In the 1930s, Jesse Owens is a young man who is the first in his family to go to college. Going to Ohio State to train under its track and field coach, Larry Snyder, the young African American athlete quickly impresses with his tremendous potential that suggests Olympic material. However, as Owens struggles both with the obligations of his life and the virulent racism against him, the question of whether America would compete at all at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is being debated vigorously. When the American envoy finds a compromise persuasive with the Third Reich to avert a boycott, Owens has his own moral struggle about going. Upon resolving that issue, Owens and his coach travel to Berlin to participate in a competition that would mark Owens as the greatest of America's Olympians even as the German film director, Leni Riefenstahl, locks horns with her country's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, to film the politically embarrassing fact for posterity. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
His achievement of setting three world records and tying another in less than an hour at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been called "the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport". See more »
A sportscaster says Snyder used to be "a hell of an athlete." In 1933, anyone who used the word "hell" on the radio, outside of a religious context, would've been fired immediately. See more »
Jesse Owens and his battle against racial discrimination at home and abroad
Racial discrimination both at home and in Germany are in the forefront of this movie so the races become a battle of good vs evil. The victories are that much more moving because of that. Lots of pointed references to how discrimination was in the U.S. before and after the Olympics.
The supporting cast are good. Jeremy Irons is effective as the questionable Avery Brundage who does some good by pushing for participation over boycott but also possibly being bought by the Germans. Carice Van Houten plays the infamous Leni. Strangely, instead of being shown as a Nazi propogandist, she is shown as a hero here pushing for including Jesse in her film. The actor who plays Goebbels is totally wrong for him. Google the real one. Stephan James as Jesse Owens doesn't overact and keeps his performance dignified. Jason Sudekis is good in a non comedic role as the coach.
Effecive use of effects to recreate the stadium and crowds.
A fascinating and well made movie
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