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Champions (1984)

The true story of Bob Champion, a British steeple chase jockey who, in the late 1970s, was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than succumb to the disease, however, Bob stages a miraculous ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(book), (book) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Bob Champion
Gregory Jones ... Peter
... Snowy
... Valda Embiricos
... Jo Beswick
... Nick Embiricos
... Josh Gifford
... Burly Cocks
... Barbara
... Mary Hussey
... Mr. Griffith Jones
Ceri Jackson ... 1st Nurse
Francesca Brill ... 2nd Nurse
... Graham
... Dr. Merrow
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Storyline

The true story of Bob Champion, a British steeple chase jockey who, in the late 1970s, was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than succumb to the disease, however, Bob stages a miraculous recovery and goes on to win the 1981 Grand National steeple chase on the horse Aldaniti. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A true story [International]


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bajnokok  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$54,262, 22 April 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$54,262, 29 April 1984
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First cinema film of Alison Steadman. See more »

Goofs

During the race, a riderless, grey horse with the number 45 is seen amongst the runners. No grey horse ran in the 1981 Grand National. See more »

Quotes

Bill: You're a lucky man.
Bob Champion: So they said.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Demons (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Sometimes
Music by Carl Davis
Lyric by Norman Newell
Sung by Elaine Paige
(Deleted from general release print)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lovely true story which serves as an inspiration to us all.
13 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

Cinema audiences have always enjoyed sporting dramas in which the underdog triumphs against the odds. Champions goes one step further in that it takes its plot from the true story of Bob Champion, an English jockey whose quest to win the Grand National was jeopardised by health problems to himself and his horse. The film is very conventional and workmanlike in its approach, but it tells such a remarkable story (if it wasn't a true story, you'd accuse it of being too far-fetched) that it's hard not to find it alternately absorbing, moving and inspiring.

Bob Champion (John Hurt) is a successful jockey who learns that a swollen bruise picked up in a horse fall has turned cancerous. Initially believing that he will be treated quickly and painlessly and back in the saddle in next to no time, Champion soon finds his plans in tatters as the illness is diagnosed as much more serious than originally thought. After months of chemotherapy and drugs, he emerges from hospital a thin, weak, pale, aged shell of his former self. He can barely walk, barely ride a pony around a patch of garden, barely feel a thing. Against the odds, Champion pushes himself to the limit to restore his health. However, during his illness his favourite horse, Aldaniti - aboard which he dreams of having a crack at the Grand National - suffers a severe injury. Can both man and horse get fit in time for the most gruelling race of them all? And even if they recover in time to enter, do they have a chance in hell of winning?

Hurt is excellent as Champion, a not-always likable man who often upset those around him in his stubborn yet determined journey to the Grand National. The scenes of Champion's treatment are quite punishing and vividly show a man on the brink of despair. Just as effective is the exciting climax in which Champion's fairy-tale comeback becomes a reality. There are some overly-stylised slow motion scenes of horses galloping across the horizon which don't feel quite right in this film, and some of the subsidiary characters are under-developed, but these are the only significant flaws in an otherwise well-made film. If you don't find yourself emotionally stirred when Champion races his way into everyones' hearts - as well as the history books - check your pulse... you may be dead!!!


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