Olympic Movies to Get You Excited for Rio

Watch these films to get in the competitive spirit. 

The Price of Gold

Photo by Asylum Entertainment

All of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries make for incredible television. But this one, detailing the 1994 feud and fallout between Olympic figure skating hopefuls Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, has all the juicy drama of reality TV.

Watch: Free (with membership), netflix.com.


Photo by Focus Features

This biopic looks at the life of Track & Field athlete, Jesse Owens. The athlete won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin—during Hitler’s Nazi regime. The film explores racism both in the United States and abroad.

Watch: $6 to rent; $10 to buy, amazon.com.

The Cutting Edge

Photo by MGM

A spoiled figure skater pairs up with a retired hockey player to compete at the 1992 Winter Olympics—it’s the classic romantic comedy trope of opposites attract. There’s a lot of bickering, drama, romance, and an epic final figure-skating routine.

Watch: $15 to buy, itunes.com.


Photo by Universal Pictures

Although the Angelina Jolie-directed film focuses primarily on Olympian Louis Zamperini’s military service in World War II, it also flashes back to him competing in track and field at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Watch: $13 to buy, amazon.com.

Cool Runnings

Photo by Walt Disney Pictures

This hilarious comedy (inspired by a true story) follows the journey of four Jamaican bobsledders as they try to qualify for the Winter Olympics, despite being from a tropical climate.

Watch: $4 to rent; $18 to buy, amazon.com.

Chariots of Fire

Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Even if you haven’t watched this movie, you would probably recognize its famous theme music. The award-winning British classic follows two athletes from different backgrounds: Harold Abrahams, a Jewish man who attended Cambridge, and Eric Liddell, a devout Christian who was a missionary in China, as they compete in the 1924 Olympics.

To buy: $7 to buy, itunes.com.


Photo by Walt Disney Pictures

Coach Herb Brooks shapes a 1980 US Olympic hockey team, full of players with old rivalries, into a major competitor against the Soviet Union. But its masterful exploration of the coach and team member’s emotions not only as athletes, but also as Americans during a time of national unease, make it wholly more than a sports story.

Watch: $3 to rent; $18 to buy, amazon.com.


Photo by Buena Vista Pictures

Jared Leto portrays the legendary long-distance runner in this biopic. The film spans Prefontaine’s career at the University of Oregon, his performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and his untimely death at age 24.

Watch: $4 to rent; $18 to buy, amazon.com.