The First Olympics: Athens 1896 Reviews
The incredible achievement of a French Man unifying many countries to compete for Olympic Glory which was quite a new concept.
The film is far to focused on the US Team but they did have the most trouble arriving to Athens due to mix up of dates. Acting is so so but the history is rich & entertaining I found it quite enthralling despite its 4 hour length.
The cast is actually quite excellent. While the script can occasionally slip into cheesiness, the actors deliver the lines with a style that makes it feel genuine. I'm also impressed by the simple cuts and filming styles which make it very convincing that these actors are actually competing in the athletic competitions shown. I couldn't even tell you which of the moments were the actual actors performing the athletic scene, and which were body doubles. Perhaps the most wasted talent was Angela Lansbury who, like most of the women in this film, had very few scenes in order to make an impression.
Like any film of this nature, I'm confident it is not very historically accurate. It was made primarily to entertain. I'm not sure how far down "teaching history" was on the priority list, but I imagine only in Hollywood could things be so ideal. However this doesn't bother me in the least. I watch this miniseries for the entertainment, and it definitely delivers on that front. It is even to the point where I find myself almost cheering for the athletes and tearing up because of their magical moments. Perhaps the only big problem in The First Olympics are those moments when it delves too deep into side stories in the athletes' lives. Similar to modern day Olympic coverage I find myself saying "Just get back to the action." Then it does and I'm enjoying it all again. Just a fun little miniseries that I'm glad I was hooked on 27 years ago.