6.5/10
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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

David does a U-turn while driving through his home town, and suddenly a car appears in the scene. See more »

Quotes

Creech: Aw, he thinks he's the only guy that ever won a downhill. He's as jazzed with himself as Max Meier.
Mayo: That's not your style, is it, John?
Creech: What? Aw, come on. All right, he's good and he's fast, and he wins a couple of races. And I'm the first one to admit that a good racer turns everybody on. But he's not for the team, and he never will be.
Mayo: Well, it's not exactly a team sport, is it?
Creech: [gives it some thought] Maybe you're right.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Twilight (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Good King Wenceslas
Traditional tune, lyrics by John M. Neale (uncredited) and Thomas Helmore (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

A good film that could have been great
22 January 2002 | by jaguarxkeSee all my reviews

After many years of catching brief scenes of this now semi-cult film, I finally watched it in its entirety. It is not a great film, but for film students, and fans of both Gene Hackman and Robert Redford, it's a must. The opening credits are delivered over scenes of a Super G skier flying down the mountain and feature a combination of stop action and over-cranked footage. The film quality is beautiful, and although the techniques now seem dated, they stand for what was cutting-edge editing at the time. Watching the opening, you feel like you're in for a great ride but are sadly let down by a staid script. Having said that, the film can sort of get a way with this (at least to a certain extent) because you've got such great actors playing the main roles of skier (Redford) and coach (Hackman). Both know how to exploit the economy of language and show a lot simply with body language and expression. (They must have realized they had to with this script.) Add to that fact, that the character Redford is playing - a vainglorious Super G racer named David Chappellett, probably wouldn't have much to say.

Ultimately, the film serves as cinematic commentary on how fleeting success is in a sport like skiing, as well as the shallowness shown by both the press that cover the sport, and the women that covet the skiers.


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