Victory, the new film by 74-year-old John Huston, is a civilized, professional, old-fashioned entertainment about men in groups. The picture is being hyped as a story of human spirit, prevailing against impossible odds, but it's a lot more low-key and a great deal more enjoyable than that. It's the story of the wake left by a great director sailing smoothly at half-mast. [31 July 1981]
When the dust settles, you may well suspect you've been taken for a sentimental ride, which is not what one normally expects from director John Huston. What he does bring to Evan Jones and Yabo Yablonsky's proficient script is his confident, unhurried pacing and his ease in mixing the professional actors and professional soccer players into a seamless ensemble. [10 Aug 1981, p.69]
Unsatisfactory both for fans of star-studded prison escape dramas and for football fans hoping to see cunningly devised tactics from Pele and his squad of internationals.
Gary ArnoldWashington Post
Victory, the latest effort from veteran director John Houston, represents a remarkable triumph of artificial obliviousness. The misbegotten hybrid screenplay struggles to cross the tradition of POW escape films like The Wooden Horse, Stalag 17 and The Great Escape with recent rabble-rousing sports sagas like The Longest Yard and Rocky. [31 July 1981, p.B3]
In a light-hearted way, it portrays the Allies as children, their leaders as collaborators, a Nazi POW camp as boys' summer camp and the conflict as color war. And what's more, the Allied team gets so excited that they would rather win the game than escape from their captors. The whole concept is so outrageous that it hardly leaves time for one to consider the details. [31 July 1981, p.17]