Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Running Movies and Documentaries

After I posted about my favorite running movie (Saint Ralph) I searched for all the running movies and documentaries I could find and sorted them by date.  I found running movies and running documentaries that I had seen but many more that I had never heard of. (I've seen 35% of the movies on the list).  If there are movies/documentaries that I missed please leave a comment and I'll add them to the post.
  1. Jim Thorpe – All American (1951 Non-Fiction) The triumph and tragedy of Native Anerican Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.
  2. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962 Fiction) From IMDb: A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. See my review here
  3. Marathon Man (1976 Fiction) A paranoid thriller where the main character is a runner. (no…runners aren't paranoid)
  4. Running (1979 Fiction) From IMDb: American marathon runner Michael Andropolis sets his heart on representing his country at the Olympic games. Meanwhile his marriage has fallen apart and his children have no respect for him. He sets out on his task with determination and hope that his success will resolve his personal problems.
  5. Jericho Mile (1979 Fiction) From IMDb: Rain Murphy is a man sentenced to life in prison, choosing to do his time in near-isolation, and engages in distance running when given the opportunity for free-time
  6. Chariots of Fire (1981 Non-Fiction) One of the best running movies. The story of two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics.(from IMDb)
  7. Running Brave (1983 Non-Fiction) American Indian Billy Mills crawls out of the crab bucket to go to the olympics.
  8. The Big Chill (1983 Fiction) While not a movie specifically about running, the main character, Harold, is a runner and sells running shoes, meaning running is spread throughout the movie. The plot is about baby boomer college friends reuniting 15 years later due to a suicide of a friend.
  9. Courage (1984 Fiction)  Three long-distance runners head off to the New Mexico desert for a 72 mile run when a survivalist militia hunts the runners, not to capture them but to kill them.
  10. On the Edge (1986 Fiction) From IMDb:This is a movie by runners, for runners. The director, one of the producers, and many of the actors in the movie are real runners, including many real winners of the Dipsea race that the film is based on. There's something about distance running that those of us that do it understand, and those that don't do it don't understand. This movie does a great job of showing the spiritual side of running, and the magic of pursuing goals. 
  11. Across the Tracks (1990 fiction). Brothers attending different high schools join track which puts them against each other.  If you're a Brad Pitt fan you'll enjoy this movie. 
  12. Forest Gump (1994 Fiction) From Amazon: this unlikely story of a slow-witted but good-hearted man somehow at the center of the pivotal events of the 20th century is a funny and heartwarming epic. Hanks plays the title character, a shy Southern boy in love with his childhood best friend (Robin Wright) who finds that his ability to run fast takes him places. 
  13. Fire on the Track (1995 Non-Fiction) Famous movie about Pre
  14. 100 Years of Olympic Glory (1996 Non-Fiction)
  15. Prefontaine (1997 Non-Fiction) 
  16. Children of Heaven (1997 Fiction N) A foreign film where a poor boy tries to win a pair of shoes so the kids don't need to share shoes anymore
  17. Run Lola Run (1998 Fiction) From IMDb:Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manny. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. Lola has 20 min to raise this amount and meet Manny. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola's run.
  18. Without Limits (1998 Non-Fiction) Prefontaine life
  19. Endurance (1999 Non-Fiction) The gold medal for the men's 10,000-meter race in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is won by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie.
  20. Jim Ryan: America's Greatest Miler (1999 Non-Fiction) From IMDb:A documentary on the life of runner Jim Ryun featuring exclusive footage of Ryun's record setting 3:58.3 mile run at the Kansas state championships.
  21. Run Like A Girl (2000 Non-Fiction) Documentary by Carol Cassidy covers a woman running in a man's world and a young high school cross country athlete.
  22. Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135 (2000 Non-Fiction) From IMDb: Forty runners compete in the most grueling race on earth, the Badwater. The film documents the trials and tribulations of these athletes as they run 135 miles through Death Valley in July and explores the motivations behind this seemingly masochistic contest. A celebration of the perseverance of the human will beyond the limits of the human body.
  23. The Long Run (2001 Non-Fiction) From IMDb: The Comrades Marathon is a 90-k race in South Africa. An aging running coach, Barry, wants to field a winner; he's working with four men from a factory, but when he's fired to make way for a smooth, corporate type, he's at loose ends. Then he sees Christine, a Namibian immigrant who runs to forget her troubles. He offers to coach her and soon she's living at his house, following his diet and training regimen.
  24. Saint Ralph (2004 Fiction) Humorous movie of puberist Ralph as he trains for the Boston Marathon to do a miracle to save his sick mom. This is one of my favorite movies and I highly recommend it.
  25. Marathon (2005 non-fiction N) Based on the true story of Bae Hyeong-jin of South Korea, this film follows austistic Cho-Won, who dreams of running a marathon.
  26. Four Minutes (2005 Non-Fiction) The story of Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile
  27. Land of the Gods: Legends of the Marathon. (2006 Non-Fiction) a beautifully photographed film that captures the stories of a wide range of runners (beginner to elite, old and young) while they train for and run in the Chicago Marathon.
  28. The Runner: Extreme UltraRunner David Horton  (2006 Non-Fiction) From IMDb:Follows extreme ultrarunner David Horton through the desert sun, the high snowbound mountain passes, the pain, the emotion, and his revelation. Join him as he runs more than 40 miles per day for 66 consecutive days in an attempt to set the speed record on the 2,700 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. 
  29. Runner's High (2006 Non-Fiction) From IMDb: When teenagers from one of the nation's toughest neighborhoods in Oakland, California sign up to train for a marathon, they begin the journey of a lifetime. Runners High is an intimate, character driven documentary of struggle, courage, and hope. During a season filled with conflict and possibility, four of these teens bare their dreams, joys, tears and fears. As several stumble under pressure in emotionally charged moments, others realize the journey begins with the power and commitment to accept responsibility for their own futures.
  30. Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky (2007 Non-Fiction) Features ultra-marathoner Anton Krupicka as he trains in the mountains in Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. The documentary reflects Anton's simple approach to life and running.
  31. Spirit of the Marathon (2007 Non-Fiction N) Spirit of the Marathon provides a unique, compelling view into the training and drum-up to the Chicago Marathon. 
  32. Running the Sahara (2007 Non-Fiction N)  From IMDb: Three men attempt to become the first humans to run coast to coast across the Sahara Desert.
  33. Volcanic Sprint  (2007 Non-Fiction)  It's about a completely insane marathon in Africa that climbs more than 10,000 feet up to the top of Mount Cameroon—which by the way, is a live volcano.
  34. Run, Fatboy, Run (2007 Fiction) Five years after jilting his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day, out-of-shape Dennis decides to run a marathon to win her back.
  35. The Long Green Mile (2008 Non-Fiction). The movie documents the York Duke's 2005 Cross Country season as the runners seek their record 25th state title in 50 years.
  36. Run for Your Life (2008 Non-Fiction N) From IMDb: Without one eccentric first-generation Jewish immigrant from Transylvania, the New York City Marathon simply wouldn't exist. Ehrlich's fun, loving, and inspirational tribute to the late Fred Lebow shows how one man's imagination, determination, and love for running created one of the world's most popular sporting events.
  37. Showdown (2008 Non-fiction) Five elite distance runners.  One Dream
  38. Ultra-marathon man (2008 Non-Fiction) Follow Dean Karnazes on his journey to run 50 marathons in 50 days. The best part of the movie is the runner running smack dab into a pole.  
  39. Run Reckless (2008 Non-Fiction) Documentary from two time olympian Anthony Famiglietti
  40. Running for Water (2008 Non-Fiction) 24 hour a day, 95 day relay run around the world, raising money and awareness to bring clean drinking water to the world.
  41. Off and Running (2009 Non-Fiction N) A documentary following a black adopted Jewish teen who's trying to contact her biological mother with a little bit of track action thrown in.
  42. Running for My Father (2009 Non-Fiction) Finishing is more than crossing the line
  43. Atletu (2009 Non-Fiction) The title of this 2009 Ethiopian film translates in English as “The Athlete. " The movie is  about the first African to win a gold medal in the Olympics.
  44. Jim Thorpe: The World's Greatest Athlete (2009 Non-Fiction) 
  45. Athlete (2010 Non-Fiction) Documentary following triathletes. See my review here.
  46. The Robber (2010 non-Fiction) The true story of a marathon runner who robbed banks as a hobby.
  47. Marathon Boy (2010 Non-Fiction) Four year old Budhia has a gift for long distance running that becomes controversial that the young athlete is being exploited.
  48. Bull Runners of Pamplona (2009 Non Fiction N) Documentary that captures the running of the bulls in Spain.
  49. My Run (2011 Non-Fiction N) From IMDb: After tragically losing his wife to breast cancer and struggling to raise three young children on his own, real life super hero and modern day Forrest Gump, Terry Hitchcock seized on an idea. He wanted to accomplish the impossible: run 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days to bring attention to the incredibly difficult lives of single-parent families. 
  50. Unbreakable: The Western States 100 (2011 Non-Fiction) Follow four men as they compete to win one of the greatest ulta-races. 
  51. The East Coast Trail Full Movie (2011 Non-Fiction) Ultrarunner Gary Robbins records his success in breaking a record in Canada
  52. Fast Women (2011 Non-Fiction) Awarded Best Documentary at the Mammoth Film Festival, this film follows four amazing women on their journey as they train, race, juggle family life, and manage the ups and downs of competitive racing.
  53. Why We Run: Tarahumara Runners of Mexico (2011 Non-Fiction) learn about the Tarahumara Tribe of Copper Canyon Mexico.
  54. Miles and Trials: Running Towards 2012 (2011 Non-Fiction) A documentary in the making about six women and their big dreams of making it to the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. 
  55. Hood to Coast (2011 Non-Fiction) Documentary following Hood to Coast teams.
  56. Barefoot Running, The Movie (2011 Non-Fiction) Although this has "The Movie" in the title, it appears to be an informational documentary on how and why barefoot running will help you as a runner.
  57. Running Inside Out (2012 Fiction) N  Inspired by a true story, this christian drama follows a young woman's journey from college to career.  Multiple running scenes. 
  58. Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive (2012 Non-Fiction N) A documentary following Usain including his false start disqualifying him from the finals in Daegu in 2011.  
  59. Starting at the Finish Line: The Coach Buehler Story (2012 Non-Fiction N) Documentary highlight the career of Duke track coast Al Buehler who enriched the lives of students and athletes.
  60. Fast Girls (2012 Fiction) Two female athletes strive to become members of the 2x100 realty team at the World Championship representing Great Britain.
  61. Reverse Runner (2013 Fiction) Austrian comedy about a teenager who dreams of making his mark as a runner who runs backwards. 
  62. Spirit of the Marathon II (2013 Non-Fiction) Seven runners are followed in the street or Rome, Italy as they train for a marathon. Interviews with world class runners Stefano Baldini,Paula Radcliffe and Frank Shorter.
  63. The Runners (2013 non-fiction) This 11 minute british film asks joggers personal questions and the answers are honest. 
  64. Unbroken (December 2014 non-fiction) The amazing story of Louis Zamperini who made the 1936 Olympic team in the 5k as a teenage unknown, and later became a war hero after surviving 47 days at sea. This incredible story, captured in the 2010 book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by best-selling author Laura Hillenbrand.
  65. Running the Edge (2014 non-fiction) Family man and ultra runner, Scott Jaime prepares to run the entire 486 mile Colorado Trail in the Rocky Mountains. 
  66. Ultra- Running Movie (2014 non-fiction) Danish documentary follows Andreas Carlsen as he prepares for Western States and the Sparthalon
  67. Four Minute Mile (2014 fiction) N A teenage tract start and a former coach who each face difficult obstacles in life turn to each other to find comfort, stability and hope.
  68. Transcend (2014 non-fiction) Long distance running allowed Wesley Korir to escape the grinding poverty of Kenya. But after winning multiple American marathons, including taking running's most cherished prize, the Boston Marathon, he risks it all and returns home to help fellow Kenyans create better lives for themselves.
  69. Run Free: The True Story of Cabello Blanco (2015 non-fiction). Chronicles the lift of American ultra running legend Micah True (Caballo Blanco AKA White Horse) and his quest to create an ultra marathon in Mexico's Copper Canyon to promote and preserve Tarahumara running tradition. 
  70. 1 Mile to You (2017 fiction) After a teenager's friends die in an accident he finds running allows him to remember them perfectly. Running, however, also brings him notoriety.  He is caught between keeping the past alive and making new memories in the present.
  71. Tracktown (2017 non-fiction) Plumb Marigold (Alexi Pappas) is a famous but lonely distance runner preparing for the biggest race of her life: The Olympic Trials. But when an injury forces her to take an unexpected day off, Plumb wanders into a bakery where the aimless boy behind the counter catches her eye. In this story that captures the experience of a young Olympic hopeful, many of the actors are actual Olympic athletes -- including co-writer/director and lead actor Pappas.


Johann said...

Awesome list! Many of these are not available in South Africa. I am slowly via the Internet getting hold of the ones I really want. My current favourite is Running on the sun.

Black Knight said...

Great list. Now I want to find the italian versions of the movie I haven't seen.

bookworm said...

You have me humming the theme from "Chariots of Fire".