6.5/10
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38 user 35 critic

Downhill Racer (1969)

Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax.

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Claire
...
Carole
Karl Michael Vogler ...
Machet
...
Creech
...
Reporter
...
Mayo
Kenneth Kirk ...
D.K.
Oren Stevens ...
Kipsmith
Jerry Dexter ...
Engel
Walter Stroud ...
Mr. Chappellet
Carole Carle ...
Lena
Rip McManus ...
Devore
Joe Jay Jalbert ...
Tommy Erb
Tom J. Kirk ...
Stiles
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Storyline

David Chappellet is a mean-spirited skier, who profits from another skier's injury to gain a spot on the American Olympic team. His roommate sums up his goals when he observes of David, "He's not for the team, and he never will be"; but precisely who the David is that David is so fiendishly striving for we're never to learn. He develops a short-lived relationship with Carole Stahl, a glamorous European woman even more capricious than himself. Chappellet's identity trouble are exacerbated by the fact that he is an "Event" as well as a personality; and more astute minds than his own have difficulty where the one leaves off and the other takes over. Director Michael Richie's ("The Candidate") feature film debut. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How fast must a man go to get from where he's at?

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

9 January 1970 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

La descente infernale  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Natalie Wood's then husband, Richard Gregson, was one head producer on this picture. She was also a good friend and former high school classmate of co-star Robert Redford. She provided hair styles for some of the actors, provided wardrobe styles for some of the stars, and was a visible presence on the European locations for the film. See more »

Goofs

Creech starts his final run wearing bib #16. When he crashes, he is wearing #11. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Chappellet: Well, I just hope you don't end up askin' yourself the question some folks ask me. "What's he do it for?"
Chappellet: Well, I'll be famous. I'll be a champion.
Mr. Chappellet: [cynically] World's full of'em.
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Soundtracks

Moon River
Written by Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini
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User Reviews

A good film that could have been great
22 January 2002 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

After many years of catching brief scenes of this now semi-cult film, I finally watched it in its entirety. It is not a great film, but for film students, and fans of both Gene Hackman and Robert Redford, it's a must. The opening credits are delivered over scenes of a Super G skier flying down the mountain and feature a combination of stop action and over-cranked footage. The film quality is beautiful, and although the techniques now seem dated, they stand for what was cutting-edge editing at the time. Watching the opening, you feel like you're in for a great ride but are sadly let down by a staid script. Having said that, the film can sort of get a way with this (at least to a certain extent) because you've got such great actors playing the main roles of skier (Redford) and coach (Hackman). Both know how to exploit the economy of language and show a lot simply with body language and expression. (They must have realized they had to with this script.) Add to that fact, that the character Redford is playing - a vainglorious Super G racer named David Chappellett, probably wouldn't have much to say.

Ultimately, the film serves as cinematic commentary on how fleeting success is in a sport like skiing, as well as the shallowness shown by both the press that cover the sport, and the women that covet the skiers.


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