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21 Olympics-Fueled Films to Go with Your Sochi

February 16, 2014  |  8:03pm
21 Olympics-Fueled Films to Go with Your Sochi

It’s no wonder the Olympic games have so often provided great fodder for filmmakers. In the Olympics, we find inspirational stories about underdogs overcoming challenges, heroes falling from glory (and rising back up), competition igniting romance, and teamwork solidifying lifelong friendships—all within the drama-friendly confines of competition. What follows is a list of 21 films involving the Olympics that have all vied for a spot on the podium. (Alas, not every effort can bring home the gold.) Note, made-for-TV films are excluded, as are films that just have an Olympics-like setting (Blades of Glory, for example).

1. Astérix at the Olympic Games (2008)

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One of two foreign language films on this list, this movie featuring beloved comic book characters Astérix and Obélix is also the only one set in the ancient Olympics. (It also answers the question: “What has Gérard Depardieu be up to lately?”) In the movie, Astérix and Obélix attempt to win the Olympics to help their friend Lovesix marry a princess. Brutus and Julius Caeser have cameos in this silly French film.
Final Results: Did Not Place (DNP), finishing far out of medal consideration

2. Backwards (2012)

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A female rower makes it on the Olympic team as an alternate, but quits the team out of disappointment for not making it further. She rekindles an old flame with an ex, coaches a youth rowing team, and learns to love life again outside her Olympic goals. The plot is predictable and the characters are undeveloped, but it’s not a bad film if you’re looking for something lighthearted.
Final Results: DNP

3. Berlin 36 (2009)

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This German film tells the story of Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann, who was removed from the national team by the ruling Nazi party only two weeks before the 1936 Summer Olympics. (The athlete who replaced her was later revealed to be a man.)
Final Results: Bronze

4. Chariots of Fire (1981)

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Winner of four Academy Awards, including best picture, Chariots of Fire is a clear gold-medal winner. Two young, extremely honorable and committed runners compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics not for themselves. (The Vangelis soundtrack would become the go-to music for any parody involving slo-motion running.)
Final Results: Gold

5. Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937)

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Detective Charlie Chan heads to the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin to track down international spies. This well-made movie stands the test of time and can still entertain a modern audience. But the really cool thing about this movie is that it actually features footage from the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Final Results: DNP

6. Cool Runnings (1993)

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Cool Runnings is based on the true story of disgraced American Olympian ex-bobsledder Irv Blizter. Living in Jamaica, working as a bookie, he is approached by young Jamaican athletes who want to start a Jamaican bobsledding team. This unique story has everything it takes to make a good movie: fallen hero, great underdog, hilarious moments, and an amazing soundtrack.
Final Results: Gold

7. Downhill Racer (1969)

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Two bits of eye candy in this movie: a young Robert Redford and Michael Ritchie’s highly stylized cinematography. Like its protagonist, this film takes the gold.
Final Results: Gold

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