Critics Consensus

Race is nowhere near as thrillingly fleet or agile as its subject, but the story -- and a winning central performance from Stephan James -- are enough to carry it over the finish line.



Total Count: 152


Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,955
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Movie Info

Race is based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. Race is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man's fight to become an Olympic legend. (c) Focus


Stephan James
as Jesse Owens
Jason Sudeikis
as Larry Snyder
Jeremy Irons
as Avery Brundage
Carice van Houten
as Leni Riefenstahl
William Hurt
as Jeremiah Mahoney
Eli Goree
as Dave Albritton
Shanice Banton
as Ruth Solomon
David Kross
as Carl "Luz" Long
Jonathan Higgins
as Dean Cromwell
Tony Curran
as Lawson Robertson
Barnaby Metschurat
as Josef Goebbels
Chantel Riley
as Quincella
Vlasta Vrana
as St-John
Shamier Anderson
as Eulace Peacock
Jesse Bostick
as Ken Seitz
Moe Jeudy-Lamour
as Mel Walker
Gaetan Normandin
as Frank Wykoff
Dondre Octave
as Ralph Metcalfe
Jeremy Ferdman
as Marty Glickman
Giacomo Gianniotti
as Sam Stoller
Tim McInnerny
as Charles Sherrill
Jonathan Aris
as Alfred J. Lill
Nicholas Woodeson
as Fred Rubien
Larry Day
as Francis Schmidt (Football Coach)
Jon McLaren
as Trent (Ohio Quarterback)
Michele Lonsdale Smith
as Emma Owens (Mother)
Andrew Moodie
as Henry Owens (Father)
Adrian Zwicker
as Adolf Hitler
Bruno Bruni
as Hans Ertl
Marcus Bluhm
as Wolfgang Furstner
Glynn Turman
as Harry Davis
Manuel Sinor
as Starter Franz Miller
Anthony Sherwood
as Reverend Ernest Hall
Karl Graboshas
as Adolf Dassler
Daniel Harroch
as Desk Clerk (Nebraska Hotel)
Matt Keyes
as Reporter
Ricky Watson
as Reporter
Milo Larratt
as Kid (in Hotel Commodore Elevator)
Anian Zollner
as Hans Vons Tschammer
Stefan Langel
as Brownshirt
Eric Davis
as Official (Ferry Field)
Lucinda Davis
as Beauty Parlor Boss
Tim Post
as Phil Diamond (Head Timer Ferry Field)
Jaa Smith-Johnson
as Sylvester Owens (Brother)
John Maclaren
as Announcer (Ferry Field)
James R. Murray
as Brownshirt
Rodney Ramsey
as Henry Jr. Owens (Brother)
Hank Palmer
as Quincy Owens (Brother)
Jacquy Bidjeck
as Laverne Owens (Sister)
Yvanna-Rose Leblanc
as Gloria Owens (4 Years Old)
Kayla Stewart
as Gloria Owens (2 1/2 Years Old)
Jeff Burrell
as US Radio Announcer
Carlo Mestroni
as Announcer (Boxing Match)
Arthur Holden
as Announcer (Radio & USC)
Kimberly Youance
as Local Girl #1
Andrea Carter
as Local Girl #2
Jana Reinhardt
as Jewish Woman
Aiza Ntibarikure
as Jazz Singer
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News & Interviews for Race

Critic Reviews for Race

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (59)

  • Hopkins wants us to believe that the unifying power of sport can overcome the divisiveness of politics, and so he places all subtlety to the side to force this sentimental notion down our throats.

    Jun 3, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • That it remains broadly watchable owes much to James's lean, committed turn, but what's around him often seems to be carving its lightning-bolt history into not stone but easily digestible cheese.

    Jun 2, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Top Critic
  • A glossy, superficial biopic set in a historical context that begs for more, Race can at least claim to be one of the two best movies ever made about Olympic hero/Hitler-embarrasser Jesse Owens.

    Feb 23, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

    Jim Slotek

    Toronto Sun
    Top Critic
  • A wallpaper-thin but sentimentally effective hagiography.

    Feb 22, 2016 | Full Review…
  • The bare necessities are there, the performances are competent, and there are some strong moments but Race suffers from a lack of ambition. It's too safe and that quality mutes its impact and limits its ability to be more than a history lesson.

    Feb 21, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Race is the most timid, lackadaisical movie that could have been made out of potentially classic material.

    Feb 19, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Race

  • Jan 13, 2017
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2016
    True stories about athletes have been the same for decades. An unlikely man becomes the champion in a sport that nobody believed he could. It is has almost become a custom for films of this type, so it all comes down to whether or not the writing does anything new and clever to draw a crowd. While I do not believe Race is the film to win over any new viewers of this particular genre, it is definitely a heartfelt depiction of its main focus in Jesse Owens. Here is why I believe Race is better than the average true story about an athlete, while still following the same tired formula. Against all odds, Jesse Owens (Stephan James) goes from living in a lower-class home with a fairly large family, to very quickly becoming globally known as one of the most talent olympians in history, at the time. Taking place in the mid 1930's and dealing with racism and rights, Race has many more meanings to its title. That is by far the most compelling aspect about this film. The fact that this man was able to sound out the chatter being thrown at him on a daily basis and just focus on his dream, was absolutely inspiring to say the least. That being said, although the core story in Race is compelling, the pacing and lack of excitement is sorely absent. We live in a time where audience members demand superhero battles every 30 seconds in order to be entertained, forgetting about the fact that there are some truly great dramas out there every year that go under the radar. While Race is not a fantastic film that I think should have been seen by everyone, its story is definitely worth the price of admission. On the other hand, the racing throughout this film hardly ever embraces the use of fast or slow motion, leaving out any opportunity to feel what each character is feeling in the moment. Each race plays out more like a live-television event, but if that it what they were going for, job well-done. I personally felt extremely let down by this, feeling no sense of excitement, and being a 130-minute film, it began to drag fairly quickly. Pairing Jason Sudeikis as his mentor was a very questionable choice right off the bat, but quite honestly, he may just be the best part of this film. The deep character moments between him and Stephan James were tremendous and you truly believed that they shared this chemistry in real life. James' chemistry with his significant other, played enjoyable well by Shanice Banton, was off the charts and had me slightly tearing up every time they were on screen together. Of all the great character moments throughout this film, you would think that it would be a more compelling story, but the core of this film is about Owens' racing, which is probably the least interesting aspect about it. While I was able to find much more enjoyment than disappointment throughout the duration of this picture, it goes without saying that it could have been a much tighter script in the end. Overall, Race embraces its core characters and fleshes them out very well, but leaves the real story slightly muddled in the final act. It feels about 20-30 minutes too long, and yet I still found myself needed more, which is definitely due to the slightly boring screenplay. Did I believe everything that was happening? Yes, but it did feel dragged out and overlong. Race is a great cable watch, but not something you have to rush out and see.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2016
    With a title that is considered a dual meaning (the type of event shown and the racial discrimination), Race is an interesting biopic on Jesse Owens and how he managed to defy the odds and compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Not knowing much about Jesse Owens, I was completely captivated. A class act performance by Sudeikis who should be in way more drama films as the guy can obviously act! Stephan James was also excellent as Jesse Owens and also looked the part. There are a few issues; the film tries too hard to showcase the racial discrimination (especially when at the Olympic Games) and focusses too much on Owens' love life for my taste.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2016
    A very good film that focuses on the legend who was Jesse Owens. Providing equal parts of his superb athletic ability against the racial prejudice of Nazi Germany this is one thought provoking film that shows that sport can break down borders.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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