The film follows the life of famous 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine from his youth days in Oregon to the University of Oregon where he worked with the legendary coach Bill Bowerman, later to... See full summary »
The true story of Tony Fingleton, a young man from a troubled family who found the inner strength to become a champion. Always overshadowed in his father's eyes by his brothers, it is only when Tony displays an extraordinary swimming talent that he feels he has a shot at winning his father's heart. Written by
In the movie, Tony competes in the 100-meter backstroke, winning a silver medal at the Empire Games in 1962. In 1962, the Empire Games swimming events were measured in yards, and Tony won silver behind another Australian in the 220-yard event. When he is later told that "your event was today" in reference to the 1964 Olympics, it refers to the 200-meter backstroke - the 100 wasn't contested in Tokyo. See more »
I was always a little afraid of my father. From my earliest memory there was nothing I could do to please him. I just... never connected to him. So I fell between the cracks.
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Emotionally powerful and inspiring; based on a true story
This film was the "Closing Selection" for the 2004 San Diego Film Festival. The story shows the emotional pain of growing up with an alcoholic and abusive father. And yet, through the violence and strife emerges the eventual best Olympic swimmer from Australia in his event. The movie was about the life story of Tony Fingleton, whom I was fortunate to meet in person after the film. What an outstanding individual as he fielded audience questions with complete honesty and panache.
His story is testament to the tenacity of the human spirit in the face of a troubled and abusive father. Yet despite it all, emerges a positive and intelligent force. There was still a drive to improve one's mind despite a relentlessly critical father in the protagonist's formative years. The emotional family confrontations are not for the squeamish; however, it is a tribute to human optimism and accomplishment. I wish it were revealed a bit more about Tony's drive for education early on, i.e., who inspired that aspect of his development? Geoffrey Rush's acting as the father is stark and striking. The images and messages of this film will stay with you for a very long time!
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