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The Best Films Set in the Olympics

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | February 12, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | February 12, 2010 |

The 2010 Winter Olympics kick off this weekend, which probably doesn’t mean much to most of you except that there won’t be any “The Office” or “30 Rock” for a few weeks. Still, even for the most apathetic among us, the Olympics can often have a strange allure. I never have much interest in it, but usually along the way, a narrative about a particular athlete catches on, and many of us end up watching at least part of the Olympics. If NBC is lucky, some figure skater will try to kneecap a competitor, and the world will start to care.

Anyway, to get you primed, here’s a look at the five best Olympic films of all time. And you know what? There’s really not that many to choose from; in fact, so as not to have to include a Billy Crudup movie, the number one is a bit of a cheat — yes, it’s about the Olympics, but not so much the competition.

5. Cool Runnings: Based on the true story of the First Jamacian bobsled team trying to make it to the Winter Olympics.

4. Cutting Edge: An Injured NHL prospect teams with a figure skater and undergo grueling, rigorous training to finalize a program for U.S. National championships — and from there, the Olympics and a possible gold medal

3. Chariots of Fire: The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. One is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice.

2. Miracle: The true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

1. Munich: Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath (the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and the murder of a German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich), Munich is about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.