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Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)

Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Sport | 8 March 1940 (USA)
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.


Leni Riefenstahl
2 wins. See more awards »




Uncredited cast:
David Albritton ... Self - High Jump, USA (uncredited)
Arvo Askola ... Self - 10000 Metres, FIN (uncredited)
Jack Beresford ... Self - Carries British Flag (uncredited)
Erwin Blask Erwin Blask ... Self - Hammer Throw, German (uncredited)
Sulo Bärlund Sulo Bärlund ... Self - Shot Put, Finland (uncredited)
Ibolya Csák ... Self - High Jump, Hungary (uncredited)
Glenn Cunningham ... Self (uncredited)
Henri de Baillet-Latour ... Self - IOC, Stands with Hitler, with Hurdlers (uncredited)
Philip Edwards Philip Edwards ... Self - 800 Metres, Canada (uncredited)
Donald Finlay Donald Finlay ... Self - 110m Hurdles, GB (uncredited)
Tilly Fleischer ... Self - Javelin Throw, Germany (uncredited)
Wilhelm Frick Wilhelm Frick ... Self - Spectator (uncredited)
Joseph Goebbels ... Self - Spectator (uncredited)
Hermann Göring ... Self - Spectator (uncredited)
Ernest Harper ... Self - Marathon, GB (uncredited)


After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. Includes the marathon, men's diving, and American track star Jesse Owen's sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


[Taken from the German Arthaus DVD commentary] The production of the movie led to a number of inventions. Soundproof camera casings ('blimps') were constructed so as not to disturb the athletes. To follow the divers underwater, Hans Ertl built a waterproof camera housing and a small elevator at the side of the pool, and had to learn how to immediately adjust the focus and aperture when they broke the surface. Small cameras were strapped to the saddles of cross-country riders and the bodies of marathon runners. Obviously, most of the footage was too shaky to be used, but the few feet that were included created a whole new perspective. See more »


Olympische Hymnne
Richard Strauss
See more »

User Reviews

A master of film and 60 years later still a masterpiece
8 June 1999 | by bigboy-8See all my reviews

I first viewed this film at the Museum of Modern Art 35 years ago;I now own it and the years have only added to my astonishment of what a genius Leni is. She took film to a new and higher art form. The Nazi noise does get in the way, but the epic scope and feel of the finished product make it worth viewing. And yes, part one is far superior, but part two is certainly a work of art also. It is a masterpiece. Would that she had done more. She is a most fascinating artist.

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Release Date:

8 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Olympiad See more »

Filming Locations:

Acropolis, Athens, Greece See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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