Top 10 Movies About the Olympics
The Best Olympic-Related Movies: Chariots of Fire, Miracle, Munich, Foxcatcher, I, Tonya, The Cutting Edge, Without Limits, Blades of Glory, Cool Runnings, Richard Jewell, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Eddie the Eagle, Prefontaine, International Velvet and more
Here is our ranking of the 10 best Olympic-related movies, including the Summer and Winter Games.
1. ‘Chariots of Fire’ (1981)
From the beloved original score to the famed running-on-the-beach scene, Chariots of Fire is a movie that resonates with sports fans and film buffs more than 40 years after the fact. The true story of British athletes Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), who competed in the 1924 Olympic Games for different, important reasons, remains powerful and poignant. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture.
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2. ‘Miracle’ (2004)
When the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s gold-medal run made it to the big screen, it had to be something special. Miracle did not disappoint. Led by Kurt Russell’s stellar portrayal as determined coach Herb Brooks and reinforced by the actual original play-by-play audio in the Olympic game scenes, Miracle has solidified itself as one of the great sports movies of all time. Those who watched the “Miracle on Ice” unfold in real-time in 1980 should feel the chills of that experience while watching this film.
3. ‘Munich’ (2005)
The murders of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, coaches, and staff during the 1972 Summer Games in Munich were the backdrop for this riveting Steven Spielberg-directed film about the Israeli government’s covert retaliation against the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was responsible for the initial attack and hostage crisis that followed during the Games. Highlighted by memorable performances from Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, Munich was nominated for five Academy Awards.
4. ‘Foxcatcher’ (2014)
The story of philanthropist, wrestling fan, and eventual murderer John du Pont is highly intriguing and severely disturbing. The movie details du Pont’s interaction and obsession with Olympic-champion wrestlers Dave and Mark Schultz at his infamous Foxcatcher wrestling training facility in Pennsylvania. Steve Carell is brilliant as du Pont, while Mark Ruffalo is equally good as Dave Schultz. Channing Tatum held his own in portraying Dave Schultz. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards.
5. ‘I, Tonya’ (2017)
The true story of Tonya Harding’s rise to international figure skating prominence and swift fall to late-night talk show joke was made for Hollywood. This particular film, which earned star Margot Robbie an Academy Award nomination and Allison Janney a Best Supporting Actress Oscar win as Harding’s mother, almost makes light of the entire plot in a tastefully entertaining fashion. The black comedy doesn’t claim to be a straightforward biopic but offers various viewpoints regarding Harding’s involvement in the attack of American skating rival Nancy Kerrigan.
6. ‘The Cutting Edge’ (1992)
Call it a cult classic or guilty pleasure, but The Cutting Edge has become one of the more popular romantic comedies over the last 30 years. A former standout hockey player (D. B. Sweeney) teams with a prima donna figure skater (Moira Kelly) for a shot at Olympic pairs skating gold while trying to avoid their obvious attraction to each other.
7. ‘Without Limits’ (1998)
This is the other film about the life of the aforementioned Steve Prefontaine. It stars Billy Crudup in the main role and received more critical acclaim than 1997’s Prefontaine. Crudup is completely genuine as the distance legend, while the movie also digs deeper into the person that Steve Prefontaine was — showing the audience that there was more to the person than just running. He had a drive for life, which was tragically cut short at age 24 from a car accident in May 1975. The film benefitted from Oscar-winner Robert Towne directing the film and Tom Cruise serving as a producer on the project
8. ‘Blades of Glory’ (2007)
The premise of guys paired together to win Olympic figure skating gold is not the norm, even in today’s accepting world. In a fictional film universe, it’s a gold-medal-winning concept, especially when funnyman Will Ferrell and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) are the principal participants. Throw in splendid supporting performances from Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, and Blades of Glory might be the best Olympic-related comedy of all time.
9. ‘Cool Runnings’ (1993)
The story of the Jamaican bobsled team that improbably debuted at the 1988 Winter Games remains one of the best stories in Olympic history. This comedy starred the late, great John Candy as the team’s coach, and it’s loosely based on that story while adding the typical Hollywood punch that made it as feel-good a movie as it was a real-life story.
10. ‘Richard Jewell’ (2019)
This Clint Eastwood-directed, Academy Award-nominated drama follows the tumultuous life of security guard Richard Jewell after he is wrongly deemed the primary suspect of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Paul Walter Hauser delivers a breakout performance in the lead role. The great Kathy Bates as Jewell’s devoted mother and Olivia Wilde, brilliantly portraying bulldog journalist Kathy Scruggs, shine in supporting roles.
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