Family Movies About the Olympics

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 8:00 am

Hurray!  The summer Olympics start this week.  Here are some movies to help kids get ready.

The First Olympics: Athens 1896, one of my very favorite sports movies ever, is a made-for-TV miniseries about the first modern-day Olympics. We take the Olympics as a given now, but there were 1500 years between the time of the ancient games and the establishment of the modern Olympics with countries from all over the world putting aside their political differences for athletic competition in the spirit of good sportsmanship and teamwork. Showing the origins of everything from the starting position for sprinters to the impulsive selection of the Star Spangled Banner as the U.S. national anthem, the story is filled with drama, wit, and unforgettable characters, sumptuously filmed and beautifully performed by a sensational cast that includes then-unknown David Caruso of “CSI,” one-time Bond Girl Honor Blackman, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, and Louis Jourdan. It was a Writer’s Guild and Casting Society award winner when it was first released. It is a great introduction to the Olympics, a thrilling and inspiring story, and outstanding family entertainment.

Chariots of Fire This Best Picture Oscar winner is a classic, focusing on two runners in the first Olympics following WWI, both men of deep faith and integrity.  For more about the real life of Eric Liddell, see this.

Stick It This underrated gem is a stylish, smart, and all-around terrific story about gymnastics and when and when not to follow the rules.

American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars One of my favorite entries in one of my favorite series — I love the way this film deals frankly with issues like disabilities (learning and physical), competition, and friendship.

Prefontaine “Modern Family’s” Ed O’Neill and Jared Leto star in the story of the Olympic runner.

Race Jesse Owens thrilled the world and defied Hitler in the 1934 Olympics. This is an outstanding film, exciting, thoughtful, and beautifully performed.

“16 Days of Glory” Bud Greenspan is the master of the Olympics documentary and this one about the 1984 summer Olympics includes all-time all-stars Mary Lou Retton and Greg Louganis.


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