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First Olympics [Import]

David Ogden Stiers , Alibe Parsons    VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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This television miniseries tells the story of the founding of the modern Olympics by focusing on individuals in several countries and their preparations and eventual competition in Athens in 1896. David Ogden Stiers (a familiar face to viewers of M*A*S*H reruns) portrays a Princeton classics professor whose knowledge of the ancient Olympics means he's given the task of recruiting an American team for the 1896 games. The stories of how some athletes have to be convinced to join the team may seem contrived, but they do reinforce the idea of how fragile the concept of reviving the Olympics was at the time. A young David Caruso (years before he'd swagger through the stationhouse of N.Y.P.D. Blue) portrays a cocky Boston Irishman who walks away from a Harvard scholarship to participate in track events. And if Caruso does veer perilously close to doing an extended James Cagney impression, he serves as a sturdy focal point to the American team. Once in Athens, the focus is very much on the American athletes and their surprising success, and there are some interesting and humorous touches in the plot. For instance, the fledgling American team had enlisted a local blacksmith to render an iron discus, thereby giving them an unexpected advantage when presented with the much lighter "official" discus in Athens. Even if the various plots and subplots about the athletes don't always hold up very well, the scenes of competition in Athens do provide an entertaining re-creation of the first modern Olympics. --Robert J. McNamara

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Chariots of desire. March 11 2003
Format:VHS Tape
If you have 280 minutes to spare, this is an engaging and enjoyable account of the first modern Olympic games, held in Athens in 1896. At such a length, one might expect a tedious documentary approach, but instead we get a nicely-paced story of privileged young men enjoying some pure athletic rivalry and old-fashioned male bonding. This film manages to avoid Chariots of Fire's melodramatic themes while still delivering an exciting depiction of those first Olympic games, where athletes competed because of their simple desire for greatness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First Olympics - First Rate Feb. 13 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This is a magnificent and wonderful movie about the Olympic Games of 1896 in Athens... the first Olympics in 2000 years. The characters are generally well cast, the dialogue is fitting, and the relations between characters is well developed. I don't know if all the scenes are historically accurate, but I know that a great deal of it is... especially the names of the athletes, the results of the events and the Olympic Stadium in Greece. Although centered around the American team and its athletes, there is considerable attention paid to the lives of athletes from other countries, most notably Greece and Australia. Unfortunately a couple of the athletes portrayed could have been played by actors who were more appropriate for the events they were in, and you'll pick them out right away.
This is a FAMILY MOVIE, no sex, no vulgar language, nothing that shouldn't be seen by anyone in your family. It is a true classic in my mind, and one which I enjoy watching on a regular basis. Now, if it would only come out on DVD I'd buy it in an instant. There's so much garbage out there on DVD, why can't this and other classics be brought out on DVD?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First Olympics Oct. 23 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The movie The First Olympics is not just an educational movie it also demands your attention for the full 4 hours and 40 minutes. In fact at demands my attention as well as my siblings that everytime we visit our grandparents house in Utah we have to watch it, even if it means staying up until early in the morning. It shows how the first olympics of modern days actually was and what American athletes, as well as other athletes went through, both on their way there and at the Olympics. I would definetely suggest this movie to anyone!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Olympic Movie Ever Nov. 11 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is was the best about the olympics that I ever saw. It had all the parts that a great epic movie should have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Family Favorite Aug. 19 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This movie (originally shown as a mini-series in 1984) combines humor, athleticism, history, drama and patriotism into a delightful 4 hours! Children and adults will enjoy it equally. Though it takes a decidedly American bent, the movie is originally based in fact. The names and countries of origin of the winners are true. It is unclear how much else is true, but it doesn't matter! The length allows for more character and plot development than the average feature film so that by the end, the viewer feels connected to the characters. As children, my sisters and I watched it over and over. As adults, we continue to enjoy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars COMPLETE CAST LIST REQUESTED April 29 2000
Format:VHS Tape
YOU DID AN EXCELLENT JOB LISTING ALL OF THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE MOVIE. HOWEVER, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT EVERY ACTOR AND ACTRESS INVOLVED IN THE MOVIE AND WHO PLAYED WHAT ROLE. THERE IS A LISTING OF PERFORMERS, BUT NOT EVERYONE HAS THEIR APPOPRIATE CHARACTER LISTED BY THE NAME OF THE PERFORMER. I WOULD PARTICULARLY LIKE TO KNOW THE NAMES OF THE PERFORMERS ASSOCIATED WITH NICOS ZIAGOS (SPIRIDON LOUIS). WHO PLAYED HIS MOTHER, FATHER AND ELENI? INFORMATION APPRECIATED.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Olympic Romance Feb. 18 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Romance might not be the first thing one thinks of when one sees a movie about athletics, but the story of Greece's Spiridon Louis provides a touching tale of love. He is devoted to his beloved Eleni and wants to do anything for her. She worries about the long separation and says if he did not wait for her, she'd understand. Then came one of the most touching lines of the movie, "I would run twice as far for my Eleni." Great family story!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Athens 1896
The movie tells a perfect story about the first modern olympics in Athens 1896. I watched it on Dutch television and taped it. So I watched it over and over again. Read more
Published on Dec 23 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars First Olympics is Great!
This movies mixes history, sports, humor and drama in a wonderful mix suitable for any age. In an age without moving pictures, the first American Olympic team trys to figure out... Read more
Published on Dec 17 1999 by Karen Doolittle
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie showed the athletes as they really were.
This movie was unique in that it showed the athletes of the 1986 Olympics as they really were, not just as sports stars. I particularly enjoyed the story of Spiridon Louis. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent movie
This movie was on TV in 1984 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles. I taped it then and still enjoy watching it. Read more
Published on May 30 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story but some transitions unclear
Very creative idea to make such a film and obviously the makers did some homework for the research. But I think they could have done better, especially the atheletic training. Read more
Published on April 10 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical film on rebirth of current Olympics.
This movie depicts how the current Olympics were renewed. It encompasses the trials and tribulations of getting atheletes from various natons, how they were trained and how they... Read more
Published on March 28 1999
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