Prefontaine - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Prefontaine Reviews

Page 1 of 17
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2017
Some have criticized "Prefontaine" as too bland, colorless, akin to a tv movie. Those people probably hated Rocky, The Karate Kid, and The Natural too. No, this is a well-made film, inspirational, and also received two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert. Much of the story is told as flashbacks by the people in his life, long after his death--mother, father, girlfriends, and coaches.

As opposed to the Warner Brothers bio of Steve Prefontaine "Without Limits," this film makes more use of other people in "Pre's" life, especially his parents and his high-school girlfriend.
No one could fault either actors' performance as the iconic "Pre." Both actors bear an uncanny resemblance to the real man, even his upright running style. Analyzing the Olympic scenes of both the real guy and the actor, its hard to distinguish the two. Prefontaine spends more time on the Olympic hostage crisis, a good lesson for those who may have forgotten or never knew what happened there.

One amusing difference between the two films is the explanation for how Pre hurt his foot (requiring stiches) on the eve of his first NCAA championship meet. In "Without Limits" it resulted from some acrobatic sex with a local girl, while it was a foolish swimming stunt in "Prefontaine."

Any critic must recognize "Prefontaine" as an example of the great work Jared Leto has created since this film. His version of Pre is more combative, determined than Billy Crudup's. He's not trying to win any popularity contests, although both films stress Pre's confrontational attitude with those governing amateur American athletics at the time. The film is about fighting the establishment and hypocrisy but even more about single-minded determination and not allowing any limitation to stand in the way of achievement.

Lesson for life both films drive home: While winning is important, giving every things you have every second is more important. Pre was quoted prior to competing in the 5,000 meter race at the the Munich Olympics: "if it's a guts race, I'm the only one that can win."

I hope the folks at The University of Oregon appreciate this film; it's a testanment to the greatness not only of Pre but also Bill Bowerman, and the whole track program. I know it sold me as the preeminent track school, the gateway to Olympic gold.

It is hard to imagine such a monumental cultural impact on sport and culture coming from a track athlete, but it really happened-Nike co-founder Phil Knight compared him to Muhammed Ali, and the obvious comparison is to actor James Dean. I highly recommend this film to track and field fans and also movie-lovers who cherish true-life inspirational stories.
June 3, 2017
It doesn't feel quite as impacting as another Steve Prefontaine movie I like known as Without Limits, but this one is still fairly and uniquely crafted and well commemorates the American runner.
½ April 14, 2017
A nicely crafted docudrama that just doesn't work because of the sleaziness of its egomaniacal protagonist.
½ January 1, 2017
Jared Leto. ??????
June 8, 2016
got me running soon after watching with new found inspiration. I love it!
½ May 30, 2015
great film,very consistent plot,most importantly,showed all the highlights of Steve Prefontaine's life.great perfomance by Jared Leto.
May 18, 2015
good bio-pic/sports drama
½ May 10, 2015
Leno shows his chops as he carries this clunker to the finish line.
January 10, 2015
A great video of one of the best runners the US has ever spawned. Notice the actual footage of the hostage crisis in the Olympic Village in Munich. Flash forward to this week in France, 43 years later. Eery!.
½ November 7, 2014
While Leto is charismatic and engaging as Prefontaine, the film never really takes off, and turns out to be a formulaic approach to a biopic. Even though this film beat Without Limits to the screens, it wasn't about the sprint, but the distance, and Without Limits went much further in satisfaction.
½ April 10, 2014
Catching up on pre Oscar winning Jared Leto. Man, he was good. But clearly a man who moves to the beat of his own drum since he gave up films for rock.
March 14, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
December 7, 2012
Like Jared Leto's choices :) will see one day maybe...
November 25, 2012
There were 2 films released about Prefontaine at the same time. This was the better one.
½ October 19, 2012
Having a brother-in-law from Oregon who gave me Steve Prefontaine's back story, when I literally knew nothing about him prior, created a great interest in me to see the film. And although I found it to be textbook I also found it to be affective & entertaining. I give all the performances high praise.
½ August 21, 2012
great movie on Pre, didnt really follow his life, but was done well like a doc.
August 6, 2012
Pulling a great one out of the archives... perfect timing if you are into the Olympics. 5 star bio pic, enjoy!
July 31, 2012
Lookin forward to seeing this film!
July 31, 2012
A must see for any track or cross country runner. Steve Prefontaine portrayed by Jarred Leto was one of Americas Olympic hopefuls in the 1970's who tragically had his life cut short in an automobile accident.
This film follows his short but interesting life and his relationship with his coach and founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman. With the 2012 Olympics here it's a great film to celebrate u.s. olympians past.
Page 1 of 17