by Grant Cronin
It’s been hard to escape the Olympics over the past few weeks and who can blame it? The drama, tension, emotion and action from twenty-eight sports across 306 events all bundled up into a neat two week package. It is easy to argue that Rio 2016 hasn’t been a classic after the fallout from the doping scandal and ongoing political issues currently festering in Brazil. On one hand however, there has been entertainment and you just know the Games will inspire many to start on their path to sporting immortality. Now with the main Summer Games starting to wind down and the Paralympic Games not starting until September 7 why not check out these three movies inspired by the Summer (and Winter) Games to keep you occupied in the meantime.
Walt Disney Pictures / Dir: John Turtelaub
If you are of a certain age this 1993 movie is a bonafide classic. I know, because I am one of those certain ages. I grew up absolutely loving this movie about the Jamaican bobsled team and their dream to compete in 1988 Winter Olympics. The story, loosely based on true events, teaches one of the best lessons I’ve seen in film: it doesn’t matter if you’re not the best at what you want to do, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
In one of his final roles before he passed away, John Candy is the heart of the film holding the team together as the disgraced formed athlete-come-coach for the Jamaicans. The movie rises above unoriginal sport tropes and cliches to land a hilarious but inspirational story you all need to watch.
Chariots of Fire
20th Century Fox / Dir: Hugh Hudson
Arguably The Godfather of Olympic-themed movies this is a movie you will know for one piece of music and one scene. But look past the defining opening scene and you are treat to a charming and compelling story of two athletes training for the 1924 Olympic Games. The story of the two athletes, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell played by Ben Cross and the late Ian Charleson respectively, with very different motivations provides the drive for a film that not only looks, but feels like it is straight from 1924, not 1981.
Very well made and impeccably cast, Chariots of Fire was the winner of four Academy Awards in 1982. This film is a winner.
Dreamworks Pictures / Dir: Steven Spielberg
A choice from left-field, I agree. But stay with me. Inspired by a true story, this movie, about the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the subsequent (and alleged) reaction from the Israeli government does not seem like your usual Olympic-fare. But there is a method to my madness here: the Olympics feature, its directed by Steven Spielberg and you need to watch it.
So you’re not going to get your sporting action with Munich, it is a very adult film from Spielberg; more along the lines of Schindler’s List than E.T. What we do get from this movie is an earnest and timely look into the utter complexity of fighting terrorism and the effect it has on the people doing the fighting. Not everything is black and white.
What did you think? What is your favourite Olympics-themed movie? Thanks for reading and comment below!
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