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Pelé: Birth of a Legend

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Movie Info




Pele's meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading to Brazil to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17 is chronicled in this biographical drama.

Pelé: Birth of a Legend Reviews

Reviewer Profile
Indian Express


All too linear and straightforward. Pele: Birth of a Legend, is a glorious opportunity missed. It had all the ingredients for a humongous biopic. With Pele, the canvas was always going to be broad. But the simplistic treatment, followed by the feeble performances by the cast, makes this film a huge let down.


What can bog the film down at times though is that it can get a bit heavy-handed. The very same emotion that it goes for, can make it a bit drippy at times. The movie's trajectory is also a bit predictable and you should know that this film focuses quite squarely on his early life.

The poor acting, traditionalist treatment and regulated melodrama also fails to raise the bar in terms of overall affect. Only Mathew (Black Swan) Libatique’s cinematography is worthy of high praise here!


It’s an inspiring tale with exceptionally natural performances delivered by all the actors, making it seem realistic. Watch it for the crisp narration and the background score, done by A. R Rahman, which is so perfectly timed and is an added benefit to the film. All this and more makes this movie a must watch!

Uday Bhatia


A.R. Rahman’s score is flashy and fairly unremarkable; the same can be said for Matthew Libatique’s cinematography. All in all, the sort of hagiographic biopic one expects when the person being profiled is the executive producer.


The most disappointing thing about Pele: Birth of a Legend is its failure to bring alive a fascinating story that has layers of historic, cultural and sporting significance. The film’s tagline not only refers to the arrival of one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game but also the introduction of an ancient, ridiculed-by-the-Western-world, indigenous form of martial arts-meets-dance athleticism practised by African slaves in Latin America in a game dominated by whites.

Yet, Pelé’s ambition and struggles seem superficial and the resolutions too simple. The Zimbalist brothers do not effectively portray the claustrophobia of a Brazilian slum, or the poverty that propels the ambitions of people like Pelé.

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