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Jim Thorpe: All American
Jim Thorpe All American
Actors: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Dick Wesson
Genres: Drama, Sports
NR     2007     1hr 47min

The stirring life story of the American Indian who overcame personal and professional struggles to become one of the nation's greatest athletes. Burt Lancaster stars. Year: 1951 Director: Michael Curtiz Starring: Burt Lanc...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Dick Wesson
Genres: Drama, Sports
Sub-Genres: Classics, Baseball, Olympics
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/23/2007
Original Release Date: 08/24/1951
Theatrical Release Date: 08/24/1951
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Whats wrong with this picture?
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not to long ago an athlete was picked as the best(athlete)in our century...Mohammid Ali. He was a great fighter...but what else? How did this man become the greatest athlete of the century? "Whats wrong with this picture"? Jim Thorpe should have been named as the best as is appearent by his accomplishments in several sports. Did Ali win the decathalon or the Pentathalon...25 total events. Was Ali a champion football and baseball player? How can anyone who excels at only one sport be called the greatest of the century...whats wrong with this picture? The wrongs done Jim Thorpe have not been corrected with this kind of judgement. We have the sports writers to thank for this injustice."
Jim Thorpe: Strong but Bitter
Martin Asiner | jersey city, nj United States | 06/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"JIM THORPE, ALL AMERICAN is based on the autobiography of the same name, and in the hands of director Michael Curtiz, Thorpe, as played by the athletic Burt Lancaster, comes across as a man beset by a multitude of demons. The film begins with Thorpe as a boy living on an Indian reservation. He runs constantly, almost as if he were trying to outrun the bitter dregs of an anti-Indian racism that he saw as dogging his heels for his entire life. He grows to maturity and attends the Carlisle Indian School on a track scholarship. Much of the film focuses on Thorpe's obvious athletic skills and as long as it does so, Lancaster manages to imbue his character with the pathos of a tragedy that would not disappear. One of the most memorable scenes in a film filled with them (not all of them pleasant) is the one in which he has just arrived as a freshman at Carlisle. He is dressed in his best clothes and shoes, and then suddenly,he is filled with the need to run. He does run, right over and through Carlisle's track team. The track coach looks at his assistant and tells him, "Find out who that is and bring him here." His first years at Carlisle show a relaxed Thorpe. He meets his future wife played by Phyllis Thaxter and excells at every sport of the school. Paradoxically,however, the more success that Thorpe achieves, the more is in unable to handle it. His reaction to fame is colored by his previous reaction to racism. He grows bitter and anti-social. He fails to understand that amateur athletics does not involve money nor does he see that his wife loves him and would continue to do so until his increasing world hate drowns out all else. Thorpe's anger at having his Olympic medals taken away simply justifies his own self-destruction. As the film moves toward the end, it becomes painful to watch a proud and skilled student-athlete inch closer to a self-imposed ostracism from those who truly want to understand and to help. Lancaster is superb as a man who forgets that a world of athleticism cannot compensate for a world of bitterness that no gold medals can heal."
4 1/4 stars for a great slice of american history
Curtis Allan | Seattle, WA | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film certainly has limits: none of the performances are overwhelmingly good, there are too many white people playing natives, and the story sometimes borders on the formulaic. But with that said, do yourself a favor and see it.

Jim Thorpe - All American is a fascinating look at a period of American history (the early 20th century) that doesn't get enough coverage. Thorpe was born just before the death of the Old West (1887 or 88), was an All American college football player at the Carlisle Indian School, won gold medals in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, played Major League Baseball before WWI, was a founding presence as an all-star halfback in the early National Football League (and its first commissioner), and went on to a long career as a bit player in such Hollywood films as King Kong and White Heat. On the darker side, over half of his brothers and sisters died in childhood, he was an orphan before 18, his first son (Jim Junior) died at age 2 from pneumonia, he had poor financial habits, wasn't much of a team player, moved around incessantly, had problems with alcohol and tobacco, two wives left him, and he died in poverty.

Director Michael (Casablanca) Curtiz does a wonderful job of keeping the campy 50s to a minimum while moving Thorpe's whirlwind life forward on screen. The real strengths of the film (beyond the historical subject matter) are the wonderful nascent images of early sporting events: the college lettermen's sweaters, old track shoes, baseball uniforms, leather football helmets, etc. Lancaster was quite fit and looks the part of a young athlete very well. He is perhaps best when portraying Thorpe's dark decline; these scenes foreshadow De Niro in Scorsese's Raging Bull. And finally, the scenes from the opening ceremonies of the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles look so real I am sure that Curtiz must have cut actual footage into the film, including an aerial flyover and a speech by then vice-president Charles Curtis (these would have been the first Olympics after the widespread proliferation of sound video recording, in the vibrant young city which created it).

All in all Jim Thorpe - All American is a fine cinematic achievement; this is what movie-making is all about."
Great story, well-told | Minneapolis, MN, USA | 03/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"_Jim Thorpe_ is nominally a story about a great athlete; it is more a complex, bittersweet portrayal of a man whose frustrated ambition threatens to tear him and his family apart. This movie underlines in bold strokes the damaging effects of racism, both external and internalized, and the fact that material success is no compensation for dignity and self-respect."