The four words that commemorate the start of the jubilant two week celebration of sportsmanship known as the XXX Olympiad. This year’s Summer Games takes place in London, UK – a vibrant, international melting pot known for cultural phenomenon like The Beatles, James Bond, and William Shakespeare.
Under the guidance of famed British director, Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), tonight’s Opening Ceremonies will feature many surprises and traditions like the hoisting of the host country’s flag, the artistic display of music, song, and dance, the parade of athletes, and most importantly, the lighting of the Olympic flame.
Bringing the finest athletes together from more than 200 nations, the Olympics are always filled with inspirational stories of triumph and tragedy; tales of the underdog overcoming tremendous setbacks to find satisfaction (win or lose) in the heat of competition.
Yet, when it comes to moviemaking, those personal stories are heavily weighted toward the Winter Games. Movies that depict downhill skiing, bobsledding, ice skating, and hockey. And surprisingly, not many that take place around the Summer Games. After all, when was the last time you saw a movie about water polo, fencing, diving, or synchronized swimming? Or even gymnastics, for that matter?
Nevertheless, it is the spirit of sportsmanship that defines the Olympics. Even though Hollywood has not quite adapted to the Summer Games, we decided to light the torch this week with a few of our Favorite Olympic Movies. Movies that capture the very essence of the Olympic spirit.
Cue the Vangelis!
Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”
Mark Sells is a nationally recognized film/entertainment journalist and Critic-at-Large for 100.3 FM The Sound (Los Angeles). In addition to his blog on 303, you can follow The Reel Deal on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and interviews.
Prefontaine/Without Limits (1998) – Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland
The Cutting Edge (1992) – D.B. Sweeney, Moira Kelly
Cool Runnings (1983) – John Candy
Miracle (2004) – Kurt Russell
Chariots of Fire (1981) – Ben Cross
Honorable Mentions: The Jesse Owens Story, One Day in September, Munich, International Velvet, Prefontaine, Personal Best, and Blades of Glory.