100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012

100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012

54 Episodes

Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 YEARS OF OLYMPIC FILMS: 1912–2012 is the culmination of a massive, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games’ first women’s marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahl’s OLYMPIA and Kon Ichikawa’s TOKYO OLYMPIAD, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.

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100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012
  • The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912

    Episode 1

    Directed by Adrian Wood • 2016 • Sweden

    Restored by the IOC and in 2016 edited into an absorbing chronicle, THE GAMES OF THE V OLYMPIAD STOCKHOLM, 1912 presents not just individual events but also the ceremonial ones before, during, and after the Games, which offer a vivid impression of Swedish ...

  • The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924

    Episode 2

    Directed by Jean de Rovera • 1924 • France

    THE OLYMPIC GAMES HELD AT CHAMONIX IN 1924 chronicles the first full-scale Olympic Winter Games. In the film, the atmosphere is down to earth and relaxed, communicating the exuberance of winter sports.

  • The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jean de Rovera • 1924 • France

    A short tribute to the origins of the Olympic Games shot in 1924. This film is a brief series of tableaux, with athletes posing against a dark stage background and performing the ritual movements of the traditional sports and events.

  • The Olympic Games in Paris 1924

    Episode 4

    Directed by Jean de Rovera • 1924 • France

    THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN PARIS, 1924 provides exhaustive and engrossing coverage of all the main sports on view. The exploits of Johnny Weissmuller (USA) and Paavo Nurmi (Finland) in Paris turned them into international sports heroes, and the coverage of th...

  • The White Stadium

    Episode 5

    Directed by Arnold Fanck and Othmar Gurtner • 1928 • Switzerland

    THE WHITE STADIUM (Das Weisse Stadion), the film of the II Olympic Winter Games St. Moritz 1928 in Switzerland, holds particular interest because it was directed by Arnold Fanck, a geologist turned filmmaker known for his sumptuous...

  • The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam

    Episode 6

    1928 • Italy

    Made by Istituto Luce, the Italian film company controlled by Benito Mussolini since 1925, THE IX OLYMPIAD IN AMSTERDAM may, understandably, highlight Italian participants, but it is the first Olympic documentary that describes the techniques of certain events with useful particulars

  • The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928

    Episode 7

    Directed by Wilhelm Prager and Jules Perel • 1928 • Netherlands

    Though shorter than the Italian film covering the same 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the intimacy on display in this Dutch film is more rewarding and less perfunctory.

  • Youth of the World

    Episode 8

    Directed by Carl Junghans • 1936 • Germany

    This film, like Leni Riefenstahl's infamous OLYMPIA, was produced by Adolf Hitler's Reichsfilmkammer. YOUTH OF THE WORLD, a celebration of the 1936 Winter Games, may forgo narration, but its visuals throb with kinetic energy and visual poetry.

  • Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations

    Episode 9

    Directed by Leni Riefenstahl • 1938 • Germany

    More has been written about Leni Riefenstahl's OLYMPIA than about any other sports documentary in history. Starting with a long and lyrical overture, evoking the origins of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, Riefenstahl covers twenty-one athletic e...

  • Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty

    Episode 10

    Directed by Leni Riefenstahl • 1938 • Germany

    More has been written about Leni Riefenstahl's OLYMPIA than about any other sports documentary in history. In part two of OLYMPIA, the cameras leave the main stadium and venture into the many halls and fields deployed for such sports as fencing, polo...

  • Fight Without Hate

    Episode 11

    Directed by André Michel • 1948 • France

    Twelve years had passed since the last edition of the Olympic Games when nations finally came together again, in the wake of World War II, to carry on the Olympic tradition at the V Olympic Winter Games St. Moritz 1948. The tone of André Michel's FIGHT WI...

  • XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport

    Episode 12

    Directed by Castleton Knight • 1948 • United Kingdom

    The official film of the Games of the XIV Olympiad London 1948 is the first in color and seeks to comprise both the winter and summer events from that year. The coverage of the sports cannot be faulted, as cinematographer Stanley Sayer marshal...

  • The VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo 1952

    Episode 13

    Directed by Tancred Ibsen • 1952 • Norway

    Director Tancred Ibsen's penchant for depicting rustic life shines through in the bucolic scenes at the start of THE VI OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES, OSLO 1952. In addition to the exciting scenes of competition (Winter sports are followed with almost rabid fervo...

  • Where the World Meets

    Episode 14

    Directed by Hannu Leminen • 1952 • Finland

    Part one of Director Hannu Leminen's account of the Olympic Games Helsinki 1952, with its fierce patriotism and its sense of a nation welcoming the world, is redolent of the period, coming as it did only twelve years after the end of Finland's war with ...

  • Gold and Glory

    Episode 15

    Directed by Hannu Leminen • 1953 • Finland

    Part two of Director Hannu Leminen's account of the Olympic Games Helsinki 1952, with its fierce patriotism and its sense of a nation welcoming the world, is redolent of the period, coming as it did only twelve years after the end of Finland's war with ...

  • Memories of the Olympic Summer of 1952

    Episode 16

    1954 • Finland

    Given that the weather during the Olympic Summer Games in 1952 was miserable, with frequent bouts of rain, this fifty-minute color film is able to capture something more of the enthusiastic mood of the Finnish crowds, by comparison with the black and white of WHERE THE WORLD MEETS...

  • White Vertigo

    Episode 17

    Directed by Giorgio Ferroni • 1956 • Italy

    WHITE VERTIGO is one of the unexpected jewels of this Olympic films collection. The cinematography is by none other than Aldo Scavarda, who would film L'AVVENTURA for Michelangelo Antonioni three and a half years later. Director Giorgio Ferroni knows ho...

  • Olympic Games, 1956

    Episode 18

    Directed by Peter Whitchurch • 1956 • Australia

    OLYMPIC GAMES, 1956, directed by the documentarist Peter Whitchurch, was commissioned by the Organizing Committee for these Olympic Games. Historically, the film points to some encouraging situations in international affairs, with Hungary taking pa...

  • The Melbourne Rendez-vous

    Episode 19

    Directed by René Lucot • 1957 • France

    Of the two feature endeavors made around the Games of the XVI Olympiad in 1956, THE MELBOURNE RENDEZ-VOUS, directed by René Lucot, excels. Its tone is more observant and more inquiring than that of most Olympic films. Shooting in Agfacolor, Lucot and his cr...

  • Alain Mimoun

    Episode 20

    Directed by Louis Gueguen • 1959 • France

    ALAIN MIMOUN, a short film made about the titular long-distance runner, is a jewel of a documentary, enhanced by a wonderfully laid-back jazz score by Alain Goraguer.

  • The Horse in Focus

    Episode 21

    1956 • Sweden

    This short film covers the equestrian segment of the 1956 Summer Olympics.

  • People, Hopes, Medals

    Episode 22

    Directed by Heribert Meisel • 1960 • West Germany

    This documentary of the VIII Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley 1960, directed by Austrian sports journalist and sometime screen actor Heribert Meisel, is the first known visual record of an edition of the Winter Games in the United States. A West...

  • The Grand Olympics

    Episode 23

    Directed by Romolo Marcellini • 1961 • Italy

    THE GRAND OLYMPICS, the first Olympic film to be nominated for an Academy Award, celebrates the architecture and atmosphere of Rome while utilizing telephoto lenses to bring the action closer to the audience than ever before.

  • IX Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1964

    Episode 24

    Directed by Theo Hörmann • 1964 • Austria

    Joy and good humor pervades Theo Hörmann's documentary record of the 1964 Games in Austria. Shot in Agfacolor, it nurtures a folkloric image of Tyrol, with its quaint mountain farms and obligatory yodeling. Hörmann deploys shots from a helicopter to pres...