As the Summer Games of the 2021 Olympiad are underway in Tokyo, Japan, we have listed a few instances when the sporting event was been featured in films. So in honour of the current event going on these are 10 of the most moving and inspirational movies that you can find which you can’t get enough of the Olympic spirit.
1. Olympia 1 – Festival of Nations / Olympia 2 – Festival of Beauty (1938)
Authorized to make a publicity movie about the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany, director Leni Riefenstahl produced a celebration of the human form.
This first half of her two-part movie begins with a well-known introduction that correlates modern Olympians to traditional Greek heroes, then goes on to give thrilling in-the-moment content of some of the games’ most memorable moments, containing African-American athlete Jesse Owens winning a then-unprecedented four gold medals.
2. Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
This impressionistic portrayal of the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics gives as much attention to the fans and employees as it does to the actual energetic events. Highlights comprise an epic pole-vaulting contest between West Germany and America and the final marathon race through Tokyo’s streets. Two athletes are marked: Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, who earns his second gold medal, and runner Ahamed Isa from Chad, symbolizing a country younger than he is.
3. Downhill Racer (1969)
Robert Redford features as a hot-headed downhill skier who enters Europe to enrol in the US team after a wound to a teammate
Encouraged entirely by personal honour, he disputes with his fellow skiers as well as Gene Hackman’s no-nonsense coach. As the Winter Olympics arrives closer, he must get in line or relinquish his place on the team.
4. Chariots of Fire (1981)
It can be agreed that this is the most popular movie created about the Olympic games. Hugh Hudson’s Academy Award-winning epic revolves around the successes of two British track athletes as they organize themselves for and compete in the 1924 summer games in Paris.
The film was developed and produced by David Puttnam, composed by Colin Welland, and directed by Hugh Hudson. Ben Cross and Ian Charleson featured as Abrahams and Liddell, along with Nigel Havers, Ian Holm, Lindsay Anderson, John Gielgud, Cheryl Campbell, and Alice Krige in assisting roles. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, comprising Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. It is ranked 19th in the British Film Institute’s list of Top 100 British films.
5. Cool Runnings (1993)
John Candy features as the unwilling coach of Jamaica’s first four-man bobsleigh team combined with frustrated track athletes who weakened to secure a spot in the summer Olympiad.
A hare-brained technique is planned and somehow executed, as they survive to qualify for the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary.
Much humour is noticed from our heroes’ ignorance with Canada’s wintry climes, but the irresistible sense of goodwill prevails, even if their successes at the competition are greatly inflated.
6. Fists of Freedom (1999)
Black-power compliments by John Carlos and Tommie Smith delimit the Olympics during 1968’s worldwide radicalism.
Documentary following the story during and after the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. Staring interviews with athletes, containing John Carlos, Tommie Smith and George Foreman, activist Dr Harry Edwards, journalists and archival footage of the Games and the fallout after the put forward fisted gloves by Carlos and Smith.
7. One Day in September (1999)
“One Day in September” is a movie where real lives are at stake and is based on a true story. They were billed as the “Olympics of Peace and Joy” but was then known to be the Olympics of terror. In 1972, a radical Palestinian group called Black September abducted 11 Israeli athletes hostage in the Olympic village in Munich, while the world looked on, incredulous
Kevin MacDonald’s thrilling documentary rightly won the Academy Award, while the tragic event itself motivated the covert Mossad procedures detailed in Steven Spielberg’s chilling 2005 film Munich.
8. Foxcatcher (2014)
Enraged by jealousy, loneliness, and privilege, Du Pont who plays the exceptional role of Steve Carell hires the sibling champions Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo to tutor his private wrestling team for future Olympic glory.
What unfolds is a stunning dissection of what propels individuals towards victory and success, and the disastrous power that comes with it. Miller was justly awarded the best director prize at Cannes for his deeply uneasy work.
9. Race (2016)
In this movie, Stephan James portrays the role of a 22-year-old athlete, who encountered racial discrimination at home even before he won a place on the US Olympics team.
The film revolves around the political thoughts in the run-up to the games, how the United States deemed striking them in protest at Nazi Germany’s racism towards the black and Jewish athletes, and how the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People manipulated Owens for him not to compete.
10. I, Tonya (2017)
Margot Robbie is extraordinary in this creative pseudo-documentary that throws into question every facet of her roller-coaster working-class existence, from her abusive mother played by an Oscar-winning Allison Janney to her live-wire husband played by Sebastian Stan, to allegations that she planned an attack on her skating opponent Nancy Kerrigan.
A biting irony on tabloid sensationalism and our insatiable ambition to destroy our heroes, I, Tonya has zero to do with the Olympic spirit, yet remains no less entertaining.