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8 Movies to Celebrate Olympic Glory

Elite British athletes compete for gold medals at the 1924 Olympics in Chariots of Fire.

Photo ©Warner Bros.

Olympic Games offer the world a chance to witness the human spirit challenge its physical limitations. For each and every athlete who takes part, there is a story, regardless of whether they win or lose at their sport. Such tales make great movie scripts, so here are some films that have tried to capture Olympic triumph by showing the competitor’s mettle:

“Several films have tried to capture moments of Olympic triumph by showing the competitor's mettle.”

Chariots of Fire: Overall B+ The 1924 games presented some very personal challenges for two members of the British Olympic team: Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. The pace of this film seems inversely proportional to the speed of these runners, but for the patient, there are many little gems of truth to be gleaned from this Academy Award winning production.

Cool Runnings: Overall A- What would possess a hot and sunny country like Jamaica to put together a bobsled team for the 1988 Winter Olympics?  Follow the tale of four crazy but determined young men who broke the ice in a sport that consisted predominantly of winter climate country competitors. While the movie's light and comedic style will appeal to young audiences, parents may be concerned with some of the language.

Endurance: Overall A Who is Haile Gebrselassie and where did he come from? This Ethiopian champion took the world by surprise at the Atlanta Olympics Games in 1996 . Endurance is a mix of documentary and re-enactment, subtitles and English, which offers a glimpse not only into this amazing runners life, but also into the culture of his impoverished nation. As well, the movie solicits a myriad of emotions, from weeping to cheering, all while instilling a sense of gratitude.

The Flying Scotsman: Overall B For Graeme Obree the road to the Olympics is fraught with challenges. Still, despite health issues and the changing rules of the authorities who seem determined to prevent him from competing, the dogged cyclist persists. And in the process he changes himself and the sport.

Jim Thrope: All American Overall B+ Jim Thrope is a talented athlete who decides to compete in both the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Sweden Summer Games. But those who judge these sporting events don't seem to be able to see beyond the color of this Native American.

Miracle Overall B+ Herb Brooks once had dreams of world glory, but his hopes were dashed when he was cut from the US Olympic Hockey team. However, a second chance presents itself twenty years later when he is hired as the coach to put together an American team to play at the 1980 Olympic games.

Prefontaine: Overall B- The turbulent career of Steve Prefontaine offers an intimate picture of what it must feel like to compete at an international level. From cocky to broken-hearted, the American runner faces the physical and political challenges of his sport. His participation in the 1972 Munich Olympics also captures the terrorist tragedy that touched the whole world. Depicted in "mock-umentary" style, parents should be forewarned that the film also has a few content concerns.

Walk Don't Run Overall B+ While this movie doesn't concentrate on the sporting events, it does look at the challenges of living in a city hosting the Olympics. During the 1964 games, Tokyo is bursting at the seams, so a mature businessman applies to be the roommate of a young woman who was really hoping to find another female to share her rent payments. Although she reluctantly agrees, the situation gets even more awkward when the older gent invites a third party to share the flat -- a handsome American Olympian who has arrived too early for his accommodations.

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