Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)
"Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker" (original title)

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The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.


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Uncredited cast:
David Albritton ...
Himself - High Jump, USA (uncredited)
Arvo Askola ...
Himself - 10000 Metres, FIN (uncredited)
Jack Beresford ...
Himself - Carries British Flag (uncredited)
Erwin Blask ...
Himself - Hammer Throw, German (uncredited)
Sulo Bärlund ...
Himself - Shot Put, Finland (uncredited)
Ibolya Csák ...
Herself - High Jump, Hungary (uncredited)
Henri de Baillet-Latour ...
Himself - IOC, Stands with Hitler, with Hurdlers (uncredited)
Philip Edwards ...
Himself - 800 Metres, Canada (uncredited)
Donald Finlay ...
Himself - 110m Hurdles, GB (uncredited)
Tilly Fleischer ...
Herself - Javelin Throw, Germany (uncredited)
Wilhelm Frick ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Hermann Göring ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Ernest Harper ...
Himself - Marathon, GB (uncredited)
Karl Hein ...
Himself - Hammer Throw, Germany (uncredited)


After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. Includes the marathon, men's diving, and American track star Jesse Owen's sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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Documentary | Sport


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Release Date:

8 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production company Olympia-Film-GmbH, owned by Leni Riefenstahl and her brother Heinz, was only a front to preserve the film's political independence in front of the International Olympic Committee. It was in fact entirely funded by the Third Reich. The original contract stipulated that Olympia-Film-GmbH would be dissolved once production completed and the copyrights would be the sole property of the Reich. The dissolution only took place on 9th January 1942, with Riefenstahl being awarded 20% of the film's total earnings and naming the State as the only lawful copyright owner. See more »


Featured in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »


Olympische Hymnne
Richard Strauss
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User Reviews

Highly original for its time, great use of camerawork
3 December 2003 | by (Bath, England) – See all my reviews

This is a brilliant sports documentary - the experimentation with camera angles was revolutionary at the time and the pole vault sequence at night is one of my favourite sequences in a film ever. The athletes are portrayed as superhuman, so in this sense the film is elitist and Nietzschean, but this is certainly not a racist film, politics does not play an explicit role, although one could argue that the deification of athletes (they are shown in close-up, alone, to contrast with the watching masses) promotes the idea that some men are greater than others. A fascinating film, and a definite progression from the standard documentary format of Das Triumph des Willens.

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