Cool Runnings Parent Guide
A lighthearted sports movie about an offbeat team.
Parent Movie Review
Derice Bannock (Leon Robinson) is devastated. After a fellow runner trips and bumps into him, Bannock falls and fails to qualify for the Jamaican track team headed for the 1988 Olympics.
Bannock is not the kind of man to give up at the first setback, however. Deciding he doesn’t wait another four years to achieve his dream of Olympic gold, he concludes that his best option is to switch sports and compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Since he knows he can run fast, he decides that bobsled is his best shot. The only problem? Jamaica is a tropical island and there is no snow anywhere in sight.
Luckily, Bannock is acquainted with Irv Blitzer (John Candy), a disqualified Olympic bobsled medalist who is living on the island and working as a bookie. Blitzer agrees to take on the challenge of grooming a Jamaican bobsled team and they recruit three of Bannock’s friends (played by Doug E Doug, Rawle D Lewis, and Malik Yoba).
Cool Runnings is one of those films that reminds us that truth really is stranger than fiction. I attended the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and clearly recall my incredulity at the idea of Jamaicans competing in a winter event. The four athletes in the movie also share that sense of disbelief, particularly in one of the funniest scenes in the entire film – when the doors to the Calgary airport open and the men feel the bite of a bitterly cold Canadian winter day. Those of us who live in winter climates invariably laugh out loud at their responses.
Although Disney’s retelling of this tale varies significantly from the real story, it’s still lots of fun to watch and is packed full of positive messages for kids. Persistence, team work, and never giving up are the kinds of traits we want our youngsters to see and emulate. Cool Runnings also departs from standard underdog movie tropes and forces us to ask ourselves what winning really looks like. After all, as Blitzer says, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Starring Doug E. Doug, John Candy. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release October 1, 1993. Updated December 5, 2020
Watch the trailer for Cool Runnings
Rating & Content Info
Why is Cool Runnings rated PG? Cool Runnings is rated PG by the MPAA for mild language and brief violence.
The movie only has mild content concerns. There is frequent use of mild profanities and a bar room brawl.
Page last updated December 5, 2020
Cool Runnings Parents' Guide
To learn more bout the real Jamaican Bobsled team.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Kids who want to know more about the four bobsledders can read team member Devon Harris’ account in Yes, I Can! The Story of the Jamaican Bobsled Team. Harris has also written a motivational book entitled Keep on Pushing: Hot Lessons from Cool Runnings.
Older readers will enjoy Cool Runnings and Beyond: The Story of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team, written by Chris Stokes.
Another story of an athlete who switched from track to bobsleigh is told by Vonetta Flowers in her memoir, Running on Ice: The Overcoming Faith of Vonetta Flowers.
The other offbeat competitor who gained prominence in Calgary in 1988 was novice British ski jumper, Eddie Edwards. He reminisces about his experiences in Eddie the Eagle: My Story.
The most recent home video release of Cool Runnings movie is August 23, 1999. Here are some details…
Cool Runnings releases on DVD on August 24, 1999.
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Another film set during the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics is Eddie the Eagle, the true story of Michael Edwards, the first man to represent Great Britain in the Olympic ski jump since 1928.
The classic underdog movie is Rocky, about Rocky Balboa, an Italian enforcer who finds a new career in boxing. But can his street-tough and improvised training give him an edge on champion Apollo Creed? A spinoff series, starting with Creed stars Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creeds son, as he tries to live up to his fathers legacy with the help of the Italian Stallion himself, Rocky Balboa.