Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

Overview

While professional soccer is still struggling to find a firm foothold in the United States, in the 1970s the North American Soccer League marked the brave first attempt to introduce the game to American sports fans. While most teams had only limited success at best, one did manage to break through to genuine mainstream popularity -- the New York Cosmos. The brainchild of Steve Ross a passionate soccer fan who was also a major executive at Warner Communications and Ahmet Ertegun and Nesuhi Ertegun the founders of ...
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Overview

While professional soccer is still struggling to find a firm foothold in the United States, in the 1970s the North American Soccer League marked the brave first attempt to introduce the game to American sports fans. While most teams had only limited success at best, one did manage to break through to genuine mainstream popularity -- the New York Cosmos. The brainchild of Steve Ross a passionate soccer fan who was also a major executive at Warner Communications and Ahmet Ertegun and Nesuhi Ertegun the founders of Atlantic Records, the Cosmos got off to a rocky start in 1971 no one was especially happy with the playing field at Randall's Island, and some rowdy fans were known to throw broken glass onto the grass, but things changed in 1975 when the world's most celebrated soccer star, the Brazilian champion Pele, signed with the Cosmos for a five-million-dollar payday. With the arrival of Pele, the Cosmos became a hit with both fans and the media, and the players became the toast of the town, earning their own private table at Studio 54. A number of other international soccer stars were soon lured to the Cosmos, including Franz Beckenbauer, Rodney Marsh, and Carlos Alberto, but with the turn of the decade, the team began losing favor with fans and folded in 1985. Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos is a documentary by Paul Crowder and John Dower that looks at the team's remarkable history and includes interviews with many of the Cosmos' star players with the notable exception of Pele, who declined to participate.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Game highlights: 1980 Soccer Bowl - Cosmos vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers; 1981 Soccer Bowl - Cosmos vs. Chicago Sting; Pelé's Farewell Game; Deleted scene; "Stories of Pelé" - SportsCentury interviews
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Released in conjunction with a book of the same name by Gavin Newsham, Once in a Lifetime is an enjoyable and brisk documentary that charts the rise and fall of the National American Soccer League in the United States through the briefly popular New York Cosmos. Like most success stories, how the team rose to prominence is more interesting than the litany of laurels garnered once they got there. Professional sports are such big business today, it's rare that we ever contemplate how a league gets started, let alone the ridiculously ragtag level on which the Cosmos began, and the organizational history is one its most interesting aspects. With part-time players culled from factory jobs and a Battle of the Network Stars visual style, the first third of the documentary brings to mind The Bad News Bears. Their low-rent playing field was spray-painted green when Pele arrived. The team's playing, even when top talent was attracted, was never enormously impressive. The top talent was past its prime and motivated by money. The business negotiations -- how Pele was wooed to New York -- are where the story finds its dramatic legs. The New York Cosmos' success seemingly came from flashy novelty, and it's no surprise that the arrogant high-living Italian transplant Giorgio Chinaglia is the most entertaining interview subject. His self-serving memory is the focal point around much of the latter half, with players and owners disputing his version of events. Eventually the team rose and fell on these idiosyncratic charms, and the league was later replaced by Major League Soccer. With its light touch, Once in a Lifetime seems to acknowledge that the legacy of its achievements are questionable at best. However, the appeal of Pele and media buzz surrounding the Cosmos generated enough interest in the sport with children that the seeds were placed for the vibrant enthusiasm comparatively for soccer in the United States today.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/3/2006
  • UPC: 786936718126
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:37:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johann Cruyff Participant
Franz Beckenbauer Participant
Shep Messing Participant
Werner Roth Participant
Giorgio Chinaglia Participant
Ahmet Ertegun Participant
Clive Toye Participant
Phil Woodnam Participant
Jay Emmett Participant
Raphael de la Serra Participant
David Hirshey Participant
Mark Ross Participant
Carlos Alberto Participant
Pepe Pinton Participant
Matt Dillon Voice Only
New York Cosmos
Nesuhi Ertegun Participant
Technical Credits
Paul Crowder Director, Editor
John Dower Director, Screenwriter
John Battsek Producer
Nick Bennett Cinematographer
Vicki Cherkas Executive Producer
Michael Davies Executive Producer
Nick Fraser Executive Producer
Liz Gallagher Musical Direction/Supervision
Julie Goldman Executive Producer
Matt Israel Sound/Sound Designer
Cedric Jeanson Executive Producer
Richard Klein Executive Producer
Jessica Ludgrove Co-producer
Mark Monroe Screenwriter
Agi Orsi Co-producer
John Penotti Executive Producer
Andrew Ruhemann Executive Producer
Fisher Stevens Producer
Tim Williams Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos
1. Opening Titles/Early American Soccer [7:19]
2. "The Godfather of American Soccer" [5:30]
3. The New York Cosmos Form [5:26]
4. Cosmos Sold to Warner [4:15]
5. "The Hunting of Pelé" [6:13]
6. Cosmos Offer Pelé Millions [6:00]
7. Pelé Arrives in New York [4:23]
8. Playing With Pelé [6:06]
9. Cosmos Sign Chinaglia [5:51]
10. "The Women Went Wild" [5:16]
11. Franz Beckenbauer Makes Three [5:38]
12. Cosmos Sign Carlos Alberto [5:44]
13. Pelé's Final Championship Year [5:49]
14. "Giorgio's Philosophy of Life" [6:57]
15. Time Runs Out for the Cosmos [10:41]
16. End Credits [6:16]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Bonus Features
      Stories of Pelé
      Soccer Highlights: Pelé's Farewell Game - October 1, 1977
      Soccer Highlights: 1980 Soccer Bowl - New York Cosmos Versus Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
      Soccer Highlights: 1981 Soccer Bowl - New York Cosmos Versus Chicago Sting
      Haitian Divorce - Deleted Scene
   Set Up
      Subtitles
         English for the Hearing Impaired
         French
         Spanish
         Subtitles: None
      Register Your DVD
   Sneak Peaks
      Play All
      Home Improvement
      Goal! The Dream Begins
      Stick It
      Kinky Boots
      The Miracle Match
      Apocalypto
      Keeping Up With the Steins
      Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
      The Heart of the Game
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