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.