Pele appeared in several movies — fiction, documentary and instructional. Here's a selection of five.
1. Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)
"Once in a lifetime: The extraordinary story of the New York Cosmos" takes place during the summer of 1977 when the Cosmos with Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia took New York by storm.
2. Pele in FIFA films
3. Pele (2021, Netflix)
"What does Pele have in common with the Beatles? They are both mass cultural phenomena, huge in the 60s. They're both the greatest in their field, you could argue. What can be said about either that hasn't been said a thousand times before? Watch the new Netflix documentary Pele and, despite the uninspired title, shed any such prejudice and let yourself be drawn in to this well-structured, multi-voiced study of the player's place in Brazilian history. If listening to The White Album never gets old, neither does gasping at Pelé as he weaves his way through static defenders. There's another much more interesting layer here, though ..."
• Review: Pele, the brutal dictator, and the 1970 World Cup By Ian Plenderleith
4. Pele, the Master and His Method (1973)
Two years before Pele joined the New York Cosmos, youth players across the USA got an introduction — and wonderfully produced soccer "lessons" — thanks to the Pepsi-Cola-sponsored "Pele: The Master and Method," written by Paul Gardner and narrated by Hal Linden (of Barney Miller fame).
• Benjamin Ziemer, Soccer America interview (2017):
"Our father would bring a projector home and we used to watch “Pele: The Master and his Methods” for hours and learn how to train on our own. Now it’s on DVD and online, I make all my players watch it. With its highlights, showing how to strike ball … I think it should be mandatory in any youth organization."
5. Victory (1981)
In the movie directed by John Huston, starring Michael Caine, Sly Stallone and Max von Sydow, Pele plays a soccer savvy war prisoner from Trinidad. His teammates include Bobby Moore, Ossie Ardiles, Kazimierz Deyna and Werner Roth.
"The high point of the NASL had passed. ... The idea that the U.S. would ever host the World Cup was laughable. So, for a certain generation of American soccer fanatics — children of the Pele generation, as the filmmaker Tom McCabe put it recently — Victory was like Citizen Kane or Star Wars. ... I mean, here’s a legitimate Hollywood film that came out when the game was not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination here in America."
— Greg Lalas, co-founder the Kicking+Screening Soccer Film Festival.