Downhill Racer (1969)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

An ambitious young skier, determined to break all existing records, is contemptuous of the teamwork advocated by the US coach when they go to Europe for the Olympics.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures

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Robert Redford
as David Chappellet
Gene Hackman
as Eugene Claire
Camilla Sparv
as Carole Stahl
Jim McMullan
as Johnny Creech
Kathleen Crowley
as American Newspaperwoman
Kenneth Kirk
as D.K. Bryan
Oren Stevens
as Tony Kipsmith
Jerry Dexter
as Ron Engel
Walter Stroud
as Mr. Chappellet, Davis's Father
Rip McManus
as Bruce Devore
Joe Jay Jalbert
as Tommy Erb
Tom J. Kirk
as Stiles
Peter Rohr
as Boyriven
Marco Walli
as Istel
Rudi Gertsch
as Selznick
James Sandoe
as Spectator
Jenny Dexter
as Ron Engel
Noam Pitlik
as TV Announcer
Walter Gnilka
as Austrian Journalist
Werner J. Heyking
as Helgerson
Harald Schreiber
as Oliviera
Harald Dietl
as Journalist
Alexander Stampfer
as Skier No. 16
Robert Brendlin
as Announcer
Michael Gempart
as Hotel Receptionist
Jack Ballard
as Candy Vendor
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News & Interviews for Downhill Racer

Critic Reviews for Downhill Racer

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | November 18, 2009
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

An intriguing film that balances skiing and the majesty of Alpine scenery with an absorbing story of hero Robert Redford, young American innocent abroad.

Full Review… | December 10, 2007
Top Critic

The location skiing sequences, revealing Ritchie's background and interest in documentary styles, are simply astounding, even for those with little interest in the sport.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The best movie ever made about sports -- without really being about sports at all.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The sort of somber, minimalist drama that can only be found in the cinema of the late 1960s and early '70s.

Full Review… | December 12, 2015
Creative Loafing

Criterion offers a very solid Blu-ray refurbishing of Michael Ritchie and Robert Redford's striking existentialist skier fable, though those awaiting a significant expansion of the label's prior 2009 package will be disappointed.

Full Review… | December 2, 2015
Slant Magazine

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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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.

Tim Sigur
Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer


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.

Grifty G
Grifty G

Super Reviewer

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