4.5 8
Director: Danny Cannon

Cast: Danny Cannon, Leonardo Guerra, Tony Plana, Miriam Colon


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One young man's dream takes him on a remarkable journey in this sports-themed drama. Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) was born in Mexico, and came to California with his family when he was just a boy. One of the few things Santiago brought with him was a love for soccer, and while he holds down two jobs -- working landscaping during the daysSee more details below


One young man's dream takes him on a remarkable journey in this sports-themed drama. Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) was born in Mexico, and came to California with his family when he was just a boy. One of the few things Santiago brought with him was a love for soccer, and while he holds down two jobs -- working landscaping during the days with his father, Hernan (Tony Plana), and as a busboy at night -- he still dreams of playing the game professionally, and spends his precious spare time with an amateur team in Los Angeles. One day, Santiago is approached by Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), a part-time scout for powerhouse British team Newcastle United; Glen has seen Santiago play and thinks he has talent, and can get him a tryout with Newcastle if he can make his way to England. While Hernan refuses to help Santiago pay for the trip, his grandmother (Miriam Colon) empties her savings to help him follow his dream. Santiago's first reserve game with the team happens during a typically British rainstorm, with Santiago suffering a mild asthma attack to boot; he doesn't play at his best and is turned away from the team, but he refuses to go home, determined to make good. After striking up a friendship with star kicker Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola) and demonstrating his mettle to coach Mal Braithwaite (Gary Lewis), Santiago earns a second chance to show Newcastle United what he can do and make his father proud of him. Goal! was a major international hit, and a sequel was already in production before the film opened in the United States in the spring of 2006.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
The first in a planned soccer film trilogy, the richly satisfying Goal! The Dream Begins is from the inspirational “follow your dreams” sub-genre of the underdog sports movie. Santiago (Kuno Becker), a Mexican immigrant living with his family in Los Angeles, is a soccer prodigy. He is encouraged by a former player and talent scout (Stephen Dillane) to go to England and try out for the elite Newcastle United team, which has fallen on hard times. Among the obstacles that stand in his way are his father (Tony Plana), who thinks his son’s soccer dreams are “rubbish”; Santiago’s asthma, which he tries to keep secret, and hostile teammates. But Santiago perseveres with the help of a beautiful nurse (Anna Friel), paternalistic coach (Gary Lewis), and Gavin, the team’s flashy, but underachieving, star player (Alessandro Nivola) whose “playboy” lifestyle runs counter to Santiago’s own work ethic. Goal! follows the sports movie playbook, but manages some tricky moves that keep viewers from getting too far ahead of the story. Santiago’s assimilation to British-style soccer is rough and tumbling. His estrangement from his father likewise does not play out predictably. The dialogue at times is as hokey as the genre demands, but the soccer action comes off as authentic and there is obvious rooting interest in role-model Santiago. Gavin’s off-the-field antics (he wakes up one morning in bed between two women) earn the film its PG rating and otherwise mar what would have been a more family friendly film. There is no shortage of sports films, but as the talent scout says of Santiago, “every once in awhile, one comes along to lift your heart.” The Dream Begins achieves that goal.
All Movie Guide
Like the sport of soccer itself, Goal! The Dream Begins has something in store for a diverse blend of audiences -- few of them American, as evidenced by its weak box-office performance in the U.S. The story starts in Los Angeles, following a soccer prodigy who's also an illegal Mexican immigrant, then quickly transplants young Santiago (Kuno Becker) to rainy Northern England, where he tries out for the English Premier League. It's no surprise international audiences loved it -- enough to inspire two sequels -- but the quality filmmaking alone should have gained it more attention stateside. Danny Cannon's direction and Michael Barrett's camerawork are sleek without being showy, and the whole production feels sturdy and visually interesting. Newcastle Upon Tyne, where much of the action takes place, is a beautiful backdrop through Barrett's lens -- its crashing coastal waves looking grandiose, its cityscapes both modern and quaint, its fields lushly green. The plot, however, is a bit more standard. For our protagonist, there are cultural differences and medical issues to overcome, the trappings of fame to avoid, and a strict father to impress. To their credit, the filmmakers do include a few surprises within the reliable structure, as well as a few nice details that make Goal! better than your average predictable sports movie. (The biggest complaint about the narrative, in fact, is that Santiago goes through a comical number of near cuttings and apparent ends of the road.) One of Goal!'s biggest assets is its supporting cast. Alessandro Nivola was born to play a celebrity soccer star modeled after David Beckham (who makes a cameo), Anna Friel exudes plucky sweetness as the lass who falls for Santiago, and Stephen Dillane, who discovers Santiago and champions him to the Newcastle coach, is highly affable. Goal! has modest goals, but it achieves them.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Touchstone / Disney
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Danny Cannon and writers Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais; "Behind the Pitch" - how the film's intense soccer action came together using real premiereship matches and the actors; Movie Showcase: instant access to select movie scenes that showcase the ultimate in high definition picture and sound; Seamless menus

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leonardo Guerra 10-Year-Old Santiago
Tony Plana Hernan Munez
Miriam Colon Mercedes
Kuno Becker Santiago Munez
Jorge Cervera Cesar
Herman Chaves Referee
Alfredo Rodriguez Julio
Donald Li Chinese Restaurant Manager
Kathryn Tomlinson Val
Jake Johnson Tom
Zach Johnson Rory
Stephen Dillane Glen Foy
Sean Pertwee Barry Rankin
Jonathan Hernandez Armando
Alessandro Nivola Gavin Harris
Cassandra Bell Christina
Rhydian Jones Sales Person
Marcel Iures Erik Dornhelm
Christoper Connel Reporter 1
Peter Michael McGowan Reporter 2
Andy Hawthorne Immigration Official 1
Michael Gunn Immigration Official 2
Ashlea Sanderson Girl
Alex Parkin-Goodchild Kid 1
Callum Aynsley Kid 2
Christopher Fairbank Foghorn
Craig Heaney Phil
Jack McBride Walter
Rob Dixon Bobby Redfern
Anna Friel Roz Harmison
Kieran O'Brien Hughie Magowan
Gary Lewis Mal Braithwaite
Ashley Walters Carl Francis
Kevin Knapman Jamie Drew
Lee Ross Bluto
Stephen Graham Des
Andy Kidd Bouncer
Alan Shearer Alan Shearer
Emma Field Rayner Lorraine
Martin Tyler Martin Tyler
Brian Lonsdale Fan
Glynis Brooks Cleaner 1
Maxine Evans Cleaner 2
Blondell Taylor Sister
Daniel Maier Patient
Frances Barber Carol
Madeline Moffat Woman in Tower Block
Louis Lennie Teenager
Baden Burns Teenager
Nicholas Lumley Taxi Dispatcher
Mike Elliot Gordon
Louise Franklin Drunk Girl
Leslie Randall Mr. Ives
Bryan Johnson Geordie Fan
Greg Ellis Fan 2
Sven-Göran Eriksson Sven-Göran Eriksson
David Beckham David Beckham
Raúl González Blanco Raúl González Blanco
Zinedine Zidane Zinedine Zidane
Shivani Ghai Ground Attendant
Nick Ingman Conductor

Technical Credits
Danny Cannon Director
Jason Alexander Musical Direction/Supervision
Andy Ansah Consultant/advisor
Matthew Kern Atzenhoffer Set Decoration/Design
Charles Bain Camera Operator
Matt Barrelle Producer
Michael Barrett Cinematographer
Debra Baum Consultant/advisor
Lawrence Bender Executive Producer
Ross Burgess Animator
Jo Burn Co-producer
Adrian Butchart Original Story,Screenwriter
Dick Clement Screenwriter
Paul Corbould Special Effects Supervisor
Carl Denooyer Set Decoration/Design
Chris Dickens Editor
Laurence Dorman Production Designer
Annette Dunford-Lewis Costumes/Costume Designer
Belinda Gardea Casting
Nicolas Gautier Associate Producer
Elaine Grainger Casting
Peter Hargitay Executive Producer
Stevie Hargitay Associate Producer
Jonathan Harris Associate Producer
Allen Hopkins Associate Producer
Mark Huffam Producer
Mike Jefferies Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter
Peter Kang Set Decoration/Design
Mark S. Kusy Set Decoration/Design
Ian La Frenais Screenwriter
Brandy Lusvardi Costumes/Costume Designer
Tara McDonald Makeup
Dale Myrand Camera Operator
Chris Newman Asst. Director
Chris Ouwinga Co-producer
Hugh Pritchard Set Decoration/Design
Lindsay Pugh Costumes/Costume Designer
Graeme Revell Score Composer
Sian Richards Makeup
George Richmond Camera Operator
Stuart Rose Art Director
John Eric Ryan Set Decoration/Design
Burton Sanders Set Decoration/Design
Sean Savage Camera Operator
Tom Sayers Sound/Sound Designer
J. Brook Shafer Set Decoration/Design
Erik G. Soderstrom Set Decoration/Design
Alison Stein Costumes/Costume Designer
Danny Stepper Co-producer
Jim Stuebe Sound Mixer
Lucinda Syson Casting
Dan Turrett Camera Operator
Darryn Welch Co-producer
Su Westwood Makeup

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Goal! The Dream Begins
1. Once Upon a Time
2. American Dream
3. Remarkable Talent
4. Your Life
5. Tickets
6. See What He's Got
7. Tryouts
8. One Month
9. Flare
10. Reserve
11. Asthma
12. Prove It
13. We're Professionals
14. A Higher Level
15. Night on the Toon
16. How Long?
17. No Excuses
18. Home
19. A New Song for the Fans
20. End Credits

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