6.4/10
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Downhill Racer (1969)

M/PG | | Drama, Sport | 29 October 1969 (USA)
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2:56 | Trailer
Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax.

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writer:

James Salter
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Chappellet
Gene Hackman ... Claire
Camilla Sparv ... Carole
Karl Michael Vogler ... Machet
Jim McMullan ... Creech
Kathleen Crowley ... Reporter
Dabney Coleman ... Mayo
Kenneth Kirk Kenneth Kirk ... D.K.
Oren Stevens Oren Stevens ... Kipsmith
Jerry Dexter ... Engel
Walter Stroud Walter Stroud ... Mr. Chappellet
Carole Carle Carole Carle ... Lena
Rip McManus Rip McManus ... Devore
Joe Jay Jalbert Joe Jay Jalbert ... Tommy Erb
Tom J. Kirk Tom J. Kirk ... Stiles
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Storyline

David Chappellet is a mean-spirited skier, who profits from another skier's injury to gain a spot on the American Olympic team. His roommate sums up his goals when he observes of David, "He's not for the team, and he never will be"; but precisely who the David is that David is so fiendishly striving for we're never to learn. He develops a short-lived relationship with Carole Stahl, a glamorous European woman even more capricious than himself. Chappellet's identity trouble are exacerbated by the fact that he is an "Event" as well as a personality; and more astute minds than his own have difficulty where the one leaves off and the other takes over. Director Michael Richie's ("The Candidate") feature film debut. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How fast must a man go to get from where he's at?

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

M/PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

29 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La descente infernale See more »

Filming Locations:

Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Redford's character Dave Chappellet was supposedly based on two real-life American skiers: Billy Kidd and Spider Sabich. Kidd was the first American male to win an Olympic alpine skiing medal when he won a silver in the slalom at the 1964 Olympics. Sadly, Sabich was killed under mysterious circumstances by his lover, actress/singer Claudine Longet. See more »

Goofs

When Dave does the u-turn, people standing next to the building disappear. See more »

Quotes

Claire: [talking to Chappellet] You never had any real education, did you? All you ever had were your skis... and that's not enough.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Welcome to Hollywood (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon River
Written by Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini
See more »

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User Reviews

Downhill Racer is a character study.
22 May 2001 | by MICKEYGORMANSee all my reviews

In this film, Robert Redford plays David Chappellet a young man training on a ski team with hopes of making the Olympics. The film is basically a character study of a somewhat narcissistic, shallow, self-centered guy from a simple rural background who dreams of attaining fame and fortune by entering the Olympics as a downhill racer. Throughout the film we see examples of his failure to connect with people. He visits his dad on his ranch and is received with complete coldness and indifference. He pulls into town and picks up an old girl friend, takes her for a ride and they have sex. Afterwards, he completely ignores her when she tries to tell him about her life. He pursues Camilla Sparv who plays the beautiful Carole Stahl. In her, he has met his match. She seems to be someone who also uses people, never lets them get very close and always has an agenda to get what she wants. She works for a ski manufacturer who seems to use her to bait the young up and coming skiing stars that he seeks to groom for product advice and future endorsements. She is narcissistic, shallow and self-centered like him but she is also elusive. This plays to the competitor in him and she knows that. Throughout the film we see Gene Hackman who plays the skiing coach Eugene Claire. We witness numerous scenes where Chappellet ignores his advice and counsel, where the coach calls him on his arrogance and selfish attitude. But in the end, they triumph and seem to be headed for the Olympics. But in the last brief scene, victory and fame seems so fickle, elusive, short lived, it all seems superficial. Redford is wonderful in this and of course, Gene Hackman is just as good. Seeing these two early in their careers, that alone makes this a film worth watching.


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