Top 7 Olympics Movies
There is a long-held history in the cinema of movies about sport. Then there is the subgenre of films set at or around the Olympic games. Whether it’s the summer or the winter games, the event creates the perfect conditions for a come-from-behind victory or a plucky underdog taking the crown. The size and scale of the event mean there’s no shortage of spectacular stories or curious controversy. Our top 7 Olympics movies represent the range of stories that this event can produce.
7. Blades of Glory (2007) – IMDb Score 6.3
While this is a fictional movie set at the Winter Olympics, the idea of two male figure skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) partnering up is too funny not to mention. The supporting cast is strong and it ticks many of the tropes of a great sporting movie while also having some hilarious moments with the mismatched pair.
6. Miracle (2004) – IMDb Score 7.4
This dramatic retelling of the “Miracle On Ice” from the 1980 Olympics, the moment when Team USA beat the heavily favoured Soviet team. Kurt Russell plays the Team USA coach Herb Brooks in this story of the underdogs taking the gold medal. It is generally regarded as fairly true to real-life events and, if it weren’t for the fact that Brett hadn’t seen it, would probably be higher on the list.
5. Foxcatcher (2014) – IMDb Score 7
This is one Lee hasn’t seen, partly because he can’t take Brick Tamland/Steve Carell seriously in a dramatic role, but the highly acclaimed story which combines Olympic wrestlers and murder mystery had to be on the list. John DuPond (Carell) hires Mark and David Schulz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) to coach prospective champion wrestlers, when David is murdered, the coaching takes a back seat.
4. Cool Runnings (1993) – IMDb Score 7
While we’re not claiming that Cool Runnings is a better movie than Foxcatcher, there’s a little bit more Olympics in it, even though there’s less connection to the actual events. The four main characters don’t share names with the actual Jamaican bobsledders so they can’t claim “based on a true story” too strongly. It’s a classic dose of nostalgia for us, loosely tied to the events of the Jamaican bobsleigh teams that entered the Winter Olympics in 1988.
3. I, Tonya (2017) – IMDb Score 7.5
Another one that Lee hasn’t seen, but he knows he definitely should. A dramatic/mockumentary retelling of the 1994 clash between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. The movie doesn’t claim to be a true retelling of actual events, it uses real names and places. Margot Robbie stars as Tonya and it’s a big step in the path of Robbie to the superstardom that led to Barbie and is highly regarded as a great Olympic-adjacent flick.
2. Munich (2005) – IMDb Score 7.5
There’s very little sports in this movie but the 1972 Black September Terrorist Attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics is one of the most iconic moments in Olympics history. This movie tells the story of Mossad’s assassination plot against the terrorists, stars Eric Bana and is directed by Steven Spielberg. Both Lee and Brett rated it highly, and it was nominated for five Oscar awards.
1. Chariots Of Fire (1981) – IMDb Score 7.1
It’s just iconic. The soundtrack, the beach, the running, the slow-mo. Based on a true story, the film follows two British athletes and their striving for Olympic glory, culminating in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. While the IMDb rating is one of the lowest on the list, we couldn’t get past the iconicness of the film. When you think of films about running, you think of Chariots of Fire first.
Normally we’d have a top five each for this but, surprisingly, there aren’t that many movies set around the Olympics. It’s also the reason we don’t have an honourable mention section this time. But we’re keenly waiting for The Steven Bradbury story so we can add something more and something Aussie to the list.