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The Game Of  Their Lives

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The purpose of this page is to set the record straight on the movie.  As you may imagine, certain things are changed for dramatic effect.  Here's where truth meets Hollywood.  I'm going to contact the people who were directly or indirectly involved in the Game and "Set the Record Straight!"


Gino's wedding was rescheduled to accomodate the World Cup

Yes it was moved.

Gino's wife's name is Janet

She can be seen on the St. Louis Remembers page.   Scroll halfway down to where you see a statue.  She's dressed in pink.

Frank Borghi and Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace Earned Medals for WW II

This is both fact and fiction.  The real truth can be found on this linkBecause of time constraints, I guess they couldn't include all of the medals earned by these two guys.  You can know the truth.

Frank Borghi:

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Five Battle Stars

Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace:

POW Medal, Purple Heart, Four Battle Stars


Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace was a loud-mouthed party animal.

In fact, the REAL "Pee Wee" was a fairly quiet man with a sharp wit.  My recollections of him was that if the whole room was talking about a subject and Uncle "Pee Wee" started to speak, the room got silent.  He was one of those kind of guys.

Frank and Rosemary Borghi were married at the time of the World Cup.

They were not yet married.

Because he was a POW, "Pee Wee" was claustrophobic

This makes for good cinema; but, in reality, he was subject to motion sickness.

Team Captain


The Game of Their Lives

The Game of Their Lives is a 2005 drama film, directed by David Anspaugh. It is based on the true story of the U.S. soccer team who, against all odds, beat England 1-0 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil during the 1950 World Cup. Although no U.S. team has ever won a World Cup title, this story is about the family traditions and passions which shaped the lives of the players who made up this team of underdogs.

The cast includes Gerard Butler, Zachery Ty Bryan, and Wes Bentley, among others. It opened for limited release in the U.S. on April 22, 2005.

Among other historical inaccuracies the role of Scotsman Eddie McIlvenny has been airbrushed out of the story. Eddie McIlvenny captained the side to their 1-0 victory, but the producers of the film decided to give the position of captain to American born Walter Bahr. McIlvenny moved to the United States in 1948, but returned to Britain in 1950 and played professional football for Manchester United. Eddie McIlvenny's widow, Sheila, was reported as saying "It's disappointing but what do you expect from Hollywood?" - she went on to say - "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". 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 team-mate 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 honour 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."

Thanks to Tom Stremlau for the information.