6.5/10
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41 user 38 critic

Downhill Racer (1969)

M/PG | | Drama, Sport | 9 January 1970 (Canada)
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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 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:

9 January 1970 (Canada) 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

Costume Designer Edith Head had begun work on this film back in the spring of 1967 when her contract with Paramount Studios came to an end. It is debatable how much of her contribution still remains in the completed film but she regarded this film as one of her 100+ films of her incredibly long costume career. See more »

Goofs

Creech starts his final run wearing bib #16. When he crashes, he is wearing #11. See more »

Quotes

Claire: [Making some public appearances before various business groups in an effort to garner financial support for the U.S. ski team] The Europeans simply can't understand why... this country doesn't turn out the world's greatest ski teams. And I'm ashamed to tell 'em the truth. We have the mountains, we have the men, we have the muscle. We don't have the money in this richest nation in the world. Every racer... on a well-equipped winning team... is a foreign sales representative for U.S. ski products....
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Olympic Hymn
(Disques Erato)
Written by Spiro Samara & Kostis Palamas
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rousing snowy outdoors and Robert Redford as a capricious and cocky skier
16 October 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Sport movie about an egoist man who unites a notorious ski team , it's mainly a character study . It deals with a small-town egotist named David Chappellet (Robert Redford in one of his earliest protagonists roles) joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach (Gene Hackman). Meanwhile , David falls in love with a beautiful and glamorous girl (Camilla Sparv who married Robert Evans of Paramount)

Colorful and vivid story about ski sports with Robert Redford as a bleak and grimly character as a quietly mean-spirited sportsman who joins USA Olympic Games Ski team . Lots of dazzling skiing action leading to an thrilling highlight . Redford did all his own skiing for this , ten days before shooting began , he accidentally drove a snowmobile over a cliff, tearing his tendon and requiring seven stitches in his knee . Redford's good performance and a gorgeous Camilla Sparv ; however , both of them are two unappealing characters . Fine secondary cast but playing brief interventions as Karl Michael Vogler as Machet , Kathleen Crowley as American Newspaper Woman , Dabney Coleman as Mayo and cameo by Natalie Wood who appeared, well-disguised, as an extra in some crowd scenes ; she worked as an assistant behind the scenes , she typed script revisions, shopped for wardrobe and props . Worth enduring for the spectacular ski scenes that are justly the basic visual splendors . Astonishing Alpine location cinematography being splendidly filmed by cameraman Brian Probyn . Shot on location in Boulder, Colorado, USA (training track scenes) Durango, Colorado, and Kitzbühel and Europe : Tyrol, Austria , Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Kanton Bern, Switzerland . Atmospheric and enjoyable musical score by Kenyon Hopkins .

Michael Ritchie's visceral feature film debut for which he was hired by Robert Redford ; being efficiently directed but hard to amusing . He started his career as an assistant producer in television in the early 1960s and repeating with Robert Redford in ¨The candidate¨. Sports continued to be his forte, his greatest box-office successes being satirical movies about baseball ¨Bad New Bears (1976)) and gridiron ¨Semi-Tough¨(1977)) and ¨Wildcats¨ (1986) . With less commercial success , he took a humorous swipe at beauty pageants with the underrated film ¨Smile¨ (1975). While his work became more mainstream during the 1980's, it does include a few memorable comedies, notably ¨Fletch¨(1985) and its sequel ¨Fletch lives¨(1989) . But also made agreeable comedies such as ¨The survivors ¨, ¨The couch trip¨, ¨The golden child¨ , ¨A simple wish¨ and even Noir film as ¨Prime cut¨. Rating : Acceptable and passable .


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