate you
on an extraordinary
but also
a very lucky performance.
It's not luck. It's skill.
I hope you men don't mind
but I need to borrow
your captain for a brief moment.
There's two of us.
I will speak only
to you, Laszlo.
I'm sorry, Colonel
wherever Laszlo goes...
Don't you let
that football uniform
give you any sense
of entitlement!
Is that understood?
This is an order!
Laszlo. Outside, now.
Laszlo the Great...
trying to embarrass me.
you're doing a mighty fine job.
You wanted a match.
You wanted drama
and competition, so...
What do you want? Tell me.
You couldn't have
come here without a plan?
That's enough!
No more games.
I want each member of my team
to be granted his freedom.
You remember that word?
None of the men in that room
have tasted it for a long while.
You can't have it.
Me for their freedom.
That's what I want.
I could do away with you
any time I see fit.
You could,
before this match started.
But now, from what I can see
you're in a bit of a bind.
Just as your Nazi team is.
This is all just
a spectacle for you.
Freedom for them.
You've got Europe at your feet.
What's freedom
to a few men to you?
I cannot give you this.
Don't you turn your back on me!
What're you gonna do?
Risk losing?
I could promise you nothing
and we could still prevail.
You could prevail.
But is it worth the risk?
Your men's feet must be aching
from all the missed shots.
And don't forget,
I'll be there waiting.
Waiting for another mistake
by your pretty team
just as I was waiting
a few minutes ago.
Your team can only gain
their freedom if they lose.
I will tell my team
that losing the match
will get them their freedom.
If we lose to them
you get to walk.
Yes. You get your freedom.
All of us?
No. I stay behind.
No, no, no.
That can't happen. We're a team.
Must we be reminded
that the one thing
that Nazis have
never given us, besides freedom
is their word that
nothing "bad" will happen to us.
All our families are
an example of that.
What's the guarantee
that they keep their word?
There isn't one.
It's up to each of you
to decide.
Lose a game...
win freedom.
Sounds about right.
I'd say it's a fair deal.
I can't tell you what to do.
This isn't just about football.
It's life.
Let's go now!
Whatever happens
if we're winning when
that clock up there shows "60"
I don't wanna see you
on the side-lines.
Why, sir Laszlo? I...
No matter what.
You have to promise me!
Find a place and hide there.
Stay there,
until everyone leaves
Because they're gonna
come and look for you.
I promise. Yes.
Laszlo, come on, let's go.
I didn't know
why he wanted me to hide.
I was confused and angry
because if we won
I wanted to be
with them to celebrate.
They were my team. My family.
Laszlo was the rarest of men.
You could steal the game
from him.
You could make him bleed
and try to break him down.
You could take away his freedom.
But his will to win? Never.
What other men saw
in his eyes on that day
made them do something
no one thought was possible.
That little ant
underneath David's foot
had let out a roar
that could make
even a lion run with fear.
I will be back, I promise.
Needing a penalty?
It's not the Reich's recipe
for victory, Herr Woerns.
My natural curiosity
got the better of me
on that day.
I know I had promised Laszlo
and I did...
but I had to see my team again.
I had to.
Whatever the cost.
Istvan is done.
But we only have
a few more minutes.
He can't play.
Tomasz, Tomasz!
Have you ever been on goal?
Good, now is your chance.
Who will play defense now?
Aron. Aron!
- Remember what we practiced?
- Yes.
When in doubt, just kick
the ball as hard as possible.
- But far away from our side.
- Yes.
Come on.
That was the last time
I ever saw them.
Laszlo didn't save me once.
He saved me twice.
What happened, Grandpa?
What happened to them?
Thirteen men died that day
because they fought back.
They died
because they said "enough"
to an evil that the world had
never seen before.
The beauty of football
was kind to them that day.
The ugliness
of the world surrounding them...
was not.
Not a day goes by
without me thinking
of the happiness
I saw on their faces.
resembles life sometimes.
The struggle, the discipline...
the sacrifice it demands.
Remember that, David.
Every time you play.
And sometimes it saves a life.
As it did mine.
So every time
you go out there and play
always give your best.
You owe it to the game
and to what it represents.
Laszlo was our best player
but if he tried
to do everything himself?
You wouldn't have won.
I couldn't have
said it better myself.
Come here.
It's getting late.
We better go.
I don't want your mother
to worry.