Downhill Racer (1969)
Critic Consensus: Downhill Racer plunges the viewer thrillingly into the action of the sport -- and continues to hold the attention as a thoughtful drama.
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as David Chappellet
as Eugene Claire
as Carole Stahl
as Johnny Creech
as American Newspaperwoman
as D.K. Bryan
as Tony Kipsmith
as Ron Engel
as Mr. Chappellet, Davis's Father
as Bruce Devore
as Tommy Erb
as Ron Engel
as TV Announcer
as Austrian Journalist
as Skier No. 16
as Hotel Receptionist
as Candy Vendor
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Critic Reviews for Downhill Racer
A modest effort but a good one. It may be the first film in history that starts at the top, goes steadily downhill, and still stays interesting along the way.
We share the skier's point of view. We hear every whoosh and scrape. When a skier wipes out on the slopes, it's the real deal. Watching this film, I often felt like I should be wearing a helmet.
Downhill Racer doesn't always work... As a look at how [Robert] Redford's character and those orbiting him spend their time between runs, however, it's superb.
Several shots are positively astonishing when you consider that they are in no way manipulated or digitally altered, simply a man on skis flying down a hill with a 40-pound film camera in his hands.
Audience Reviews for Downhill Racer
One of Redford's best as the American ski team tries to shake up the European dominated sport on its home turf. I particularly enjoyed the small town Yank abroad aspect of the piece though the ski sequences are formidable, exhilarating. And it looks as if they shot it last year, not 40+ years ago.
I liked the fact that it went away from the total cliches of most sports films and thought it was interesting to see Redford play such a almost souless person whose entire existence is about going faster and ultimately winning. You can't help but think of Redford as ballsy for putting his good looking charmer clout on the line with performances like this. He is not likable in the least sense, but I enjoyed watching him and kind of understood where he was coming from even if he was being a complete asshole about it. I also loved the way the film was shot almost like a documentary and it made you feel as if you were on the slopes with him whereas now they would just prop him up in front of a green screen and call it a day. Overall, just one of those gems from the period that I don't think will ever rise again.
Well crafted film (about to be released on Criterion) about the US ski team in the late 60's. Micheal Ritchie creates a very real film that is almost like watching a Maysles' documentary at times (who could have foreseen he would go on to make movies like Bad News Bears and Fletch). Redford plays a role he perfected in his career, like Roy Hobbs, a no-nonsense talent who just wants to do the job his way without any b.s.. Hackman also portrays a character he would become well known for, the determined coach. Great camerawork and a great ending.
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