The Olympics are not quite the classic-movie inspiration that baseball and boxing are, but the genre has had its moments, including a Best Picture Oscar winner in “Chariots of Fire.”
Still, the quality in that category is as uneven as any, from the ridiculous - as in “Blades of Glory,” the 2007 comedy starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as a pairs figure skating team - to the sublime of “Chariots” to the extraordinary but controversial “Olympia,” a chronicle of Adolf Hitler’s 1936 Games.
Simply defining what does or does not fit in the genre is murky. We’ll do our best here with this top 10 list of Olympics movies.
10. "Olympia" (1938)
The 2016 Jesse Owens biopic "Race" deserves a mention here, but it pales in comparison to a film that features the real Owens. A ranking of Olympic films would be absurd absent Leni Riefenstahl's controversial, influential, two-part documentary. Many film historians would make it No. 1 on this list. Yes, Adolf Hitler appears in it. More importantly, Owens stars in it.
9. "Unbroken" (2014)
Louie Zamperini ran in the 1936 Olympics, which turned out to be among the least of his life experiences. Angelina Jolie's film recounts his torment surviving a string of challenges during World War II, including as a prisoner of war of the Japanese.
8. "The Cutting Edge" (1992)
Rom-con haters beware. A washed-up hockey player portrayed by D.B. Sweeney and a snooty figure skater portrayed by Moira Kelly initially clash. Eventually the 1992 Olympics come around. Love ensues.
7. "Blades of Glory" (2007)
This Will Ferrell comedy isn't actually about the Olympics, or about anything serious at all, but its portrayal of an all-male figure-skating team has its amusing moments as a parody of inspirational sports flicks.
6. "Munich" (2005)
The Steven Spielberg-directed film is not directly about the 1972 Games in Germany but rather about the Israeli government's secret effort to retaliate against the PLO for the massacre of Israeli athletes during those Games.
5. "Personal Best" (1982)
Mariel Hemingway wowed audiences and critics portraying a pentathlete eyeing the 1980 Games whose friendship with a competitor (portrayed by world-class hurdler Patrice Donnelly) turns to romance.
4. "Without Limits" (1998)
Billy Crudup plays the iconic 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine (pictured) in a film that explores his relationship with Oregon coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) en route to the 1972 Games in Munich.
3. "Cool Runnings" (1993)
This crowd pleaser was about the Jamaican bobsled team's adventures in Calgary in 1988, where things did not go Usain Bolt-smoothly. It was one of John Candy's last film appearances before his death.
2. "Chariots of Fire" (1981)
Few sports fans knew or cared about the 1924 Olympic track meet before this Best Picture winner became an unexpected hit. Vangelis' theme is among the most recognizable in film history.
1. "Miracle" (2004)
Sure, there are corny moments, but reality was plenty corny itself. The story of the 1980 U.S. hockey team is well told, along with a bounty of memorable quotes hockey people still use a dozen years later.