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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 »

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

Bob Champion (book), Jonathan Powell (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Bob Champion
Gregory Jones Gregory Jones ... Peter
Mick Dillon ... Snowy
Ann Bell ... Valda Embiricos
Jan Francis ... Jo Beswick
Peter Barkworth ... Nick Embiricos
Edward Woodward ... Josh Gifford
Ben Johnson ... Burly Cocks
Kirstie Alley ... Barbara
Alison Steadman ... Mary Hussey
Jonathan Newth ... Mr. Griffith Jones
Ceri Jackson Ceri Jackson ... 1st Nurse
Francesca Brill Francesca Brill ... 2nd Nurse
Andrew Wilde ... Graham
Judy Parfitt ... Dr. Merrow
Learn more

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apart from Bob Champion, two other Grand National winning jockeys are also featured in this movie, John Buckingham, who won in 1967 on Foinavon, and John Burke, who won in 1976 on Rag Trade. See more »

Goofs

At the start of the film, Bob Champion and Aldaniti are seen winning a race at Chepstow racecourse. Aldaniti never raced at Chepstow. See more »

Quotes

Richard Hussey: He offered you a ride, didn't he?
Bob Champion: Thornton, Tuesday week.
Mrs. Champion: Well it's nice to be remembered.
See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 20 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drew: The Man Behind the Poster (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Lovely true story which serves as an inspiration to us all.
13 February 2005 | by barnabyrudgeSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bajnokok See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$54,262, 22 April 1984

Gross USA:

$200,498

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$200,498
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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