6.3/10
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31 user 17 critic

Personal Best (1982)

Trailer
2:09 | Trailer
The intertwined lives and loves of three highly-ranked athletes striving for the national team; Chris bounces between the beds of male coach Terry and her female friend, competitor, and role model Tory.

Director:

Robert Towne

Writer:

Robert Towne

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mariel Hemingway ... Chris Cahill
Scott Glenn ... Terry Tingloff
Patrice Donnelly Patrice Donnelly ... Tory Skinner
Kenny Moore Kenny Moore ... Denny Stites
Jim Moody ... Roscoe Travis
Kari G. Peyton Kari G. Peyton ... Penny Brill (as Kari Gosswiller)
Jodi Anderson Jodi Anderson ... Nadia 'Pooch' Anderson
Maren Seidler Maren Seidler ... Tanya
Martha Watson Martha Watson ... Sheila
Emily Dole ... Maureen
Pam Spencer Pam Spencer ... Jan
Deby Laplante Deby Laplante ... Trish
Mitzi McMillin Mitzi McMillin ... Laura
Jan Glotzer Jan Glotzer ... Karen
Jan Van Reenen Jan Van Reenen ... Yelovitch
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Storyline

1976. Chris Cahill and Torry Skinner are US national caliber track and field athletes, Chris in the 100 meter hurdles, and Torry in the pentathlon. Chris has the natural ability to be great but she doesn't possess the confidence or drive, while Torry, who has less natural ability, psychologically knows what it takes to be great, leading to Torry making the Olympic team finishing second in her event, while Chris has a disastrous Olympic trial. Torry can see the potential in Chris, and tries to convince her coach at Cal Poly, Terry Tingloff, to coach Chris, Terry who will only allow Chris to train with the team without his guidance in he only having seen her disastrous performance at the trials. Although not ideal in that no scholarship money is involved, Chris accepts the offer against the wishes of her father, who currently coaches her. In their time together, Chris and Torry embark on a relationship, each seeing in the other what each doesn't possess, their attraction thus sexual as ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sporting events seen in this movie include such pentathlon events as the one hundred meter hurdles, the shot-put, high jump, long jump, and eight hundred meter long distance race. See more »

Goofs

At 1:06:26, a blue shoe to the left of Chris' marker is no where near the marker, but at 1:06:42, it is next to the marker. See more »

Quotes

Terry Tingloff: All right, one thing ya gotta understand: I could've been a man's coach. Backfield coach, Oregon State: I had the job, I had the job, I actually had the job. You understand? I had the job. Ah, well. Coach of the year. I was coach of the year last year. You know what that means when you're a womens' coach? Jack shit. I mean I could have coached football. Do you actually think that Chuck Knoll has to worry that Franco Harris is gonna cry 'cause Terry Bradshaw won't talk to him? - Hmm? - Jack ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.154 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make Loving Fun
Written by Christine McVie
Sung by Fleetwood Mac
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Pull my finger!"
8 March 2002 | by Aussie StudSee all my reviews

Mariel Hemingway stars in what is perhaps the most defining film of her career, a vehicle that displays her acting talents at what is probably her own 'personal best'.

In "PERSONAL BEST", Mariel is Chris Cahill, a young and attractive bi-sexual athlete competing at the Olympic Team Trials for the 1980 Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles. Her character is defined as somewhat naive, but she is guided through her sexuality phase with the help of Tory Skinner (wonderfully played by Patrice Donnelly). Whether the two characters are lesbian or not is beside the point, what "PERSONAL BEST" tries to deal with is the hardship of having a relationship at a trying time in your life. In this case, both Chris and Tory are competing for a place in the Olympic Team and they both help each other emotionally and physically to achieve their goals.

The two girls both deal with sexual confusion which distracts them on and off the field. Their coach is played by Scott Glenn who plays a hard and despicable character who 'pushes' them too hard to achieve their personal best.

"PERSONAL BEST" is filled with unnecessary nudity including countless scenes inside a sauna where you get to see young female athletes baring all. There are also several explicit sex scenes involving Chris and Tory which would probably not be suitable for younger children. One questionable scene involves Chris and a male athlete/temporary love interest in a bizarre toilet scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie - but other than that, the rest of the film is quite inspirational.

When the movie isn't trying to be serious, there are some comedic moments including a scene where Chris asks Tory to 'pull her finger'. Another thing "PERSONAL BEST" successfully achieves is building a story around a 'lesbian relationship' without delving into silly stereo-types and cliché's that spoiled other films of the same time (ie. "WINDOWS" and "THE LONELY LADY").

When it all boils down to it, what drove Chris and Tory to achieve their personal best was not endless training and their physical attributes, but their love and friendship for each other which was something that would probably last forever. "PERSONAL BEST" is a film about athletics and it is also a love story.

Yes, Mariel Hemingway has starred in a lot of trash (ie. "LIPSTICK", "SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE", "BAD MOON") - but it is "PERSONAL BEST" which I remember her the most for. Patrice Connelly was also a very good actress, but she has since retired from acting after appearing in only two films. This movie brought back a lot of memories about the 70's and the 80's and how innocent love could be in times that weren't so troubled.

I highly recommend this film, not just for sports enthusiasts, but for also those who are seeking a romantic love story.

My rating - 8 out of 10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 June 1982 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Personal Best See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,672,311

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,672,311
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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Geffen Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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