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

Costume Designer Edith Head had begun work on this film back in the spring of 1967 when her contract with Paramount Studios came to an end. It is debatable how much of her contribution still remains in the completed film but she regarded this film as one of her 100+ films of her incredibly long costume career. See more »

Goofs

Tires don't squeal on snow, yet Dave manages this when driving the Porsche. See more »

Quotes

Chappellet: If I could have started five places ahead - just five - then I would've at least had good snow. I wouldn't have lost my balance in the ruts. I wouldn't have had to pull so hard after...
Claire: No.
Chappellet: What do you mean "no"? If I'd have started in the first 15, I could've won it.
Claire: No. You just weren't good enough. That's all. You lost your strength, and then the bumps took you out. That's it. That's all there was to it. You gotta' have your strength right up to the end. These guys aren't amateurs. They're ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

That Old Black Magic
Written by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
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User Reviews

Skiing Into Your Living Room
3 November 2004 | by (Tampa Bay, Florida) – See all my reviews

The appeal of a ski film to those who ski is obvious. But imagine yourself innocent of skiing. Can it hold the attention of the rest of us? Roone Arledge and his "Wide World of Sports" provided one answer, as Jean Claude Killy and his successors skied into American living rooms on many winter Saturdays. "Downhill Racer" seconds the motion.

The late Mike Ritchie, who'd essayed nothing more ambitious than commercials, traveled the World Cup circuit in the 1967-68 winter, accompanied by Aspen novelist Jim Salter, whose screenplay (from Oakley Hall's very different novel) effectively was written in segments the night before each shoot. Almost everything about this production was improvised.

Athletes are not necessarily interesting people. Killy was; stories about him, some even true, are legion. David Chappellet (a young Robert Redford), more typically, reminds one of the astronauts in "2001", with their limited range of expressions and nothing particularly interesting to say. This comes across powerfully in several hilarious interview scenes, with American and European journalists trying in vain to get the young man to say something worth writing down.

Wengen, Switzerland passes for several World Cup race sites. (A Swiss medico wears an armband identifying him as "Arzt", or doctor, at a supposed French venue). The filmmakers also were present in Grenoble for the Winter Olympics, providing a fictional inside look at the Games far different from that of, for example, "Chariots of Fire".

One still doesn't ski, but the pleasures of "Downhill Racer" are undeniable.


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