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Film Studies 101
Features
The 50 Greatest Sports Movies
We rank the very best sports films

Back Page 11 of 50 Next
40

Downhill Racer (1969)

DIRECTOR Michael Ritchie
STARS Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Karl Michael Vogler, Dabney Coleman

While the vast majority of sports movies focus on the easy-to-root-for underdog going against some unbeatable, over-matched Goliath, Downhill Racer focuses instead on a golden-haired golden boy. Furthermore, it's also one of the few to examine what exactly drives someone to be a champion, and asks why winning is actually so important. Making his directorial debut, filmmaker Michael Ritchie puts us right there on the slopes with his quasi-documentary style and plenty of point-of-view shots as the skiers whoosh downhill, while rising star Robert Redford provides yet another magnetic cipher. Plus, Gene Hackman plays the coach, which automatically makes any sports film great.

QUICK POLL
Should Downhill Racer be higher or lower on the list?
Higher
Lower

The Stats
THE SPORT
Downhill Ski Racing
THE PLAYER
Hot talent David Chappellet
DOCUMENTARY?
No, although some of the camerawork makes it feel that way.
DEFINING MOMENT
A telling comment from Chappellet's father who responds to his son's admittance of wanting to be "famous" and "a champion" by simply answering; "World's full of 'em".
KEY TACTICS
Speed and matinee idol looks.
Back Page 11 of 50 Next

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Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.


Your Comments

1 Underdog film
Dodgeball certainly remains one of the classic underdog films, not just for its inspirational value, but its usual comedy, too. And perhaps some of the others could make this list too: http://www.ranker.com/list/best-movies-about-underdogs/ ranker-film Read More

Posted on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 18:51 by Imperion

2 See Also
Karate Kid, The Waterboy, The foot fist way, Hot rod, Caddy Shack, The mighty ducks, coach carter, blades of glory, mean machine, leatherheads, the ringer, nacho libre, kicking and screaming, baseketball, remember the titans, brians song, don king: only in america, cinderella man, million dollar baby, somebody up there likes me, the boxer, knuckle, bend it like beckham, fever pitch, zidane Read More

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 18:42 by bnicholson50

3 RE: What the Hell!?
l largely an excuse for Chaplin to show off his legendary slapstick skills and rubbery physical abilities while poking fun at sports clichés and underdog stories, but it's still more entertaining than most of the films it skewers. ow exactly does Chaplin, in 1915, skewer films that are very very far from being made and poking fun at sports clichés that do not yet exist? Read More

Posted on Wednesday July 25, 2012, 00:42 by Evil_Bob

4 RE: Rocky - third place
BASEketball should totally be in here. Okay it's not a real sport, but it is a sport movie. And it's funny as shit wise a pretty damn solid list. (Rocky 2-4 should be included as well, but maybe that's being a bit greedy...) Read More

Posted on Tuesday July 24, 2012, 13:55 by Whistler


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