Though it’s nearly a year since the UK was gripped by Olympic fever, the spirit of 2012 is far from dead and buried. Aiming to secure a £50,000 backing on Kickstarter to take the short film to Cannes, Writer-Director Alexandra Boyd and Producer Jon Pettigrew are looking to transport the story of record-breaking Olympian, Harry Mallin, from the streets of the East End to the Silver Screen. To celebrate The Wilderness project, we’re taking a look at some other Olympics dreams on our cinematic screens.
Cool Runnings (1993)
Following the (nearly true) story of four ambitious athletes, a disgraced coach and a lucky egg, Cool Runnings is the tale of the first Jamaican bobsled team, who debuted at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Featuring the comedic talents of Leon, Doug E. Doug and the late, great John Candy, Cool Runnings may well be the most fictitious on this list, but is definitely the most magical. Guaranteed to make you feel da rhythm…
Keeping with the icy theme, Miracle is the true story of the USA Men’s Hockey Team at the 1980 Winter Olympics, and their journey to win the Gold against all odds (especially those damn Russians). Told from the perspective of Head Coach, Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), Miracle is among the all-time inspirational greats, chronicling the rise and rise of a team that needed to change to beat the best, and the man who helped them do it!
Right, it’s all been a bit too inspirational so far, so let’s bring in a harrowing title set against the backdrop of the greatest games the World has ever seen. Prefontaine tells the tragic story of Steve Prefontaine (pre teen-rocker era Jared Leto), a promising young long-distance runner, who sadly never lived up to his potential, dying in a freak accident in the lead up to the 1976 Olympics. The film highlights the financial and psychological difficulties Olympic hopefuls faced while in training, and definitely leads with the message ‘your time is now’.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Telling the classic story of triumph over adversity, Hugh Hudson’s sprawling epic draws on the experiences of Jewish athlete Harold Abrahams and his fight against discrimination, and Eric Lidell, a devout Christian whose passion conflicts with his faith. Sporting (LOL) a theme tune so famous, Mr Bean played it at the 2012 Olympics, Chariots of Fire surely bags a Gold Medal for Olympic-set Cinema.
The Wilderness (2014)
Though not yet in print, we’ve had a read through of the script and can sure as hell vouch for The Wilderness to be one of the best Olympic films in recent history. Set against the backdrop of pre- and post-World War One London, The Wilderness tells the story of Harry Mallin, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist for Boxing, and the Eton Manor Boys Club, the gym that trained him. Set practically foot for foot on the grounds for the 2012 Olympics, The Wilderness shows just what a difference a century can make, as well as the similarities it can leave unchanged.
Now looking to secure funding to take their vision to Cannes, The Wilderness Company need all the help they can get to transport their story to the silver screen. To find out more about The Wilderness, head on over to their Kickstarter page by clicking HERE! They won’t get the Gold without you!
So there you have it – four great Olympic movies that went for Gold, and one trying to go the distance. Just watch this space!