The 2012 London Olympics are upon us. To get you in the mood for two weeks of athletic competition of the highest order, Movie Fanatic gives you nine films set against the backdrop of the Olympics that are sure to produce inspiration as only the Games can provide.
Two films about the great track star Steve Prefontaine arrived around the same time, and both still manage to tell different sides of an inspiring story.
Steven Spielberg directed the powerful true story of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and the tragedy that hit the Israeli team. They were taken hostage and killed as the world watched on live television. The film is an Olympic triumph as it shows how even as the world is gathered to celebrate what unites us in sport, there are still elements that seek to rip us apart from the inside. Yet, that Olympic torch stays lit.
Cool Runnings is a whimsical tale of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team and their unlikely run to the Calgary Olympic Games. John Candy stars as their coach who believes that the most important factor to winning in bobsledding is a fast start and who better to achieve that than four of the fastest men in the world… even if their homeland never sees snow and ice.
The Cutting Edge
Fans of The Cutting Edge still watch the film to this day with the same amount of excitement as when it was first viewed. DB Sweeney is an Olympic hockey player nearing the end of his career. Moira Kelly is a “golden” ice skater in desperate need of a partner as the Olympics lie around the corner. The actors' chemistry is what makes this film pop… and the Olympic fanfare doesn’t hurt the cheer-worthy movie one bit either.
The crème de la crème of Olympic films, this true story of the “Miracle on Ice” makes grown men cry every single time it’s witnessed. The 1980 USA hockey team did the impossible: Not only did they beat the wickedly more talented Soviet hockey squad that had won a gold medal in the event several Olympics in a row, but also brought together a nation torn apart by economic pain and national pride bruised by the Iranian hostage crisis. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Mariel Hemingway centers a cast of women’s track and field stars battling against each other and trying to avoid the pitfalls of love. The stress of making the U.S. Olympic team only adds to the drama in Personal Best. Of all her films, Hemingway scores a Personal Best in this Olympic tale.
The sequel to the 1944 film that sent Elizabeth Taylor into the stratosphere, International Velvet stars Tatum O’Neal as an Arizona teen sent to live with her relatives in England when her parents die in a car accident. Once in Britain, O’Neal’s character connects with a horse, and the two go all the way to the Olympics.
Chariots of Fire
Not only is Chariots of Fire one of the best sports films in history, it also scored a Best Picture Oscar in 1981. The true story of the 1924 British Olympic track team is inspiring, compelling, dramatic and leaves audiences with the triumph-of-the-spirit sentiment that make Olympic movies so treasured.
Three new featurettes on the Blu-Ray also get you in the mood for Olympic glory: Paris, 1924 -- Birth of the Modern Olympics, David Puttnam: A Cinematic Champion and Hugh Hudson -- Journey to the Gold.
Want inspiration? Check out this Chariots of Fire clip that shows the most unlikely of finishes to the British Olympic trials.