The Armstrong Lie (2013)



Critic Consensus: Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.

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In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong's comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong's confession. (c) Sony Classics
R (for language)
Documentary , Special Interest , Sports & Fitness
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Critic Reviews for The Armstrong Lie

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (36)

What will take your breath away is how viciously Armstrong crushed and humiliated anyone who dared to make allegations against him,

Full Review… | January 27, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

While the movie includes enough details about the physiology, strategy and marketing of bike racing to satisfy some of our curiosity, other questions remain unanswered.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

The tale has plenty of resonance off the race course. As sportswriter Dan Coyle says in the film, "It's not a story about doping, it's a story about power."

Full Review… | December 5, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

"The Armstrong Lie" simply offers up the Armstrong lie. Sorry, but we've all already heard that one.

Full Review… | November 28, 2013
Detroit News
Top Critic

The Armstrong Lie is eye-opening and myth-shattering and more than a little depressing.

Full Review… | November 28, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Gibney gives the truth as full an airing as seems humanly possible, given that the subject is a world-class liar.

Full Review… | November 28, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Armstrong Lie

Many were shocked when Lance Armstrong (finally) admitted to his use of steroids, which assisted in his 7 Tour Du France wins. Stripped of his titles, dumped by his multi-million dollar sponsorships, banned from all World Anti-Doping Agency governed sports, and literally taken out of the record books for all 7 years he won, most expected him to experience a deep shame and regret over his actions. Most of us, upon revealing our deepest secrets, and the lies that we chose to live, might respond in that way, but Lance Armstrong is a different kind of person, and perhaps doesn't function in the same capacity. Oscar winning documentary film maker Alex Gibney tackles another societal dysfunction, in his attempt to tell the story of why one of sporting world's most famous names, would come out to admit his fraud to the world. It's an absolutely spellbinding story, and doesn't tip-toe around the subject. Rather, it opens up at his most publicly shameful moments, when he told Oprah Winfrey on national television (in yes / no fashion) that he had been cheating the whole time he was winning one of the most grueling competitions in the world. But there is a great deal more to this story, and Gibney delves into some of the bigger problems surrounding the sport, his issues with bullying team mates, the nature of cheating, and most importantly: Why Armstrong acts the way he does. The American Psychiatric Association defines the narcissistic personality as: "In which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and/or vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and often others." Whenever I think of this personality, a few names come to mind (Donald Trump, and Kanye West are just a few), but I think Lance Armstrong fits this description well. I don't particularly think that he, and others who share these traits, are necessarily terrible people, but it does make them capable of some truly awful actions. It's a remarkable study into this type of personality. Armstrong admits to wrong-doings, but never feels remorse for his actions. It's remarkable how he treats his own teammates throughout his career, and forces us to see him as a very driven man, yet at the same time, one capable of very criminal action. At this time, in 2016, Armstrong faces a 100 million dollar lawsuit brought forth by the federal government for defrauding the U.S. Postal service (the main sponsor during his tours). It's expected to ruin him financially, but many don't expect a decision requiring a full penalty. Perhaps his actions do have consequences, but he's apt not to let that bother him. That being said, Alex Gibney narrates and describes the situation facing him and sport of cycling rather well. I would recommend this documentary to anyone who was interested in Armstrong as a competitor, but also to really let the depth of his actions sink in with the viewer. One of Gibney's best, and more personal documentaries about a narcissist who would stop at nothing to win. 4/5

Kevin Davies
Kevin Davies

I think it's probably the most honest Armstrong has been. A hugely informative and amazingly unbelievable documentary that just astounds me as to how he manage to get away with it for so long.

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


I am glad I saw this documentary... not because I didn't know that he was a liar, but for the simple fact that I found more details how some of the things were done. Of course, we will never find out the other, real villains, who got the most of those $125 million Lance Armstrong collected... and didn't save a single life! Yes, all these kids with cancer die after the chemo therapy, that is a fact! They had much more chance praying if you check the statistics, but Armstrong was just little piece of the big lie puzzle. Well, better to go back to the movie! This documentary safely directed by Alex Gibney is all about the cyclist Lance Armstrong which he set out to do in 2009 after a four-year retirement from the sport. Following a doping investigation that led to his lifetime ban from competition and the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong went back to Gibney to set the record straight about his career. You cannot get rid of the feeling that this is just one more lie with pieces of truth, made for benefit of everyone involved. The results will tell, but for me, this was a solid documentary which never took me to any heights, except some emotional reaction when I saw those poor kids and their parents, spending thousands of dollars for useless suffering in the experimental labs of the big pharmaceutical industries, to whom Lance Armstrong's life story suited really well! It was a tasty documentary and absorbing most of the time but never reached anything exceptional or extraordinary. It will be something I watched and stored in my memory archives, without filing it in the "to be remembered" section!

Panta Oz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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