Skip To Content
  • Sponsoredro badge

14 Olympic-Themed Movies Anyone Excited For Rio Should Check Out

From triumphant tales to hilarious parodies, we've got you covered.

1. Chariots of Fire (1981)

Twentieth Century Fox

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Chariots of Fire tells the story of two dedicated young athletes training for the 1924 Paris Olympics in the religiously divided United Kingdom. The inspiring film is based on the real-life stories of runners Eric Liddell, a Scottish Christian whose faith is the driving force behind his quest, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew running to rise above anti-Semitism. Also, it's where that song that is used in pretty much every slow-motion parody sequence came from.

2. Miracle (2004)

Walt Disney Pictures

Another rousing tale based on the true story of the 1980 USA Olympic men's ice hockey team and the unbelievable journey that led them to (spoiler alert) triumph over the unstoppable Soviet team in the final match, which became known as the "Miracle on Ice." Required viewing for anyone who gets even a bit choked up at hearing "The Star-Spangled Banner" every time Team USA wins a gold medal.

3. Cool Runnings (1993)

Walt Disney Pictures

This feel-good comedy has become a classic, and no list of Olympic-themed movies would be complete without this tale of four Jamaican athletes who dream of competing in the Winter Olympics as the first Jamaican bobsled team — despite the fact that they have never even seen snow. Believe it or not, this movie was also based on a true story, although some changes were made to enhance the comedy and drama in the storytelling.

4. The Cutting Edge (1992)


Hockey! Figure skating! An unlikely love story! An instant classic from the ’90s set against the backdrop of the road to the 1988 Winter Olympics — what more can you ask for?

5. Blades of Glory (2007)

Dreamworks SKG / Paramount

Inspiring docudramas and sappy love stories not your thing? Well, it's Will Ferrell and Jon Heder to the rescue! Also packed with hilarious performances by Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, Blades of Glory is the Olympic farce we all need and deserve.

6. Prefontaine (1997)

Hollywood Pictures

Jared Leto stars in this biopic about Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine's road to the 1972 Munich Olympics, and his tragic death at the young age of 24.

7. Without Limits (1998)

Cruise/Wagner Productions

Not that into Jared Leto? Want even MORE Steve Prefontaine? Just one year after the release of Prefontaine, Billy Crudup starred as the title Olympian in Without Limits. If you only watch one of the two, this one has significantly higher scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

8. One Day in September (1999)

Passion Pictures / BBC

This chilling documentary revisits the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when 11 Israeli athletes were held hostage and later killed by the Palestinian terror organization Black September while the whole world watched in horror.

9. Munich (2005)

Dreamworks SKG

Steven Spielberg's Munich goes beyond the tragedy at the 1972 Munich Games to the aftermath and the five men chosen to retaliate by taking out those responsible for the horrific murders of the Israeli Olympians.

10. Personal Best (1982)

Geffen Company

Another unlikely love story, this time between two female runners training for a spot on the 1980 Olympic track and field team. The movie has been praised for its sensitive treatment of the physical and emotional demands placed on athletes as well as its honest exploration of sexuality.

11. Running Brave (1983)

Englander Productions / Disney

Running Brave tells the lesser-known but still inspiring and important true story of Billy Mills, who became the second Native American to win a gold medal and the first and ONLY American to win a gold medal in the 10,000-meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

12. Salute (2008)

Wingman Pictures

This 2008 documentary about the 1968 Olympics in Mexico is not only powerful, it's also incredibly relevant to today's social and political climate. This documentary tells the story behind the iconic black power salute at the ’68 Games and the untold story of Peter Norman, the Australian man who stood with his fellow athletes — both on the podium and beyond.

13. The Other Dream Team (2012)

Lionsgate / The Film Arcade

For years, athletes from Lithuania were forced to compete under Soviet oppression. In 1992, that all changed following the fall of the Soviet Union, allowing Lithuania's basketball team to become a symbol of hope and freedom, with a little help from the Grateful Dead. It's an unbelievable story and one that tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who values freedom and the ability to overcome the greatest odds.

14. 30 for 30: The Price of Gold (2014)

Asylum Entertainment

Anyone who grew up in the ’90s will forever remember the scandal that rocked the 1994 Winter Olympics, when America's sweetheart Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee in what later turned out to be a deliberate attack planned by competitor Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. This fascinating documentary goes deep into the events, including new interviews with Tonya Harding herself, to try to get to the bottom of how all the drama unfolded.

Mollie Shafer-Schweig / Via BuzzFeed

The Opening Ceremony begins Friday, Aug. 5, at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 CT on NBC. Click here for more Olympics content!

TV and Movies

Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form