Has it been four years already? Guess it's that time again. Time for some Olympic- themed movies. The 2016 film Eddie The Eagle depicts the story of the 1988 Olympic underdog Ski Jumper, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. The movie isn't about an Olympic champion but rather the heart and determination of one man to make his dreams come true. He struggles against all odds and even his friends and loved ones.
This movie got me thinking about past movies featuring the Olympics as a backdrop, so I decided to compile a list of my favorite Olympic movies.
10. The Animalympics
This 1980 movie is a parody of sports/Olympic films. The whole movie is told in the form of a broadcast through the ZOO television network. All of the contestants are animals and it is quite a funny film.
A 1997 biopic about long distance runner Steve Prefontaine. The movie goes through the story of Prefontaine’s childhood, college career and his stint in the 1972 Munich Olympics. The film ends with his death in 1975 and the implementation of the Armature Sports Act of 1978. The film stars Jared Leto in what is one of his most amazing performances ever. It's a great story and an endearing film.
8. Personal Best
Personal Best s a 1982 movie about female athletes attempting to qualify for the United States track-and-field team in the 1980 Summer Olympics. The movie also focuses on the relationship of two of the women competing. It stars Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn and real life Olympian Patrice Donnelly. It's a very well made movie that takes a more realistic look at the more competitive side of qualifying for the games, especially for women.
A 2008 documentary about Silver medalist Peter Norman and the ramifications of his actions at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics, the movie was created by Matt Norman, Peter’s nephew, as he explores his uncle's life, the events of the 1968 Olympics and the White Australia policy that had been around since 1901. The film also documented the reunion of the three athletes seen in the famous Mexico City picture. In my opinion it is a must watch.
This 2014 film is more of a True Crime film rather than an Olympic one, but it still features the 1988 Summer Olympics. The story is about the meeting of John Eleuthere du Pont and the Schultz brothers and ultimately the death of David Schultz. It's a grim story and a very well done dramatization. It stars a very well received Steve Carell as du Pont, and Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as Mark and Dave Schultz respectively.
5. Chariots of Fire
This 1981 film is about 1924 gold medalist Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. The movie is most famous for its ridiculously awesome score, specifically the title theme. Liddell’s story is that of a devout Christian who is running for the glory of God and Abrahams story is that of a man attempting to overcome anti-Semitism by being the best he can be. This is probably one of the main movies that set the standard for how an Olympic movie should be depicted, as well as how one should be written. The movie stars Ben Cross and Ian Charleson as Abrahams and Liddell. The movie won the 1983 Oscar for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design and of course, Best Original Score. This movie is a staple in the genre of sports movies in general and is one of the best.
4. The Cutting Edge
This 1992 romantic comedy is about a spoiled figure skater who is paired with a retired Hockey player to compete in the doubles competition at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Although the film is a work of fiction it is probably one of the most well known Olympic movies out there. It stars Moria Kelly, who is best known as Nala in the Lion King, and D.B. Sweeney. It’s a cute story about love and determination. This movie was followed up by three made-for-TV movies: The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold, Chasing the Dream and Fire and Ice.
3. Blades of Glory
This is another fictional film about doubles skating and also another parody movie as well. The film tells the story of Chazz Michael Michaels and James MacElroy, two men's single skating rivals who are banned from the sport in the World Winter Sports Games. However the two find a loop hole that allows them to compete in Doubles Skating. The movie pokes fun at the sports genre by using every sports movie cliche they can think of. The movie stars Will Ferrell and Jon Heder with an amazing supporting cast staring Craig T. Nelson, Jenna Fischer, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Romany Malco, Nick Swardson and Luke Wilson. This is one of those movies you can't help but laugh at.
Miracle tells the true story of the 1980 US Hockey team in the Olympics at Lake Placid. During the time, the US and the Soviet Union were already at odds so when the underdog US team achieved victory over the favored Soviet team, the game was called the "miracle on ice." The plot of the movie follows coach Herb Brooks as he puts together a team and a new regiment for their practice. It won the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Sports Film. It Stars Kurt Russell, Patrica Clarkson, Noah Emmerich and Eddie Cahill.
1. Cool Runnings
One of my absolute favorite sports movies, Cool Runnings takes place during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, just like Eddie the Eagle. It’s the fictional story of a real Jamaican Bobsleigh team. What I mean is although the events actually took place, the details were more or less fudged for the movie. For example, none of the characters in the movie are real people. But that doesn't stop this movie from having heart and a colorful plot. This film is another one of those movies that has set the standard for how a sports movie (albeit a comical one) should be told. It stars Leon, John Candy, Doug E. Doug, Rawls D. Lewis and Malik Yoba. This was also the last movie starring John Candy to be released before he died. It would be followed by Wagons East! and Canadian Bacon.
All of all these movies have a special place in my heart because, like Eddie the Eagle, they tell the story of an athlete’s (or group of athletes') determination and spirit. All of these movies are tales that inspire hope of achieving one's goals.
Check out the trailer for Eddie the Eagle below and catch in theaters now!