The FW Lists 10 Best Olympic Films, and I’ll Add 5 More
You may notice that at the bottom of the SoJO 104.9 home page is a link to The FW – the funny, the weird, and even the cute come here. You should check it out sometime, but you may have missed this great post about Olympic Movies.
Matthew Roulette hits a home run with list of 10 Best Olympic Films, which you need to look at. The films include a 4-time Oscar winner in ’82 (including Best Picture), a 2005 flick nominated for 5 Academy Awards, an Oscar winning documentary about the ’72 Games, the best performance in the long standing career of Kurt Russell, and a Emmy winning TV film.
Hard to add anything more to Matthew’s impressive list, but I think I have 5 more that take some liberties but do involve the Olympics in some sort. Not all of these 5 films are based on true stories, but they are in the Olympic spirit and entertaining in their own right.
With this in mind, here are my 5 more to add to Matthew’s 10:
1) The Cutting Edge (1992)
The idea of a troubled pairs skater with a bitchy attitude, a hockey player who cannot play anymore, and a shot at the Winter Olympic Games, and you have a movie that produced 2 sequels that do not need mentioning but proves the popularity of this Cult Classic. D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly go toe-pick to toe-pick as Doug and Kate, who both falter at the ’88 Calgary Games in their respective sports. Desperation brings them together, and some sexual tension (it’s PG-13 so not too hot), plus you see Terry O’Quinn before his head was shaved in his Lost success.
2) Without Limits (1998)
There were 2 films that came out about long distance runner Steve Prefontaine in the span of a year. Matthew from The FW rates this film extremely high among the best Olympic films, but many film critics thought this version was better, and earned Donald Sutherland a Golden Globe nominations playing Bill Bowerman (R. Lee Ermey played the same role in Prefontaine) and serious Oscar consideration. Both films featured strong casts, future stars, and a debate of which version of this story was better. Sadly both films did not click in the theaters – the 2 versions combined to take less than $2 Million.
3) Jim Thorpe: All-American (1951)
A story of triumph and tragedy of Native Anerican Jim Thorpe, who after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics is stripped of his medals on a technicality. Thorpe’s life begins to unravel after this, and is an almost forgotten figure. In the illustrious career of Burt Lancaster, this is considered one of most memorable. TCM will occasionally show the film – worth watching one evening if you find it.
4) Running Brave (1983)
I’m a fan of Robbie Benson, and he does not do enough film work. He has succeeded playing the underdog, or the tortured soul in many films (Ode To Billy Joe and One on One come to mind). Benson’s performance as Billy Mills fits this mode perfectly – a man who was orphaned at 12, raised by his grandmother, found solace in the military, and pulled off what many called the greatest upset in Olympic history winning the Gold Medal in the ’64 Games in Tokyo in the 10,000-Meter run. Benson nails the life of Mills, who became the 2nd Native American ever to win a Gold Medal.
5) The Jericho Mile (1979)
May not seem possible – the U.S. Track and Field team is thinking about giving a man in prison doing a life sentence a chance to qualify for the Olympics? This ABC TV Movie seemed crazy, but the fictional story of Rainn Murphy suddenly becomes an inspiration in a place where hope is lost. 3 Emmy Awards for this film, including one for Peter Strauss (who at this time was the king of the TV movie and mini-series).