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The Armstrong Lie (2013)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 110
Fresh: 92 | Rotten: 18

Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 3

Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 5,258

My Rating

Movie Info

In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong's comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong's confession. (c) Sony Classics


Documentary, Sports & Fitness, Special Interest

Alex Gibney

Feb 11, 2014


Sony Pictures Classic - Official Site External Icon

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November 8, 2013:
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All Critics (110) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (92) | Rotten (18)

What will take your breath away is how viciously Armstrong crushed and humiliated anyone who dared to make allegations against him,

January 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the movie includes enough details about the physiology, strategy and marketing of bike racing to satisfy some of our curiosity, other questions remain unanswered.

December 12, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The tale has plenty of resonance off the race course. As sportswriter Dan Coyle says in the film, "It's not a story about doping, it's a story about power."

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Armstrong Lie" simply offers up the Armstrong lie. Sorry, but we've all already heard that one.

November 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Armstrong Lie is eye-opening and myth-shattering and more than a little depressing.

November 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gibney gives the truth as full an airing as seems humanly possible, given that the subject is a world-class liar.

November 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Armstrong Lie is a very good sports documentary, but doesn't reach far enough to become one of the best nonfiction films of the year.

June 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Nonfics

[A]nother brilliant documentary from the ever-incisive Alex Gibney... not about cycling but the power of celebrity...

May 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

The lie is the least of it in Gibney's personal documentary

May 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

INCISIVE as it is infuriating, The Armstrong Lie chronicles the greatest fraud ever perpetuated in the history of organised sport.

March 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

It's an open wound of a documentary, sure, yet there is a pervasive sense Armstrong is using it as another means to redeem his public reputation...You might well find yourself sympathising with him more than reason would otherwise allow.

March 15, 2014 Full Review Source: 3AW

The Armstrong Lie gives great insight into a champion sportsman whose position at the top of his game meant he thought he could get away with anything.

March 12, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's a meticulous examination of a particularly ruthless brand of power game-playing.

March 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Gibney's gripping documentary is a breathtaking expose, not only of cyclist Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat, but one that explores deep into the culture of the sport of cycling and its intrinsic doping problems

March 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

It's a compelling story, though it doesn't really sustain a two-hour plus running time.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

The Armstrong Lie presents an interesting perspective on him, and on his role in the science of doping.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

The Armstrong Lie is a fascinating portrait of a man in denial, told from the firsthand perspective of Gibney, who himself was duped at a certain level by Armstrong's own confidence and charm.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source:

We see an athlete for whom winning came before any sense of sportsmanship, catalysed by a cognitive dissonance that saw him come to believe his own lies.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Irish Independent
Irish Independent

It's entirely possible you can't get to the heart of Armstrong because there is no heart, but I'd like to have seen someone have a go.

February 5, 2014 Full Review Source: The Spectator
The Spectator

As for the historical record of [Armstrong's] legacy, Gibney's doc makes a good first draft.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Armstrong comes across as both admirably resilient and frighteningly selfish, his treatment of those who crossed him (teammates with whom he doped, for example) tellingly callous, his refusal to be beaten bizarrely engaging.

February 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Power must never be mistaken for virtue, warns Gibney, and self-regulation doesn't work. Even the best of us need to be kept an eye on.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

This biographical documentary about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong feels eerily gentle compared to filmmaker Alex Gibney's recent films, the WikiLeaks doc We Steal Secrets and the Catholic priest expose Mea Maxima Culpa.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source:

Forensic detail is, one supposes, a little less easy to flog than damp-eyed talking heads. But one can't help but feel this film leaves an even more interesting story untold.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

A worthy effort but Armstrong remains a tough nut to crack.

January 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

The least convincing Alex Gibney documentary I have seen.

January 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Audience Reviews for The Armstrong Lie

Alex Gibney is a great documentary director. Every film I've seen of his has been informative and entertaining in equal measure, whether or not I was interested or even aware of the source material, more often than not I soon was thanks to him. Well, until now anyway. I don't know much about professional Cycling but I know Lance Armstrong is synonymous in the world of two wheels. I know he's struggled in his career, is (was) highly regarded and I also know he took performance enhancing drugs. I had hoped to have learned a little more than that during the 2 hour long film but I didn't. I can't help but compare this documentary to James Erskine's Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist. It was far more compelling, told me something about someone and a subject I didn't already know about and without it I probably wouldn't have understood half or the Armstrong Documentary. The archive footage wasn't particularly interesting and the interviews with the man himself were nothing short of dull. After 2 hours I felt like I'd cycled the Tour De France; elated that it was over and completely exhausted. For the hard core only.
July 24, 2014

Super Reviewer

I think it's probably the most honest Armstrong has been. A hugely informative and amazingly unbelievable documentary that just astounds me as to how he manage to get away with it for so long.
July 22, 2014
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Infuriating and illuminating documentary, The Armstrong Lie is a fascinating film about how Lance Armstrong got caught doping during the Tour de France. With this film, director Alex Gibney goes in depth into how Armstrong was pulling it off for years, while in the midst getting away with it right up until he decided to do a comeback. Featuring a plateau of great interviews with those involved, including Lance Armstrong. The film answers all the questions you asked yourself when this whole ordeal first came about. In terms of a documentary, The Armstrong Lie is a standout film. This film is one that is engaging from start the first frame onwards especially due to its subject matter. The film is an important documentary and it really goes deep into the doping controversy. Director Alex Gibney crafts a great movie, and it is one of 2013's finest genre films. To those interested in what happened, this is the film to watch. The Armstrong Lie shows us how he doped and how he deceived everyone. The content is infuriating and you simply can't come to understand how this guy could have pulled this off. The film shows how a once great athlete fell from grace through deception and lied in order to keep his credibility. The Armstrong Lie is a well executed documentary that grabs your attention, and with such a subject at his disposal, director Alex Gibney has made a movie that exposes a cheat for exactly what he is, a liar who took everyone for a fool.
February 13, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

I am glad I saw this documentary... not because I didn't know that he was a liar, but for the simple fact that I found more details how some of the things were done. Of course, we will never find out the other, real villains, who got the most of those $125 million Lance Armstrong collected... and didn't save a single life! Yes, all these kids with cancer die after the chemo therapy, that is a fact! They had much more chance praying if you check the statistics, but Armstrong was just little piece of the big lie puzzle. Well, better to go back to the movie! This documentary safely directed by Alex Gibney is all about the cyclist Lance Armstrong which he set out to do in 2009 after a four-year retirement from the sport. Following a doping investigation that led to his lifetime ban from competition and the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong went back to Gibney to set the record straight about his career.

You cannot get rid of the feeling that this is just one more lie with pieces of truth, made for benefit of everyone involved. The results will tell, but for me, this was a solid documentary which never took me to any heights, except some emotional reaction when I saw those poor kids and their parents, spending thousands of dollars for useless suffering in the experimental labs of the big pharmaceutical industries, to whom Lance Armstrong's life story suited really well! It was a tasty documentary and absorbing most of the time but never reached anything exceptional or extraordinary. It will be something I watched and stored in my memory archives, without filing it in the "to be remembered" section!
February 21, 2014
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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