ONTD Original: The Olympics Go to the Movies


The next Olympic games are the Summer games in Tokyo starting on July 24, 2020 which is 868 days away. If you can’t wait that long for your Olympic fix (& don’t have the Olympic Channel) here are some movies that in some way, shape or form have something to do with an Olympic games.

In 1894 Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which eventually lead, in 1896, to the first modern Games in Athens. The Games of 1900 included women, who were allowed to officially compete for the first time, in only four events. The IOC didn’t start handing out gold, silver & bronze medals until 1904.
Berlin was supposed to have the 1916 Games, but they were cancelled because of World War 1. The 1940 Games were originally awarded to Tokyo, then Helsinki, but were canceled because of WW2. The ‘44 Games were supposed to be in London, but were also canceled because of the war.
The United States, at the insistence of President Carter, with 66 countries total boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow because of the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviets (along with 14 Eastern Bloc countries & Cuba) returned the favor by boycotting the ‘84 games in Los Angeles.


Chariots of Fire (1981) Tells the fact-based story of Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a Christian running for the glory of God & Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a English Jew running to overcome prejudice in the 1924 Paris Games.
It has a theme recognizable because of the many, many times it has been used in foot racing situations in many movies & TV series, sometimes for comedic effect.


Unbroken (2014) This Angelina Jolie produced & directed film tells the story of Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell ) who competed in the ‘36 Berlin Games & during WW2 survived in a liferaft for 47 days after his bomber crashed in the ocean & then went on to a series of POW camps.


Walk, Don’t run (1966) is a comedy set during the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo when the housing shortage forces an English businessman (Cary Grant) & an American Olympic athlete (Jim Hutton) to rent sleeping space from a single woman (Samantha Eggar). This was Cary Grant’s final film role, after which he went into retirement because he felt he was too old to be a believable romantic leading-man.


Apparently distance runner Steve Prefontaine (who raced in the 1972 Games) and the relationship between him and his coach Bill Bowerman, (who later founded Nike) was so interesting, they spawned not one, but two movies. The first Prefontaine (1997) starred Jared Leto in the title role with R. Lee Ermey as his coach.


Without Limits (1998) The second starred Billy Crudup as Prefontaine & Donald Sutherland as Bowerman.

To cash in on the success of the Summer Olympics, a Winter version was conceived with the first being in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
The 1940 Games were to be in Sapporo Japan, but were canceled because of World War 2. The ‘44 Games were scheduled to take place in Italy, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, but were also canceled because of the war.
Until 1992 the Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year, but in in ‘86 the IOC decided to place the Summer and Winter Games on separate four-year cycles alternating even-numbered years, the next Winter Olympics after 1992 was in 1994.

{can’t find a trailer for this}
The Other Side of the Mountain. (1975) Based on the true story of Jill Kinmont (Marilyn Hassett) who, in 1955 was the national champion in slalom & considered to have a good chance at getting a medal at the ‘56 Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. But a near-fatal skiing accident that year just before her 19th birthday left her a quadriplegic. Also starring Beau Bridges.


Downhill Racer (1969) A downhill skier’s (Robert Redford) determination to be a champion at the ‘68 Games in 1968 in Grenoble, France ends up alienate his teammates and coach (Gene Hackman) One of Redford's earliest leading roles.


Miracle (2004) About the USA men’s hockey team, lead by their coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) & their determination to beat the previously unbeatable team from the USSR in the medal round of the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The USA would go on to get the gold by winning over Finland in the Gold medal round.


Cool Runnings (1993) A comedy very loosely based on a true story and by “very loosely” I mean there WAS a 4-man Bobsled team from Jamaica & they DID compete for the first time in the Calgary, Alberta, Canada Games in 1988, but that’s it. One of John Candy’s final film roles.


The Cutting Edge (1992) A romantic comedy about an “ice queen” figure skater (Moria Kelly) whose rich father recruits a washed up hockey player (D.B. Sweeney) to be her partner to go for the Gold at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. The film would eventually spawn three sequels.


Salute (2008) About Peter Norman, the third man on the podium when Tommie Smith & John Carlos gave their Black Power Salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics


Icarus (2017) A filmmaker sets out to learn about doping in sports & stumbles across a much bigger story about Russia’s wide-spread & long term cheating by doping.

In 2009 ESPN started their 30 for 30 series about interesting people & events in sports. They’ve had a few about the Olympics over the years.

{can’t find a trailer for this}
Of Miracles and Men (2015) Thanks to the movie Miracle you know the story of the USA hockey team that beat the USSR in the 1980 Olympics, this film tells the story of the Russians & what happened when they got home.
For a similar documentary that DOES have a trailer see Red Army (2014)


9.79 (2012) About the eight men who ran in the Men's 100 meter final in the ‘88 Games in Seoul. And what happened when the results of that race of upended.


The Price of Gold (2014) The story of the attack, and the people involved, on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan to keep her from competing in the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Sources: Me Youtube- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Wikipedia- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
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