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
  • Tokyo Olympiad

    Episode 1

    Directed by Kon Ichikawa • 1965 • Japan

    A spectacle of magnificent proportions and remarkable intimacy, Kon Ichikawa’s TOKYO OLYMPIAD remains one of the greatest films ever made about sports. Supervising a vast team of technicians using scores of cameras, Ichikawa captured the 1964 Summer Games ...

  • Sensation of the Century

    Episode 2

    Directed by Taguchi Suketaro and Nobumasa Kawamoto • 1966 • Japan

    The Japanese Organizing Committee responded frostily to Kon Ichikawa's TOKYO OLYMPIAD and decided a less 'frivolous' survey of the Tokyo Games should be made from the footage Ichikawa shot. More solemn, nationalistic, and orthodox...

  • 13 Days in France

    Episode 3

    Directed by Claude Lelouch and François Reichenbach • 1968 • France

    13 DAYS IN FRANCE, a personal project for French filmmaker Claude Lelouch, approaches the X Olympic Winter Games in a radical way, ignoring certain disciplines and dwelling on others. This impressionistic kaleidoscope of a movie...

  • Snows of Grenoble

    Episode 4

    Directed by Jacques Ertaud and Jean-Jacques Languepin • 1968 • France

    SNOWS OF GRENOBLE, which covers the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble, is wide-ranging in its coverage, though it strives to capture the kinetic energy of the Games rather than attempting a detailed analysis, making viewer...

  • The Olympics in Mexico

    Episode 5

    Directed by Alberto Isaac • 1969 • Mexico

    Mexican former Olympic swimmer Alberto Isaac's record of the Mexico City Olympic Games is a celebration not of national achievement (very few national anthems are heard during the film), but of individual heroism. This thoughtful and comprehensive film b...

  • Sapporo Winter Olympics

    Episode 6

    Directed by Masahiro Shinoda • 1972 • Japan

    Masahiro Shinoda's interest in sports and experience as an athlete, he was a long-distance runner, made him an ideal choice to direct the official film of the XI Olympic Winter Games Sapporo 1972. His work is marked by its gravitas, and this can be fel...

  • Visions of Eight

    Episode 7

    Directed by Miloš Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yuri Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, and Mai Zetterling • 1973 • United States

    VISIONS OF EIGHT, David Wolper's ambitious production devoted to the Games of the XX Olympiad Munich 1972, comprises eight segments by a...

  • White Rock

    Episode 8

    Directed by Tony Maylam • 1977 • United Kingdom

    British documentary film-maker and producer Tony Maylam invigorated the sports documentary genre with WHITE ROCK, an idiosyncratic and utterly engaging account of the XII Olympic Winter Games Innsbruck 1976. He did so by placing music front and cen...

  • Games of the XXI Olympiad

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jean-Claude Labrecque, Jean Beaudin, Marcel Carrière, and Georges Dufaux • 1977 • Canada

    Director Jean-Claude Labrecque elected to focus on individual athletes, both in competition and out, instead of sticking to the rigidly in place Olympics program. Labrecque and his co-directors (...

  • Olympic Spirit

    Episode 10

    Directed by Drummond Challis and Tony Maylam • 1980 • United Kingdom

    For their short film on the XIII Olympic Winter Games Lake Placid 1980, directors Drummond Challis and Tony Maylam assumed the challenge of making a documentary without any offscreen commentary, relying on music to sustain the ...

  • O Sport, You Are Peace!

    Episode 11

    Directed by Yuri Ozerov • 1981 • Russian Federation

    O SPORT, YOU ARE PEACE! is the official film of the Games of the XXII Olympiad Moscow 1980, Games that were dogged by a boycott on the part of the United States because of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. Undeterred, Moscow devo...

  • A Turning Point

    Episode 12

    Directed by Kim Takal • 1984 • United States

    The abiding strength of this documentary, the official film of the XIV Olympic Winter Games Sarajevo 1984, lies in its respect for the individual athletes, interviewing them before or after an event.

  • 16 Days of Glory

    Episode 13

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 1986 • United States

    Director Bud Greenspan, whose career covering sporting events had begun some twenty years earlier, seized the opportunity to helm the official film of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with such gusto that he would become the IOC's go-to person for ...

  • Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory

    Episode 14

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 1989 • United States

    Bud Greenspan was fascinated by the ways in which athletes confront victory and defeat, and this runs like a bass line through the various interviews he conducted for his tribute to the XV Olympic Winter Games, CALGARY '88: 16 DAYS OF GLORY. Gre...

  • Seoul 1988

    Episode 15

    Directed by Lee Kwang-soo • 1989 • South Korea

    Of all the films that the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Corporation created for the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, Lee Kwang-soo's SEOUL 1988 is the most comprehensive. The film devotes much footage to sports dear to Koreans but regarded as minor in ...

  • Hand in Hand

    Episode 16

    Directed by Im Kwon-taek • 1989 • South Korea

    Director Im Kwon-taek roots his idiosyncratic Olympic documentary, HAND IN HAND, in the past, with opening shots of the barbed wire dividing South from North Korea and an Australian veteran recalling the conflict of the early fifties. Im brings a tru...

  • Beyond All Barriers

    Episode 17

    Directed by Lee Ji-won • 1989 • South Korea

    BEYOND ALL BARRIERS is another feature-length record of the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. Made by Lee Ji-won, it boasts a superb color palette and depicts the Opening Ceremony for more than fifty minutes in terms that are visually resplendent.

  • One Light, One World

    Episode 18

    Directed by Joe Jay Jalbert and R. Douglas Copsey • 1992 • United States

    For the XVI Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992, sports documentarists Joe Jay Jalbert and R. Douglas Copsey were assigned to make the official chronicle. The resulting film, ONE LIGHT, ONE WORLD compensates for its rough...

  • Marathon

    Episode 19

    Directed by Carlos Saura • 1993 • Spain

    Carlos Saura's film of the Games of the XXV Olympiad Barcelona 1992 brings a visual flair and humanism that paid excellent tribute to the Games and to the Catalan capital. The title event, the men's marathon, was chosen both as symbol and leitmotif, in par...

  • Lillehammer ’94: 16 Days of Glory

    Episode 20

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 1994 • United States

    Since television coverage of the Olympic Games had almost reached saturation point, Bud Greenspan made LILLEHAMMER '94: 16 DAYS OF GLORY to dwell more exclusively on personalities and champions rather than events.

  • Atlanta's Olympic Glory

    Episode 21

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 1997 • United States

    A mere twelve years after Los Angeles in 1984, the Olympic Games returned to the United States for the Games of the XXVI Olympiad. Bud Greenspan's Cappy Productions was commissioned to make the film, titled ATLANTA'S OLYMPIC GLORY, the fourth of t...

  • Nagano ’98 Olympics: Stories of Honor and Glory

    Episode 22

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 1998 • United States

    In his documentary, NAGANO '98 OLYMPICS: STORIES OF HONOR AND GLORY, Bud Greenspan and his crew lay considerable emphasis, as always, on talking with the competitors. Greenspan's method does lead to some repetition, but there is something so engag...

  • Olympic Glory

    Episode 23

    Directed by Kieth Merrill • 1999 • United States

    OLYMPIC GLORY, produced by the experienced Hollywood enterprise the Kennedy/Marshall Company and directed by seasoned documentarist Kieth Merrill, was made in large format for release on the IMAX. The crisp photography and engrossing sound combine...

  • Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory

    Episode 24

    Directed by Bud Greenspan • 2001 • United States

    Bud Greenspan's film on the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney profiles Cathy Freeman, who surged to glory before her home crowd in the 400 meters, as well as Leontien van Moorsel, the Dutch cyclist who had suffered from anorexia and won the go...