Invincible (2006 film)

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Invincible movie.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Ericson Core
Produced by Gordon Gray
Mark Ciardi
Written by Brad Gann
Starring Mark Wahlberg
Greg Kinnear
Elizabeth Banks
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Ericson Core
Edited by Gerald B. Greenberg
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • August 25, 2006 (2006-08-25)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $58.5 million

Invincible is a 2006 American sports drama film directed by Ericson Core. It is based on the true story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978 with the help of his coach, Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear). The film was released in the United States on August 25, 2006.


During the 1970s decade, chaos reigns in the city of Philadelphia as southern portions of the city protest the shutdown of several job sites while their NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, endures a string of losing seasons, along with irate fans.

In 1976, Vince Papale goes to a sandlot one night and joins his friends playing a pick-up practice football game against another group of young men. After the game ends, Papale goes home and finds out that his wife Sharon is disgusted with his alleged failure to provide proper support.

The next morning, Papale goes to the high school where he works as a substitute teacher. In a short, unexpected meeting with the principal, he is told of his layoff. Later in the day, there is a report that the Eagles have hired a new head coach named Dick Vermeil as shown in a formal televised conference. That night, Papale goes to the bar where he works as a part-time bartender. The bar contains die-hard Eagles fans, who are watching TV about the hiring of Vermeil. The news story concludes with the announcement by Vermeil that he is staging open public tryouts for the Eagles. The men in the bar encourage Papale to go to the tryout. When Papale returns home, he finds out that his wife has left him and a note from her saying he will never be anything in the world. Distraught, Papale thrashes the few remaining belongings that Sharon left behind.

When Papale goes to the bar next night, he meets a new co-bartender, Janet Cantrell, who is a Giants fan. Desperate for income in the aftermath of his wife's departure, Papale receives support from his friends and attends the tryout hosted at Veterans' Stadium. Out of several hundred Philadelphia residents attending the training facility, Papale performs well during the workouts. After the camp is over, Papale fails to start his car and Dick Vermeil comes by. He is impressed by Papale’s actions at camp and invites him to a roster spot with the Philadelphia Eagles. Everyone at the bar becomes excited about the TV announcement that Papale will be joining the team. After work, Papale has an interview with a newscaster.

The next day, Papale exercises by jogging in the city and stops by at the empty home he tore up, where his former wife Sharon lived; then he interacts with his friends, telling them about joining the Eagles. His father, meanwhile, offers to let Vince stay with him. The following day, he goes to his first training camp with the Eagles. As the days of training camp progress, Papale endures a life full of hard work and disrespect from the other players. Papale goes out on a date with Janet one night, but didn't think he'd still be on the team. He says he's not sure he can start a new relationship at that time because he's focused on trying his best to make the team and she claims she didn't know it was a date. She goes to help out at the bar and he leaves. As training camp ends, the final roster spot is down to Papale and a veteran. Against his assistants' advice, Vermeil decides to give the spot to Papale.

As Papale’s career with the Eagles begins, the team loses all six preseason games and their regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Papale plays poorly against the Cowboys and Vermeil faces pressure from the fans and media for the poor start. After the team returns to Philadelphia, Papale goes to the sandlot where he played with his friends several months before. He is invited to play, but he declines because of his upcoming Eagles game and watches for a few minutes. A rainstorm begins, and then Papale does join his pals and plays against another sandlot team to help his friends. During a wet and dirty game, Papale ends the game by throwing a touchdown pass. When he runs into Janet later, they speak briefly before passionately embracing and tumbling into Vince's home.

During the home opener against the New York Giants, Eagles fans are enraged about Janet’s appearance in a Giants shirt. In the locker room, Vince looks again at the note Sharon had left and tears it up. Papale opens the game by solo-tackling the kickoff returner inside the 15-yard line. After an up-and-down game, Papale gets downfield during an Eagles' 4th quarter punt to tackle the returner, forcing a fumble that he recovers and takes into the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Eagles their first win in Papale’s career. Eagles fans go wild with joy. As the film's end credits appear, media and actual footage show highlights of Papale’s career with the Eagles. Papale plays for the team for three seasons and eventually marries Janet while Vermeil succeeds in turning the Eagles into a winning team, culminating in an appearance in Super Bowl XV.


Differences from the true story[edit]

In reality, Papale had been playing semi-professional and pro football for several years, first with the semi-pro Aston Green Knights of the Seaboard Football League and then two seasons with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League, one of the NFL's rival leagues on the level of the AFL and the USFL. Papale was a standout special teams star for the Bell, who played at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium.

Papale did participate in an open tryout before earning his spot on the Bell roster, which the filmmakers used as a model for the tryout shown in the movie. For the Eagles, Papale actually participated in a private workout that was by invitation only.[1]

The opening scene of the movie features the Eagles' 31−0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on December 7, 1975. One of the fans makes a comment that the Eagles lost to a team worse than they were. In 1975, the Bengals actually went 11–3 and were the Wild Card team in the AFC.[2]

The game versus the New York Giants is depicted as being a close defensive struggle, with the Giants scoring first to take a 7–0 lead. The Eagles actually won easily 20–7 with the Giants not scoring until late in the game. The fumble recovery depicted in the climactic scene did take place, but Papale's touchdown did not count, as under NFL rules at the time, the ball could not be advanced. It was still a key play in the victory for the Eagles.[3] Papale never scored a regular-season touchdown in the NFL.[4]


The preseason/tryout scenes were filmed at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Central High School Lancers field during July and August 2005. (For 13 seasons, 195870, Franklin Field was the home field of the Eagles.) The crew used their locker room and field. The Lancers, who had a preseason, used Fairmount Park in West Philadelphia during this time. The office scenes were filmed in Delaplaine McDaniel Middle School, During renovations to the school at 1801 Moore street [South Philadelphia, Pa].The carnival scenes were filmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in South Philadelphia at 2329 South Third Street. Some of the street scenes were filmed on location in the city. The remainder of the film was filmed in a former aircraft carrier parts warehouse on Langley Avenue in the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. The crew shared this facility with the floats for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Box office[edit]

In opening weekend the movie made approximately $17,031,122 domestically. As of November 16, 2006, the movie has generated an estimated $57,806,952 domestically.


The film received generally positive reviews from critics. It is certified "fresh" with a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a "generally favorable" rating with a 63/100 on Metacritic.

Home media[edit]

The film released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 19, 2006. It re-released on Blu-ray on March 29, 2011.


  1. ^ "Vince Papale: The Real Italian Stallion". Repertoire Magazine. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "1975 Cincinnati Bengals Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  3. ^ Bill Ordine (August 25, 2006). "Perfectly familiar story". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Vince Papale: Career Stats". Retrieved September 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]