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The First Olympics: Athens 1896
The First Olympics Athens 1896
Actors: David Ogden Stiers, Hunt Block, David Caruso, Alex Hyde-White, Benedict Taylor
Director: Alvin Rakoff
Genres: Drama, Television, Sports
NR     2008     3hr 57min

The inspiring story of a rag-tag team of amateur American athletes that stunned the sports world comes to life in this dramatization of the first modern Olympic games revived in 1896. Veteran Actor Louis Jourdan stars as B...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Ogden Stiers, Hunt Block, David Caruso, Alex Hyde-White, Benedict Taylor
Director: Alvin Rakoff
Creators: Paul Beeson, John Grover, Charles Gary Allison, Larry White, William Hill, William Bast
Genres: Drama, Television, Sports
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Olympics
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/05/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 3hr 57min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

The First Olympics - First Rate
F. Healy | Pinehurst, NC United States | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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?"
The "true" story of the first modern American Olympic team
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The First Olympics - Athens 1896" tells a story that is a far cry from the spectacle the world witnessed tonight in Salt Lake City. In an effort to promote peace, the Baron Pierre de Courbertin (Louis Jordan) wants to revive the Olympic movement. Athletes from around the world will gather in Athens in 1896 and the Baron thinks it is important that the United States field a team. David Ogden Stiers plays William Sloane, a professor of classic studies who agrees to put together the American team. If the stories told in this charming slice of history are not true, please do not tell me. For me the focal character is young Robert Garrett (Hunt Block), who kisses his mother (Angela Landsbury) goodbye and goes off to compete for honor and glory. But neither Robert or the good professor know anything about the sports in the Olympics beyond what they can learn from reading Homer and looking at pictures of Greek urns while the maid has to show the boys how to run the high hurdles. This results in an awkward moment at a fundraiser where the team concludes they are suppose to compete in the nude like the ancient Greeks. The American team receives no governmental support and the Ivy League schools are against in; their uniforms are white with stripes representing their college colors. The first part ends with the Professor left behind as the team sails off to Europe, at which point he learns that the Greeks follow a different calendar and the team will not get there until the final day of competition. That means the second part starts with a mad dash across the continent to arrive in Athens in time. While the mini-series does focus on the American team, we also follow several other notable participants in that first modern Olympics, including the legendary Greek marathoner, Spiridon Loues (Nicos Ziagos). There is a cute moment when the Greek orchestra leader has to pick between two songs to represent the Americans at the awards ceremony but my favorite part is when Robert Garrett learns that he will not be allowed to compete with the shot put and discuss he has been practicing with all these many months. You see they are not regulation size. In fact, they are about twice as big as they are supposed to be. Seems those Greek urns need to be updated. The scene where he is given the shot put he must use, instead of his cannon ball, and he tosses it up into the air a couple of times. There is also a very touching moment when back in America Professor Sloane receives the telegram that announces the first Olympic Gold medal in almost two thousands years has been won by an American. Stiers is wonderful in this role as are the cast of unknown young actors (only David Caruso as a cocky Irish long jumper from Bah-ston is recognizable). "The First Olympics--Athens 1896" is one of those mini-series that should be shown every four years, right before the summer Olympics. If you have seen it, then you have never forgotten it, and everyone who enjoys watching the world's best athletes compete before the entire world should get to see this mini-series at least once as well."
Family Favorite
Elizabeth Sullivan | Bellingham, MA USA | 08/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!"
The First Olympics
Elizabeth Sullivan | 10/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!!"