Pele – Birth Of A Legend: The Man Who Changed The Most Beautiful Game

Starring: Kevin de Paula (Pelé, from age 13 to 17), Leonardo Lima Carvalho (Pelé at age 10), Vincent D’Onofrio (Feola), Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta (Jose), Colm Meaney (George Reynor), Vivi Devereaux (Austin Smith), mariana Nunes ( Pele’s mother)

Director: Jeff & Michael Zimbalist

Music:  A.R. Rahman

Cinematography: Matthew Libatique

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Introduction to Pele

Football, the most popular game in the world has a vast, rich and beautiful history behind it. This magnanimous history is full of emotions, success, failure and players who have played this game with all the enthusiasm and zeal possible. Some of these players faded away in this history of the game while some out shined and scaled great heights and then there is the third kind, those who changed the course of this beautiful game’s future. Pele, is the third kind of the player. Pele won Brazil its first ever World Cup and it came at a time when the nation needed it the most. The movie sheds light on his journey from an ambitious and rowdy kid to the greatest player the history has ever known.



The sports genre has always been a celebrated one in the history of cinema, be it Hollywood or Bollywood. When Bollywood boasts of movies like Mar Kom, Chak De India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Lagaan, their counterparts across the 7 sea’s have made some outstanding contributions to the dynamic combinations of sport and cinema. Evergreen movies like the Rocky series, Karate Kid, Fighter, Jerry Maguire and Coach Carter are still the benchmark of sports movies.



Pele – The Birth Of A Legend, is the story of the greatest player the game of football has ever seen, Pele. Directed by the Zimbalist brothers, the movie is majorly set across Brazil and part of it showcased in Sweden. From his very initial days when he did not have the money to buy football boots and cleaned toilets with his father, Pele had the energy and ambition to not only play the game but win Brazil the world cup. With a great story line, impressing upon, both, his days as a kid to the days he was picked up for Santos and went onto win Brazil the World Cup, the directors have done justice to the story of the legend.



With actors you may not have ever seen, Pele does stumble a bit on the acting performance front. The young Pele is too enthusiastic while the elder version lacks the expression in certain scenes. However, dramatic and powerful performances from Seu Jorge, playing Pele/s father and mariana Nunes, playing his mother are worth a round of applause. Cinematography and especially the scenes shot on the field with Pele recreating his magic of the 1950’s with his “ginga” style are shot with an immense level of expertise.


Music by the Indian genius, A.R. Rahman is no short of heart touching and elegant as always. With a surprise appearance from the legend himself, during the World Cup at Sweden, the movie does hardly any wrong in projecting the life of Pele on the 70 mm screen. For a football fan, Pele is a delicacy and for those who do not follow the game, it’s still a movie worth watching.

My Rating: 4.5/5


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