The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics kick off on February 9th, which means it’s time to get in the spirit with some timeless Olympics-themed movies.
There’s been a ton of movies made about Olympic athletes, but there’s a handful that really deserve a gold medal. Keep reading to see our picks for the best Olympic movies of all time, including comedies, true stories, and everything in between.
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Disney’s Cool Runnings is based on the true story of four Jamaican athletes who dream of Olympic gold in bobsledding. They’re driven, witty, and lead by a former champion desperate to redeem himself, but there’s one problem: they’ve never seen snow.
It’s a fun watch anytime, but the movie has extra relevance this year as Jamaica sends their first female bobsled team to compete in Pyeongchang.
Hope Greggory (Melissa Rauch) is a spoiled, foul-mouthed gymnast who enjoys a life of fame in her hometown after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics. She’s forced to take action when a rising young gymnast (Haley Lu Richardson), starts to threaten her spot as the local celebrity.
The 2016 film Race tells the inspiring true story of Jesse Owens (played by Stephan James), an African-American track star who overcame racial prejudices at home, and went on to compete against Adolf Hitler’s Germany in the Olympics.
It also stars Jason Sudeikis as Jesse’s trainer, Larry Snyder, and Jeremy Irons.
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When it comes to incredible true stories about Olympians, Louis “Louie” Zamperini’s might take the cake as the most inspiring. He goes from troubled teen to Olympic runner to military man in WWII, only to have his plane shot down over the pacific. After surviving 47 days at sea, he’s captured and sent to a POW camp.
Unbroken is directed and produced by Angelina Jolie, who does Zamperini’s story justice by making an extremely compelling film (she knows a thing or two about movies).
In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and murdered at the Olympics. Munich (directed by Steven Spielberg) follows the secret retaliation group assigned by the Israeli government to carry out assassinations. However, the group leader, Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana), soon starts to question the morality of his job.
Chariots of Fire follows two olympians from very different backgrounds in 1920s Britain, where class and religion were extremely divided. One is a devout Christian who sees running as a means of worshiping God, and the other is an anti-semite on the quest for fame and glory.
The film’s touching story, intertwined history, and A+ performances earned it an Academy Award for best picture in 1982.
After Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) is cut from the Olympic ski team, he travels to Germany and tries his hand at ski jumping. There he meets a new coach, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a retired ski jumper who spends his days driving a snow plow.
Although Eddie is considered a hopeless underdog by the whole nation, he and Bronson end up winning gold at the 1988 Olympics, as well as the hearts of fans around the world.
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Jared Leto stars as the legendary track star Steve Prefontaine, who’s controversial personality earns him the nickname “James Dean of Track”. His newsworthy character makes him a celebrity, but things change when he’s defeated at the Olympics.
The humbling experience leads him to shed his selfishness and become a sports activist before his tragic death in 1975.
Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly) is a stuck-up figure skater in the search of the perfect skating partner. As a last resort, she teams up with Doug Dorsey (D.B. Sweeney), a charismatic former Olympic hockey player.
Their personalities clash at first, but (not-so-spoiler alert), they end up having chemistry on and off the ice.
The Olympics seem to churn out inspiring, touching true stories of determination, glory, and perseverance, but let’s be honest – they can be a little ridiculous.
Blades of Glory tells the hilarious story of Olympic figure-skating enemies Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), who’s fighting gets them banned from the men’s competition. But after finding a loophole in the rules, they team up, put on some sparkly figure-skating outfits, and hit the ice as partners.
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There’s a reason every P.E. coach plays Miracle for their class on rainy days. The deeply inspiring story follows player-turned coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), who pieces together a team of hot-headed college stars in hopes of defeating the seemingly unbeatable Soviet team at the 1980 Olympic games.
It’s a classic David and Goliath story with plenty of hockey-player brashness, 80s charm, and inspiring teamwork that makes it one of our favorite Olympic movies ever.