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I loved this movie when it came out and I still love it all these years
later-flaws and all.
First of all, the book was so great in it's depiction of competetive skating and the machinations that sometimes go on behind the scenes. That said, the movie was actually a pretty good adaptation.
But, probably the main reason I loved this movie was because I was there when they filmed many of the Broadmoor World Arena scenes. It was my home rink, and it's a blast to see old coaches, old skating friends. And to see the World Arena, which sadly was torn down a few years back. A sad day...
I remember that practice times were a mess because of the shooting schedule-some of us had our practice time in between scenes-lights and all! I remember watching the scene where the "French" skater falls in the middle of a show-and watching the skater playing that part throwing herself onto the ice, over and over again. Ouch! I remember Lynn-Holly seeming a bit nervous; Robby Benson as a bit shy, but very nice (and patient-when introduced, I couldn't remember my name!); David Huffman was very cute and Jennifer Warren was friendly, charming, modest and gorgeous! She didn't know how to skate very well and came out with some of us to learn! She became something of a rink rat while there!
Having been there for some of that, it changes one's perspective a bit, but still, I feel myself drawn into the story-and I cry at the end just like everyone else.
I loved this movie when it came out and just watched it again on TV
Brings back a lot of memories of my time as a skater, not best, but OK.
I was reading about the goofs in the movie and well anyone who is paying attention will realize that:
The skating on the pond is not a goof, it is taking place over several days. There is no way any one will feel safe on skates again after such an ordeal. It takes time to rebuild your confidence. Any person who is a skater will realize that. So please take take that part out of the goofs.
I gave it a 10/10 cause when you think back to the 70's making movies was not as technically easy as it is now a days with all the computer enhancements.
I like the actors all did a very excellent job.
Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robby Benson give smashing performances as an aspiring Olympic ice skater and her loving boyfriend. ICE CASTLES is an excellent film that's very romantic, touching and moving. It's a love story that ultimately tests the boundaries of true love. The music is good, too, especially "Through The Eyes Of Love," which is the song that plays over the opening credits. If you're wondering who's it's by, it's by Melissa Manchester. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that everyone involved in this film did an outstanding job. In conclusion, if you like love stories that are happy and sad at the same time, this is definitely a movie to see. You will really be touched by it.
Most will either love Ice Castles or hate it. Perhaps hate is a little
harsh but it gets the point across. For a film with numerous
shortcomings it has achieved somewhat of a cult following. So much so
that Columbia Tristar decided to release it in DVD format several years
What's wrong with the movie? For a film partially intended to appeal to the teenage crowd, it is unnecessary to have any foul language. Yet Ice Castles is sprinkled with four letter words from the beginning to the end. It doesn't advance the plot one iota and it's inclusion in the film is a mystery. Perhaps the producer thought a "G" rating would doom it at the box office and added the harsh language to get a "PG". Whatever the reason it degrades the film.
Many of the lines the actors speak seem to be more or less mumbled and hard to understand. Not sure if this is a sound problem or simply bad acting.
There is a severe lack of continuity in some scenes. For instance Lexie is first wearing a green jacket in the segment where she is learning to skate on the pond after becoming blind. Suddenly she is wearing a blue jacket in the next scene and just as suddenly goes back to the green jacket! Not to mention her being bare-headed and then is seen wearing a beige hat and then back to being bare-headed again! The producer must have been blind too!!
The original film was 115 minutes according to a New York Times review in 1979. However, the VHS and DVD versions are about 108 minutes. Where are the missing 7 minutes and why were they not included?
Nevertheless, despite these and other faults, the film works due in large part to Marvin Hamlisch's stirring music and Lynn-Holly Johnson's beautiful skating. It is a three-hankie the first time you see it and has inspired many young hopefuls to take up the sport. A must-see if you like films that turn tragedy into victory.
Johnson plays fictitious figure skater Alexis Winston, whose widower
father (Skerritt) reluctantly allows master coach (Warren) to take her
to the big city for a chance to demonstrate her unique talents and
compete in the national titles. She leaves behind her boyfriend
(Benson) and local skate rink owner (Dewhurst) and is soon consumed by
the trappings of high profile sport and fair-weather friends, wooed by
a much older newscaster (Huffman) and forced to endure the spotlight of
TV in addition to her rigorous training schedule. But just as she's
about to reach the heights of success, she's felled prematurely in a
shocking accident that robs her of her sight, and it seems, her dream.
With the aid of family and 'true' friends, she attempts an audacious
Set to the backdrop of Melissa Manchester's commanding theme song ("Looking Through the Eyes of Love"), "Ice Castles" is the "Flashdance" of the late seventies, with generally strong performances by the cast. Johnson's maturity belies her age, underrated Jennifer Warren delivers a strong performance as the perfectionist coach, while Dewhurst has a couple of intense scenes to display her range, notably where she confronts Johnson in the attic where she's apparently given up on life in favour of a shallow existence of self pity.
Typical feel-good movie is elevated by Dewhurst's performance and the Oscar-nominated theme song (the rest of the soundtrack isn't bad either, e.g. "Midnight Blue" and "A Fifth of Beethoven"), but probably attempts to milk too much sympathy as films of this ilk often do from the audience. One of those films you probably wouldn't seek to watch, but nevertheless find yourself engaged to the end in spite of yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are SPOILERS in this review. I found out why I liked this film so much when it first came out twenty-plus years ago: it was a good movie. Most reviewers followed the movie's publicity hype and assessed the movie on a linear structure: the story of a girl who with the help of her lover surmounts overwhelming obstacles to achieve a dream. And I can see how they might on such a basis view it as a failure. But then the linear structure was not the goal of the story in the first place. If you really look at what's happening in the movie, you'd also have to redefine "dream" before it makes any sense in the story that's actually told. In the end, the "A story with dream" may have little to do with ice skating.
(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Grooming Lexie (Lynn-Holly Johnson) for the next Olympics is a major challenge for Deborah (Jennifer Warren), the world class figure skating trainer. Most girls start their trek by the time they're seven, devoting another decade to shaping their art and learning their figures and the skills of competing before they're considered ready for the big time. At sixteen Lexie is considered by many to be already over the hill. Through Deborah's demanding tutorship, television personality Brian's (David Huffman) television hype, and Lexie's determination and natural talent, amazing progress is made; sponsors are even lining up to back her run for the gold. What no one considers, least of all Deborah and Brian, is that skill isn't the only thing skaters become enured to by starting their training early in life. There's the give and take in the community of skaters, the learned knowledge of the ways of judging, the back-biting, the dog-eat-dog mentality that girls around the business since early childhood take for granted, but that for Lexie is a whole new world of naivete. In order to compensate for those years of rugged experience, a girl in Lexie's position will need to have strong props. Lexie's props? She's never been out of Waverly, her Iowa home town. Her mother is dead. Her father looks on Lexie as a surrogate for his dead wife, and refuses even to come to the bus depot to wish her well on her journey. Her beloved Nick leaves her at every important turning point in her life. Beulah (Colleeen Dewhurst), Lexie's home town mentor, is the only one who has ever treated Lexie with respect, but even she has an agenda. She wants desperately for Lexie, through her skating, to get away from the trap of small town America - which she herself was never able to do. So time after time we see a basically fragile Lexie totally confused by what she experiences in her new life. At a major Christmas television special in New York where all the world-recognized girl skaters will be putting on an exhibition, all the girls are stunned by the public emotional collapse on the ice of the French champion, but quickly get on to the next stage of the show; however, Lexie stands open-mouthed and frozen by what she has seen on the TV monitor. At the required cocktail receptions, Lexie doesn't understand why all the sponsors want to touch her and crowd her. It is not a hidden intention of the director and author that we should know that LEXIE HAS NO PROPS. After the exhibition, when Nick is cold to her on the telephone, Brian takes advantage of the obviously vulnerable girl - but he is incapable of support; what he calls love, yes; but support? no. So when she reaches the height of her quest, the gold medal at the sectionals, and sees Nick coming towards her, she is for the moment in seventh heaven, but when he sees Brian hugging her, the guy who always walks away from a struggle turns his back on her - a door slam that Lexie is no longer able to cope with. (SPOILERS)Depressed and alone, she leaves the victory reception, goes to the hotel ice rink, and does the only thing she has confidence in for herself, she skates - and falls - and hurts her head - and is permanently blinded. Now she has nothing. She returns to the farm and vegetates. Even her father has reached the end of his self-centeredness, and confesses to Beulah that he doesn't know what to do, that Lexie will die if not checked on her nothing course. Most viewers of this movie think that the climax is the big moment, when, totally blind, she skates the best performance of her life. I don't think so. I found the actual turning point - the climax, if you will - comes when after Marcus' plea, Beulah looks for Lexie and finds that she has crawled to the attic, and in the dark there she is putting on her mother's clothes (shallow movie?). The ensuing sometimes violent confrontation is as down and rough dramatic as you'd want. (MORE SPOILERS) But Lexie decides to put on the skates again. This time Nick, who has also learned a lesson, is a true helpmate - not doing things for her, but encouraging her to do what she can do ... and not walking out on her. After a long arduous re-learning period, Lexie goes again to the sectionals - this time with all her props in place: Beulah, Nick, and her father. The scene of the happy foursome in the car going to the sectionals could easily have been the last scene for its resolution of the story.
I am not going to lie, this film is utterly depressing. The dreary atmosphere and the sad love story come together and make our tears flow. Simple story concerning a young girl who vows to become a professional ice skater, the boy she loves, and the tragedy that follows. Good performances from Skerritt and Dewhurst as usual, average from Benson and the rest of the cast. The finale is a real tearjerker, featuring the wonderful Melissa Manchester song. Though the film is somewhat predictable and extremely corny, it is still a good little film made with good intentions. 7/10
While I do agree with some of the other reviewers...a lot of unnecessary cussing...I believe that is Hollywood's version of showing rough and tough small town Midwesterners, so it was easy to overlook for me. Because I was raised in small town Minnesota...where this was filmed...I can attest that in fact, some of the edgier people in the town I grew up in did talk like that on occasion, so I guess it wasn't too far from the truth. That said, I think overall, the plot and emotions in this movie are a lot deeper than what is thrown on screen before us these days!! And for the reviewer who said that continuity was off when Lexie changed caps and coats...I think you missed out on a subtle hint the director was trying to show in time passing...as Lexie also became a stronger skater with every costume change in the sequence. Obviously, she didn't do it the moment she got up on her skates, so I think you missed out. Someone also mentioned that the 'Live Televised Broadcast' was a goof because there was no audience...but it was not a goof! It was televised on live camera on Christmas Eve, according to the plot line. Did not specify it was to be before an audience. News broadcasts are always live, and they don't have an audience, either. Nor do I think Robby Benson sounds remotely from Brooklyn, but that's another story altogether. Over all, I like this film a lot! Of course, Robby Benson was my big crush since Ode to Billie Joe, so I am a bit biased, but I think even without him, it would be a pretty good piece of film work. I give it a 7 out of 10!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this in the theater when it came out. Then I saw it this
afternoon on streaming. I remember kind of liking this one as a teen,
but still there was something about it that nagged at me through the
years and convinced me not to go to any great trouble to see it again.
Today I was reminded what that was: the characters are such unpleasant
people. Yeesh. I'm glad I don't have friends or family like this.
The dad has his head in the sand and will do just about anything to prevent his only child from taking a brave risk to better herself. The boyfriend is a self-centered jerk and a quitter who drops out of medical school and semi-pro hockey in the first 30 minutes of the film, and who also seems to resent Lexie's potential to succeed in life, the same potential he himself has squandered twice already. And the ice rink owner is a shrieking harpy. I don't think too many ice rink owners are Care Bear types, really, but Beulah did altogether too much screaming and cussing. (Funny thing: from seeing the film in the theater, I remembered Colleen Dewhurst as "the fat lady"... guess what? 35 years later I see she wasn't at all fat. She was a middle-aged woman. She looked... ahem... rather like I do now. "Stupid" clothes and all.) The one exception to the unpleasantness is Lexie herself; I thought Lynn-Holly Johnson played her very believably, with great exuberance while skating and credible depression after the accident. She was a joy to watch on the ice... I'm not a sports or skating fan at all, but I streamed it twice just to watch her skate. Wow. The film would have been a total zero without her.
There are confusing plot issues: what about that boyfriend of Lexie's new trainer, who not only gravitates from the trainer to Lexie herself, but the trainer doesn't seem to care or even notice? And continuity issues: towards the end, see Tom Skerritt on the pond wearing boots, then skates, then boots again, while helping Lexie regain her skating ability. And as I said, just too much nastiness between the characters: okay, I get that Robbie Benson (who is in serious need of an eyebrow waxing) wants Lexie not to feel sorry for herself, but the way he screams "Shut up!" at her when she asks for help getting up is really not going to help matters any.
I wouldn't have bothered with this one again if not for Lynn-Holly Johnson; she made the whole film and she was a joy to watch. If I had a flower, I'd throw it.
Released in 1978, "Ice Castles" stars Lynn-Holly Johnson as Alexis
Winston, an up-and-coming figure skater on the threshold of worldwide
fame who unexpectedly faces serious challenges. Robby Benson plays her
hockey-playing boyfriend, Tom Skerritt her dad, Colleen Dewhurst her
hometown coach, Jennifer Warren her professional coach and David
Huffman a sportscaster who becomes infatuated with her.
This is a realistic drama first and a sports movie second. It's reminiscent of the tone/theme of 1976's "Rocky" except dealing with figure skating rather than boxing and Lynn-Holly as the protagonist rather than the Italian stallion. Johnson convincingly carries the film with her doe-eyed charm and Benson is likable as always. The other four main actors all kick axx, especially Skerritt and Dewhurst. The movie features a lot of figure skating, if that's your thang.
Johnson is such a charming petite cutie it's not surprising that the sportscaster falls under her unintentional spell. However, despite her curvy beauty she's not that interesting as a person; perhaps because she's only 16 years old in the story (although Lynn-Holly was 19 during filming). You'll see this in the high society (of skating, that is) schmoozing sequence. While Alexis is a champion and charming figure skater, she's not yet developed enough to schmooze. So she's left pouting alone until she gets back to the ice. Don't me get wrong, I've met 12 year-old girls who are fascinating (in a non-sexual sense) because they have an incredible imagination, but Alexis' appeal never goes beyond her outward beauty, innocent charm and skating talents. Nevertheless, this is a quality 70's drama and figure skating flick.
The film runs 109 minutes and was shot in Minnesota and, to a lesser degree, Colorado.
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