Pelé: Birth of a Legend – Is this the Best Sports Movie for 2016?

Football/Soccer Movie – Pelé: Birth of a Legend – Released 2016 – Biography, Drama, Sport.

A boy with nothing who changed everything… Pelé Birth of a Legend.

IFC Films, Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures presents in association with Legends 10 an Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures production. Pelé: Birth of a Legend, based on the inspirational True Story.

Written and directed by Jeff Zimbalist and Mike Zimbalist, from the Producers of Apollo 13 & Friday Night Lights.

Pelé is the soccer player that changes the game and gave hope to the Brazilian nation

Pele’s meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading Brazilian national soccer team to its first World Cup. A victory at the age of 17 is chronicled in this biographical drama.

The younger Pelé is played by Leonardo Lima Carvalho; Kevin de Paula plays the adult version. Their reenactment is incredible and existing to watch.

Pele’s credits his father, former Fluminense player Dondinho played by Seu Jorge as his source of inspiration by pushing him to perfect all his moves, including his famous bicycle kick. Pelé is much more than just a retired footballer. He’s a global icon with a career of remarkable achievement that even he could not have imagined.

Pelé famous bicycle kick.
Pelé famous bicycle kick.


Born on October 23, 1940, in Três Corações, Brazil, soccer legend Pelé became a superstar with his performance in the 1958 World Cup. He played professionally in Brazil for two decades.

Winning three World Cups along the way, before joining the New York Cosmos late in his career. Named FIFA co-Player of the Century in 1999. Also he is a global ambassador for soccer and other humanitarian causes.

Pele’s  Childhood

Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil. The first child of João Ramos and Dona Celeste. Named after Thomas Edison and nicknamed “Dico,” even the “Shoeless One,” he moved with his family to the city of Bauru as a young boy, at the age of 15. He left Bauru to embark on his passion to win a world cup for Brazil. Most of all wins back Brazilian pride after losing the world cup in 1950.

Pelé Birth of a Legend
Screen Capture of Leonardo Lima Carvalho.

João Ramos, better known as “Dondinho,” struggled to earn a living as a soccer player. As a result Pelé grew up in poverty.

Still, he developed a rudimentary talent for soccer by kicking a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets of Bauru.

The origin of the “Pelé” nickname is unclear, though he recalled despising it when his friends first referred to him that way.

As an adolescent, Pelé joined a youth squad coached by Waldemar de Brito, a former member of the Brazilian national soccer team. De Brito eventually convinced Pelé’s family to let the outstandingly talent leave home and try out for the Santos professional soccer club when he was 15.

Brazil’s National Treasure

Pelé signed with Santos and immediately started practising with the team’s regulars. He scored the first professional goal of his career before he turned 16. He led the league in goals in his first full season and was recruited to play for the Brazilian national team.

The world was officially introduced to Pelé in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17-year-old erupted to score three goals in a 5-2 semi final win over France.

Then netted two more in the finals, a 5-2 win over the host country.

Pelé Birth of a Legend 2016The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs. Brazilian President Jânio Quadros eventually had Pelé declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country. Consequently, Santos club ownership ensured its star attraction was well paid by scheduling lucrative exhibition matches with teams around the world.

World Cup Titles

Pelé aggravated a groin injury two games into the 1962 World Cup in Chile, sitting out the final rounds. While Brazil went on to claim its second straight title. Four years later, in England, a series of brutal attacks by opposing defenders again forced him to the sidelines with leg injuries. Brazil was bounced from the World Cup after one round.

In the late 1960s

Despite the disappointment on the world stage, the legend of Pelé continued to grow. The two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game in Lagos.

The 1970 World Cup in Mexico

Marked a triumphant return to glory for Pelé and Brazil. Headlining a formidable squad, Pelé scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final to give Brazil a 4-1 victory over Italy.

CNN Report.

Pelé announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, but he was lured back to the field the following year to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. Also temporarily helped make the NASL a big attraction.


He played his final game in an exhibition between New York and Santos in October 1977, competing for both sides, and retired with a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.

And although his talents were coveted around the world, he opted to stay with Santos for 18 years winning over 20 major titles in the process.

The Legend Lives On

Retirement did little to diminish the public profile of Pelé, who remained a popular pitchman and active in many professional arenas.


Pelé was awarded the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF. He has also served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.


Pelé was named FIFA’s “Co-Player of the Century” along with Argentine Diego Maradona. Too many of his accomplishments on the soccer field will never be equalled.

Virtually all great athletes in the sport are measured against the Brazilian who once made the world stop to watch his transcendent play.

Not only did Pelé exude all the attributes required to prosper at the top level, he also exhibited a rare commodity in modern day soccer… Loyalty.

At the age of 75

Pelé is more grounded after suffering several health scares in recent times, he underwent a hip operation, but is eager for this summer’s Olympics Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Written and Directed by:

Jeff Zimbalist and Mike Zimbalist.


Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Colm Meaney, Diego Boneta, Seu Jorge, Tonya Cornelisse, Kevin de Paula, André Mattos, Sven Holmberg, Mariana Balsa, Seth Michaels, Ivan Orlic, Brandon Wilson, Milton Gonçalves, Vivi Devereaux, Eric Bell Jr, Phil Miler, Felipe Simas, Adriano Aragon, Leonardo Lima Carvalho, Mariana Nunes, Julio Levy, Garcia Júnior, Thelmo Fernandes, Jon Cotterill, Rafael Henriques, Charles Myara, Roger Haag, Marianna Nunes, Jerome Franz and Arthur Jansen.

Music by:

A.R. Rahman.

Cinematography by:

Matthew Libatique.


Imagine Entertainment, Seine Pictures and Zohar International.

Production Designer:

Dominic Watkins.


Gail Stevens, Mary Vernieu and Michelle Wade Byrd.

Costume Designer:

Ines Salgado


Luis Carballar, Naomi Geraghty and Glen Scantlebury.

Produced by:

Brian Grazer, Ivan Orlic, Colin Wilson, Kim Roth and Isabelle Tanugi.

Executive Producers:

Michael Rosenberg, Guy East, Paul Kemsley and Benjamin Mathes.


IFC Films

Pelé: Birth of a Legend – Is this the Best Sports Movie for 2016? Reviewed byShane V on . Rating: 4.75

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iPLAY® Rating: 95%
95% Scores 4.75

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