Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Favorite Running Movies: Biopics

Over a year ago, I started what I thought would be a series of running movie posts. Unfortunately, my ambition was greater than my follow-through, so I never finished the series. I set up three categories: drama/comedy, biopic, and documentaries, but only posted on the biopics. So if you missed them, here they are again.

So, here are my favorite biopic movies:

5. Without Limits

There are going to be two Steve Prefontaine biopics in this list, and if you were on a track or cross country team, you've probably seen both of them more than once. I enjoy both the Prefontaine biopics. Neither were not a big commercial success. "Without Limits" explores Steve Prefontaine's brief running career, highlighted by the 1972 Olympic 5k. Though this film may have better production value than "Prefontaine," the style of the film and parts of Prefontaine's life that they highlight (or completely fictionalized) doesn't entertain me as much as "Prefontaine."

4. Chariots of Fire

This is one of the most well-known running movies out there. "Chariots of Fire" follows British sprinters as they train for and then compete in the Olympics. I enjoy this movie for the most part, but the storyline seems to drag at certain points. The stories of the runners, however, are compelling, and the soundtrack is killer.

3. Running Brave

 Billy Mills is the only American thus far to win a gold medal the Olympic 10k, finishing first at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. This film follows Billy's amazing career, from humble origins, to the University of Kansas, to the Marines, and finally the Olympics. Mills' story is compelling and makes for good drama. The movie also focuses on Billy's love interest, and though it can sometimes be over-dramatic, "Running Brave" is an entertaining film.

2. Prefontaine

This life story of Steve Prefontaine is done as a faux documentary. People from Pre's life are "interviewed" as they narrate the events surrounding Pre's life and death. I prefer Jared Leto's portrayal of Prefontaine, but others will definitely disagree with me.

1. McFarland, U.S.A.

Of all the movies, this one is the most well-produced and best acted. I'm a sucker for underdog stories, and the story of the boys of McFarland beating the odds to become an excellent cross country team is a good one. Kevin Costner does a nice job playing a cross country coach and father in need of redemption. Though they took some liberties with the story, this was still an excellent film.

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