Prefontaine (1997)

Prefontaine

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

In the early 1970s Steve Prefontaine wowed the world when he broke every American track and field record for 2,000-10,000 meter racing. This documentary-style drama chronicles his life, focusing on the 1972 Olympic loss that turned the brassy, selfish youth into a sterling human being who fought for athlete's rights.

Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Steve James, Eugene Corr
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 3, 2002
Runtime:

Cast


as Steve Prefontaine

as Bill Bowerman

as Bill Dellinger

as Nancy Alleman

as Elfriede Prefontaine

as Mac Wilkins

as Elaine Finley

as Pat Tyson

as Mac Wilkins

as Curtis Cunningham

as Ray Prefontaine

as Jeff Galloway

as Finnish Teammate

as 12 Year Old Black

as 3rd Airport Reporter

as Patron No. 1

as German Security

as Dick Burke

as Thomas Becker

as Patron No. 2

as NCAA Press

as NCAA Press

as German Soldier

as Lasse Viren

as Olympic Trials Repor...

as James Buck

as U of O Reporter

as Bar Patron

as Gary Powers

as German Newscaster

as Frank Shorter

as Reporter at Village ...

as Munich Stadium Offic...

as Himself

as 1st Reporter at Airp...

as Finnish Runner

as Neighborhood Man

as Olympic Village Repo...

as Man on Winding Road

as Track Official

as German Security Girl

as Reporter at Trailer ...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Prefontaine

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (11)

Prefontaine gets to the finish line in reasonable shape despite plenty of sloppy running along the way.

Full Review… | March 14, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Disappointingly colorless and squeaky-clean.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Though it is always pleasant and agreeable, this film has the bland and undemanding texture that characterizes movies made for network TV.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

James tries too hard to bring closure to Pre's life, and, as a result, strays a little too far into melodrama. The tearful reminiscences at the end, not to mention some of the stuff at the funeral, lay it on thickly.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
ReelViews
Top Critic

Here is a sports movie in the tradition of the best sportswriting, where athletes are portrayed warts and all. You do not have to be nice to win races, but you have to be good.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The Super-16mm film stock gives the film a grainy look that blends in artfully with the vintage videotape of ABC's '72 Olympics coverage.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Prefontaine

Good sports movie. Pre-rock star Jared Leto...

itsjustme2004
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Sports films are boring and if "Chariots of Fire" taught us anything, that rule applies even to films where we get a close view of people running. Wow, when you say it, that actually does sound boring, but not in your head and, well, not here. Man, Jared Leto and his charisma cracked the code and made an entertaining sports film. Of course, what can you expect from a rocker? Oh wait, he's contemporary. Sorry Jared, but no matter how much you yell about kings and queens, if you're not playing Freddie Mercury, I'm not interested, but mostly because you've got to get back into films, because no matter what Edward Norton says, that beautiful thing of yours called acting is far from destroyed... I said only having just seen film he did almost "fifteen" ago. Still, when his career was first blooming, ... Jared Leto was already in movies no one had heard about, which isn't to say that he wasn't good in them, because he really was, and although he carries this film, he doesn't entirely carry it away from its flaws.

As I said earlier, the film isn't particularly boring, like most sports films, but I never said that it wasn't captivating. It's not that the subject isn't fascinating, which it is, but the themes they use in the film, while rather inventive in the biopic genre, aren't handled very well. The film features segments where they show a montage of interviews with Prefontaine's loved ones. It's not quite like "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", for instead of incorporating that theme in every now and then, this film overdoes that for a long time, making the film feel so much like a documentary and stripping of it of its intimate tone, leaving to feel hollow and unengaging. However, those segments come and go, but when they do finally go, there's such a dent left by the documentary theme and the transitions between the themes are barely palpable, making it hard to get back into the film. Still, getting back into the film would be a much more demanding task were it not for, of course... the great soundtrack. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the acting.

Ed O'Neill and R. Lee Ermey are playing... well, Ed O'Neill and R. Lee Ermey. Still, the two are as charismatic as a coach can get and they work wonders off of Jared Leto, establishing a chemistry that's not terribly explored, yet strong enough for you to enjoy their time together. Still, no matter what, if it's a scene with Jared Leto, it's enjoyable. Okay, now, as much as I've been praising him, he's not terribly stellar, but only because he's not written to be. Still, what he is given to do he milk's for all it's worth with his charisma, emoting and captivatingly striking authenticity as Steve Prefontaine. Still, he's not simply tranforming into Prefontaine. Prefontaine, himself, went through some changes, and Leto's impressively careful, but effective execution of every layer and characteristic in Prefontaine really does top off his transformation and makes him quite a strong enough lead to carry this film from its beginning to its solid ending.

At the end of the race, its messily-handled storytelling techniques put a dent in the engagement value, but with a strong story, carried by an excellent Jared Leto and his chemistry with the charming cast, "Prefontaine" ultimately stands as an entertaining and satisfying study on the rise of the late, great legend of the track.

3/5 - Good

Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

While there seem to be many different opinions on weather or not the facts in the film are accurate, the fact remains that this was a fantastic movie that perfectly illustrated the drive and determination that made pre a national icon. Jared Leto is amazing as well. Based on his other work, to be honest, I didn't think he had it in him, but he really surprised me and does an excellent job with the role. It's inspirational and a great tribute to a great man. I would definatly suggest seeing it!.

Tss807
Todd Smith

Super Reviewer

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