Greatest Olympics Movies of All Time
We looked at the greatest Olympics movies of all time and picked a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winner for both Summer and Winter films. Here’s who is at the top of our podiums.
Cool Runnings (1993)
Cool Runnings excels at every element of the classic team sports movie. Scrappy underdogs trying something the rest of the world sees are ridiculous? It’s a Jamaican Bobsled Team. Enemies learning to work together as a team despite conflict? Just the right amount of drama. A grumpy hard-nosed coach trying for one last shot at glory? John Candy at his best.
Most of all, Cool Runnings captures the part of the Olympics we can all relate to: Watching athletes in a bizarre sport and thinking, “Could I do that?”
Chariots of Fire (1982)
The film’s instantly recognizable scene of runners on the beach is sport pure and pristine, stripped away from the political and personal mess that often comes with the Olympics. Chariots of Fire is how we want sports to be – where hard work and devotion are rewarded, and glory comes to those who deserve it.
The electronic music of Vangelis has become emblematic of both the Olympics and track itself – and played a key role in the Mr. Bean’s portion of the best Opening Ceremony to date.
I, Tonya (2017)
The attack on Nancy Kerrigan created one of the biggest media circuses of the 1990s and one of the craziest stories to come out of the Winter Olympics. I, Tonya accurately captures the sense of the bizarre that enveloped all the events, even if its recitation of the facts is less so. (It never claimed to be a documentary!)
Margot Robbie and Allison Janney give us one of the best portrayals of a mother-daughter relationship this side of Mommy, Dearest.
Munich is based on the true story of the Israeli government’s response to the 1972 Munich massacre in which a terrorist group killed 11 athletes and coaches on the country’s Olympic team. The film was politically controversial but was nominated for Best Picture and was Daniel Craig’s first film after being announced as the new James Bond.
The Cutting Edge (1992)
The Cutting Edge‘s plot must have come from a perfect rom-com pitch: A bratty figure skater teams up with an injured hockey star to compete for the United States in the 1992 Winter Olympics. The odd couple chemistry is a delight, and the film hits just the right campy tone.
Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951)
In 1950 an Associated Press poll named Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th Century. Burt Lancaster starred as the multisport athlete in this film, released a year later. The movie includes one of the International Olympic Committee’s worst decisions, one that they attempted to rectify in 1983.