Every other week of this year, Half Horse Half Man will be watching greatest running movies of all time – total of 26 + 2 documentaries. Please join us in this Half Horse Half Man 26.2 Movie Marathon!
This is the second 13.1 Half of the list, sorted by production year from the newest to oldest from 1998 to 1951. The first 13.1 Half Movie Marathon (2015 – 1999) can be found here: The 26.2 Movie Marathon – The Best Running Movies (1st Half).
14. Without Limits (1998)
Before Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) makes it to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he is an unlikely track star at the University of Oregon. At school, after Steve initially clashes with coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) over his style of front-running — running the race at maximum speed from beginning to end — he develops a strong bond with the man. Steve also has a profound effect on a beautiful co-ed named Mary (Monica Potter), who becomes the object of his affection.
15. Prefontaine (1997)
Prefontaine is a 1997 American biographical film chronicling the life of the American long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine and his death at age 24. Jared Leto plays the title character and R. Lee Ermey plays Bill Bowerman. The film was written by Steve James and Eugene Corr, and directed by James. Prefontaine tells the story from the point of view of Bill Dellinger, played by Ed O’Neill, the assistant coach who was with him day-to-day, and Nancy Alleman, the runner’s girlfriend at the time of his death.
16. Across the Tracks (1991)
Well-meaning, predictable family melodrama. Like all movie brothers, the Maloney siblings, Billy (Rick Shroder) and Joe (Brad Pitt), are a study in contrasts. Hardworking Joe juggles a job, education and competitive running; he’s a model son to their single mother (Carrie Snodgress).
Moody, alienated Billy is a neighborhood pariah: paroled after a narcotics offense, he hangs out with his drug-dealing buddies. Joe urges Billy to join the high school track team himself, and in trite-and-true fashion the noble sporting activity helps reform the delinquent. But while Billy’s star rises on the field, Joe gives in to jealousy and resentment, especially when Billy proves to be the superior runner. Joe starts drinking heavily, jeopardizing his scholarship, and now black-sheep Billy must rescue the wayward sibling.
17. On the Edge (1986)
Banned from competition 20 years ago for exposing payoffs in amateur athletics, former long-distance runner Wes Holman (Bruce Dern) decides to enter the Cielo-Sea Race, a punishing, mountainous footrace in the Pacific Northwest. The competition has bested many younger runners, but by seeking the help of his old coach (John Marley) and reconnecting with his ex-lover (Pam Grier) and father (Bill Bailey), the middle-aged Wes may be ready to take on more than a race.
18. Running Brave (1983)
Running Brave is a 1983 movie based on the story of Billy Mills, a North American Indian brought up on the reservation, destined against all odds to become the best distance runner in the world in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
In one of the great upsets in sports history, distance runner Billy Mills sprinted from 3rd place and took the gold medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Mills is still the only American in history to accomplish this feat. Robby Benson portrays Mills, the Oglala Sioux who left the reservation in the late 1950s for his date with Destiny. Pat Hingle and a young Graham Greene also star. D.S. Everett directs.
19. Personal Best (1982)
Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track star Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly). At first the two women form a friendship as Tory and her coach (Scott Glenn) help Chris with her training. Gradually, Tory and Chris start having a sexual relationship and become very close. Their intimacy becomes complicated when Chris’ improvement causes them to be competitors for the Olympic team.
20. Chariots of Fire (1981)
In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian born to Scottish missionaries in China, sees running as part of his worship of God’s glory and refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias, but neglects his beloved sweetheart Sybil (Alice Krige) in his single-minded quest.
21. The Jericho Mile (1979)
Larry “Rain” Murphy (Peter Strauss) is stuck in Folsom Prison for life on a first-degree murder charge. An inmate who prefers to be alone, Murphy spends much of his time running around the facility’s track. When he begins reaching a mile in under four minutes, Murphy gains the attention of the jail’s officials, who contemplate entering him in the Olympics. While Murphy is initially resistant to the idea, eventually he starts training to be an Olympic competitor.
22. Running (1979)
Once-promising long-distance runner Michael Andropolis (Michael Douglas) is given one last shot to prove himself when he’s allowed a chance to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. Incapable of competing without somehow sabotaging himself — either on the field or in real life — Michael has alienated both his wife, Janet (Susan Anspach), and his training coach (Lawrence Dane). But, knowing that this is his very last shot at greatness, he endeavors to give it everything he can.
23. Marathon Man (1976)
Thomas “Babe” Levy (Dustin Hoffman) is a Columbia graduate student and long-distance runner who is oblivious to the fact that his older brother, Doc (Roy Scheider), is a government agent chasing down a Nazi war criminal (Laurence Olivier) — that is, until Doc is murdered and Babe finds himself knee-deep in a tangle of stolen gems and sadistic madmen. Even his girlfriend, Elsa (Marthe Keller), becomes a suspect as everything Babe believed to be true is suddenly turned upside down.
24. Second Wind (1976)
This story is about a successful executive and family man who takes up jogging for a hobby and finds inspiration by watching Kip Keino and Pekka Vasala sprinting to the finish. Soon his desire to excel as a long distance runner interferes with his career and marriage.
25. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
Fleet-footed Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay) is a rebellious teenager in the poverty-stricken town of Nottingham, in northern England, who enjoys running as an escape from his harsh reality. Caught stealing cash from a bakery, Colin is sent to a reform school where the manipulative governor (Michael Redgrave) promotes sports as rehabilitation by enlisting Colin in a foot race against a prestigious rival school. What the governor doesn’t realize is that Colin is not so easily disciplined.
26. Jim Thorpe: All-American (1951)
In this stirring biographical drama, young Native American Jim Thorpe (Burt Lancaster) pursues his dreams of athletic stardom. Mentored by a devoted coach (Charles Bickford), Thorpe succeeds at track before becoming a renowned football hero and an Olympic athlete. While remarkably accomplished on the field, Thorpe faces obstacles in his pursuit of becoming a professional coach, and also finds challenges in his love life, with its disappointments and heartaches that he must struggle to overcome.
.2 Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story (1995)
The legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine blazed across tracks and into America’s consciousness before meeting a tragic death in an auto accident at the age of 24. In this tribute to “Pre,” narrated by writer Ken Kesey, a number of his contemporaries speak movingly of him as an athlete and a person. After setting high school running records in his native Oregon, Prefontaine went on to the University of Oregon, where as a freshman he began to dominate the American track scene and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was a distinctive character and archival films demonstrate the charisma and astounding confidence he brought to his sport. His race in the 5,000 meters at the 1972 Munich Olympics is shown in detail, with other runners in the race offering commentary on the gutsy performance of the 21-year-old. Pre didn’t win a medal in the race, but as his sister puts it, the race “matured him” and made him determined to win gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics (which he wouldn’t live to do). Though one of the world’s best athletes, after college he was forced to survive on food stamps, and he became a spokesman for the plight of amateur athletes. This is a touching look at a brilliant athlete and a charming character who still inspires runners today.