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Movie Review – Pele: Birth of A Legend

Cast – Kevin de Paula, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meaney

Genre – Autobiography, Drama

Director – Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist

Running Time – 107 minutes



I was, once again, fortunate to be able to see the new Pele movie a day before its launch in cinemas today, thanks to the Ster Kinekor folks. Watching it in what is one of the best ways complete with good food and very comfy seats, Prestige is a great way to watch any movie I’m convinced. An avid and mad soccer fan for as long as I could make sense of anything, I was always intrigued by this flick ever since I saw the trailer. It being based on what is one of the greats in the game is the cherry on top. Anyway, enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff.

The premise

Pelé. Even if you are not a soccer fan, you probably have heard the name before and are familiar with who it’s associated with. A true sports legend who changed soccer forever, Pele is a national hero who carried the hopes and dreams of a country on his back. But before he was an icon, he was a kid from the slums of São Paulo, Brazil, so poor that he couldn’t afford a real soccer ball. Charting his meteoric rise from scrubbing floors to support his family to honing his electrifying playing style on the streets to leading Brazil’s national team to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17, Pelé vividly brings to life the greatest sports story of the 20th century. If that’s not enough to capture your imagination, then I don’t know what is.

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What we liked

The movie is a tribute to a man who changed the beautiful game and in that sense is a great concept which probably should have been done a long time ago, better late than never. It doesn’t require you to be a soccer fan specifically and the scenery is also pretty cool. The movie shows the power of sports and what it can do to change one’s life forever, a story which many top athletes today can relate to I’m sure.

What we didn’t like

With all that said, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed by the movie. I felt like the storytelling could have been better and the sequence of the movie was a bit rushed with everything being squeezed together in under two hours or so. I would have preferred they made it longer to tell the story of the great man better. Also heading into it I was expecting something different especially on the back of what was being said prior, but I guess I have no one to blame except myself for that.


The movie Pele gets a 2.5 out of 5 rating from me. It’s good enough for you to go and see but not a must see. Despite the criticism above though I found myself learning some great facts and more about the great man off the field. A decent attempt by the Zimbalist brothers, it just fell a little short for me.


Thabiso Moloi
With many, many years of PR, digital & Influencer Marketing work under his belt, Thabiso has worked on a great number of technology brands and gadgetry (which we feature here thoroughly) and has over the years grown a keen liking for. He's been obsessed with technology (and most things under the sun) for as long as he can remember. For now, he covers smartphone reviews (spanning everything from entry to premium devices) as well as entertainment related stuff. You can find him on Twitter: @Thabz_14
  • Haanim Galvaan

    Seu Jorge is one of my favourite musicians ever and to be honest, one of the main reasons I was intrigued by this movie was the fact that he was in it. Watching the trailer it doesn’t look like there’s all that much of him in it, but I hope I’m wrong! 🙂

    I’ll definitely still watch this despite your somewhat harsh review. I just feel like as a football fan myself, this is something I need to have under my belt, kinda like with movies like the Ronaldo movie, Goal! and Shaolin Soccer


    • Thabiso

      Thank you for the Haanim! Definitely if you are a soccer fan then definitely you need to check it out, it just felt me wanting more and better – feel they could have done a better job with it.

      That actually should be a rule, all soccer fans need to see all soccer related movies, no questions asked and objections 🙂