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Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Sport | 24 August 1951 (USA)
The triumph and tragedy of Native American Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.


Michael Curtiz


Douglas Morrow (screenplay), Everett Freeman (screenplay) | 5 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Jim Thorpe
Charles Bickford ... Glenn S. 'Pop' Warner
Steve Cochran ... Peter Allendine
Phyllis Thaxter ... Margaret Miller
Dick Wesson ... Ed Guyac
Jack Big Head Jack Big Head ... Little Boy Who Walk Like Bear (as Jack Bighead)
Sonny Chorre Sonny Chorre ... Wally Denny (as Suni Warcloud)
Al Mejia Al Mejia ... Louis Tewanema
Hubie Kerns Hubie Kerns ... Tom Ashenbrunner


True story of Native American Jim Thorpe, who rose from an Oklahoma reservation to become a collegiate, Olympic, and professional star. After his medals are stripped on a technicality and his dream of coaching is shattered, Thorpe's life begins to unravel. His marriage to his college sweetheart ends, and he is a forgotten figure, except by Glenn 'Pop' Warner, his coach at Carlisle College. Written by <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According the Burt Lancatser biography, his son Billy contracted polio during the shooting of the film, in the same time that Lancaster had to act in the scenes where his son in the movie died of influenza. See more »


The Olympic opening ceremony footage is from the 1948 London games. When Thorpe receives his medal, the peristyle end of the Los Angeles Coliseum (1932 & 1984 games) is clearly in the background. See more »


[first lines]
Man on Speaker's Platform: [applause] Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Roy J. Turner, governor of the state of Oklahoma.
Governor Roy J. Turner: [audience applauds] Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here this evening to express our pride and pay tribute to a native son of Oklahoma. But I think it is only fitting that I forgo the honor of making this presentation myself, and call upon a great gentleman of whom we are also very proud, even though he is not a native son.
Governor Roy J. Turner: [the audience laughs] May I present to you one of the ...
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Referenced in Leave It to Beaver: Lumpy's Scholarship (1963) See more »


O Carlisle
Sung and played during the college scenes to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" (tradtional tune)
See more »

User Reviews

Unforgettable Movie
12 August 2006 | by viswanat-1See all my reviews

I was 11 years old when saw this movie in India. I was absorbed and fascinated by the story and the sincerity of performance by Burt Lancaster. The movie gave a great boost to my interest in sports and helped make me work harder at track and field sports. I fell in love with Phyllis Thaxter because she is so beautiful. It was sad to see Burt portray the elderly but dignified Thorpe. I intend to make a visit to Jim Thorpe, PA and the Carlisle Indian School. They are just a few hours drive away from where I now live. It was clear from Burt's performance that he had great respect for the Native American and fully succeeded in bringing dignity and glory to Thorpe and his native ancestors. It was refreshing to see that the modern version of the proverbial "noble savage" was really noble and savage has no place in the description of the American Indian. It was an unforgivable affront to Thorpe, his family and his people for the International Olympic Commission to wrongly strip him of his medals only to return them posthumously to his family. Viswanathan

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Release Date:

24 August 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jim Thorpe -- All-American See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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