The Games (1970)

G   |    |  Drama, Sport

The Games (1970) Poster

Four marathon runners (one from England, one from the U.S., a Czechoslovakian, and an Australian Aborigine) prepare to run in the Olympic games. The film follows each one and shows what their motivations are for running in the games.



  • Charles Aznavour and Michael Crawford in The Games (1970)
  • Michael Crawford in The Games (1970)
  • Stanley Baker and Michael Crawford in The Games (1970)
  • Stanley Baker and Michael Crawford in The Games (1970)
  • The Games (1970)
  • The Games (1970)

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9 June 2004 | Poseidon-3
Fairly realistic depiction of runners at work.
A more apt title might have been "The Marathon" since really this film deals more with that than the actual Olympic Games. In it, four runners, with disparate backgrounds, train and train in preparation for the big day when they will run 26 miles in just over two hours. Crawford plays a gawky and gangly milkman who, even in dress shoes, can outrun members of a local track team. Eventually, he is given a chance to improve himself under the direction of surly, obsessive coach Baker while girlfriend Taylor mopes. O'Neal is a cocky American who often doesn't push himself as far as he is capable of going and who drinks and cavorts regularly, activities which usually are an athlete's no-no. Compton is a simple Aborigine whose talents are being exploited for gambling profit by the thoughtless Kemp. Finally, Aznavour plays the world record holder - The Iron Man - who comes back into the fray to retain his title. To say that the editing is brisk on this film is an understatement. It's positively MTV-ish for the time it was made, though it occasionally verges on the choppy. The acting, for the most part, is fine. Crawford takes a while to seem realistic rather than comic, but eventually gets there. Baker digs deeply into his part and turns in a memorable performance. O'Neal was well cast for his role (and his then-wife Leigh Taylor-Young even pops up unbilled as a girl he wins in a drinking contest!) Compton is no actor, but manages to get by on an innate charm. Kemp has one of his most showy and prominent roles and enjoys himself fully. Aznavour has little to do (and is about the last thing one would expect to see as an Iron Man!), but he does all right. His child in the film has GOT to go down in history as one of the least attractive screen children EVER! There's a lot of great globe-trotting scenery, a nice trip into the world of 1970 and a cast that's peppered with decent British actors (not to mention an early appearance by handsome, baritone-voiced Elliott.) This isn't a spellbinding film, but it's a nice slice-of-life look at the backgrounds of these men and a glimpse into what it takes to attempt a marathon run. Until the big race, the stories rotate constantly, which helps with the pacing (though O'Neal is offscreen for a shockingly long time near the beginning.) Other interesting factors in the film include the politics of the Games and the depiction of racial relations in Australia. Widescreen viewing is recommended.

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