“Chariots of Fire,” “Cool Runnings” guaranteed to get you in the Olympic spirit
Take your tea set out of storage. Dust off your bowlers and umbrellas. The 2012 London Olympics are almost upon us.
More than 14,000 athletes from 205 countries will compete in 300 sporting events, ranging from popular spectator sports such as beach volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, swimming and track and field to more obscure activities including table tennis and trampoline. Whether you’re a fencing fiend or an archery aficionado — I’m looking at you, “Hunger Games” fans — you’re sure to find something at the Olympics to hold your interest.
In honor of the London Olympics, which run Friday through August 12, here are five memorable films about the Olympics. Let the Games begin!
“Chariots of Fire” (1981)
Well-acted, splendidly photographed and deeply moving, this stirring drama follows two British track athletes — one, a devout Scottish missionary (Ian Charleson) who runs for the glory of God, and the other a Jewish college student (Ben Cross) determined to overcome prejudice — who compete in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Based on a true story, “Chariots of Fire” won four Academy Awards, including best picture.
“Cool Runnings” (1993)
Did you hear the one about the Jamaican bobsledder? It might sound like a joke, but this zany Disney adventure-comedy about the tropical nation’s first Olympic bobsledding team — and their debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta — is loosely based on a true story. John Candy stars as the team’s fictional coach, a disgraced gold medalist who finds fresh purpose training four Jamaican athletes.
Few legends loom larger in the Pacific Northwest than that of University of Oregon distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup), whose promising career was prematurely cut short mere years after competing in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. (Jared Leto played “Pre” in a rival biopic, 1997′s “Prefontaine.“) For another track tale, see 1983′s “Running Brave,” which stars Robby Benson as Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, the Native American athlete who rose from obscurity to win the 10,000-meter race in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“One Day in September” (1999)
In the early hours of Sept. 5, 1972, members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September sneaked into Munich’s Olympic Village and took 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage. What followed is the subject of this Academy Award-winning documentary, narrated by Michael Douglas and directed by Kevin Macdonald (“State of Play,” “The Last King of Scotland”. (To see Israel’s response to this dark day in Olympics history, watch the movie “Munich.”)
Do you believe in miracles? You will after watching this uplifting drama about one of the most memorable moments in sports history. Kurt Russell stars as American ice hockey coach Herb Brooks, who dared to pit his ragtag squad against the legendary might of the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Watch the much-anticipated opening ceremony of the London Olympics at 7:30 p.m. Friday on NBC.
No related posts.