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Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Sport | 24 August 1951 (USA)
The triumph and tragedy of Native American Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 5 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Glenn S. 'Pop' Warner
Peter Allendine
Margaret Miller
Dick Wesson ...
Ed Guyac
Jack Big Head ...
Little Boy Who Walk Like Bear (as Jack Bighead)
Sonny Chorre ...
Wally Denny (as Suni Warcloud)
Al Mejia ...
Louis Tewanema
Hubie Kerns ...
Tom Ashenbrunner


True story of Native American Jim Thorpe, who rose from an Oklahoma reservation to become a collegiate, Olympic, and professional star. After his medals are stripped on a technicality and his dream of coaching is shattered, Thorpe's life begins to unravel. His marriage to his college sweetheart ends, and he is a forgotten figure, except by Glenn 'Pop' Warner, his coach at Carlisle College. Written by <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Homem de Bronze  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film depicts Jim Thorpe as being married once, and having had one child who died young. In fact, he was married a total of three times and had seven other surviving children. See more »


Although this movie is based upon the life of a real person (Jim Thorpe) the movie contains the standard disclaimer at the beginning of the movie - that the movie is fictitious and is not based on real persons, events, etc. and that any similarities to real persons or events is coincidental. See more »


Charlotte Thorpe: [to Jim's father] You're his father. You taught him all the things he likes to do. Now teach him what he has to do!
See more »


Referenced in The Screen Director (1951) See more »


Shadow Waltz
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the dressing room scene after the marathon dance
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User Reviews

An unremarkable biography of one of the 20th century's greatest athletes
14 October 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For those not familiar with Thorpe and his athletic accomplishments, the first hour of the movie adequately covers the basics; for those unaware of his troubled personal life, the last 45 minutes conveys the spirit of his off-the-field difficulties if not an accurate historical account. Even though he appeared in nearly 60 films, primarily as an uncredited extra and frequently as an Indian (Native American), Thorpe's Hollywood career is completely ignored.

Burt Lancaster plays Thorpe energetically, and credibly given his physical talents, Charles Bickford plays the legendary 'Pop' Warner, Thorpe's first coach (at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania) and mentor, and Phyllis Thaxter plays Thorpe's first wife Margaret (Iva in real life); Thorpe's other wives and children other than the fated Jim Jr. are never mentioned.

Though he hadn't played organized sports before attending Carlisle, Thorpe was a natural who excelled at every one he tried including track and field, football and baseball. After leading his college football team to a championship, he went on to win both the pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden though he was later stripped of these titles and had to return his medals after it was learned that he'd played baseball for money during one summer while at Carlisle (70 years later, these honors were reinstated).

No longer an amateur, Thorpe played professional baseball before, as its star player, he helped to establish what is now known the National Football League.

The film was directed by Michael Curtiz and written (and/or adapted from Thorpe's biography with Russell Birdwell) by its producer Everett Freeman, Frank Davis and Douglas Morrow, among others. Steve Cochran plays a rival come friend of Thorpe's and Nestor Paiva appears uncredited as Thorpe's father in the opening sequences on the Oklahoma reservation where Jim was raised.

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The film has the 'ficticious story' disclaimer ejunkmail
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