Starring legendary actor Christopher Plummer (THE INSIDER, A BEAUTIFUL MIND) and Jamie Maclachlan as Sir Roger Bannister -- you and your family will cheer on this amazing account of a gifted runner's triumph! After Mount E... more »verest was conquered in 1953, the last great individual challenge remained the four-minute mile. While many sought to break through the most famous barrier in sporting history, it was medical student and driven amateur Roger Bannister who did it -- astounding the world. Written by renowned sportswriter Frank Deford -- don't miss one second of this remarkable achievement, both on and off the track.~~ ~« less
It's no chariot's of fire... but it's similar in feel. I could definitely have lived without watching it. But if you're a runner, of course it doesn't matter - gotta see it anyway!
Roger Bannister Breaks the "Unbreakable" Record
Jeffrey T. Munson | Dixon, IL | 12/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As late as the 1950s, many believed that a person would die attempting to run a mile in less than four minutes. Many men tried, but the first one to succeed at shattering this mythical barrier was Roger Bannister, an Oxford University medical student. On May 6, 1954 at a wet and dreary Iffley Road track, Roger did what no man before him had done.
This terrific movie describes Roger's admission to Oxford in September, 1946 right through his world record run in 1954. As a young Freshman medical student, Roger decided to run the mile race at the Freshman games, and managed to run a sub-5:00 mile despite terrible conditions. Thus began Roger's assult on the mile and his quest to become one of the greatest milers of his generation. His times continued to fall for the next few years while he was still studying to become a doctor. But his time spent on the track was taking away from his studies.
Roger's next goal was the 1952 Summer Olympics, which were held in Helsinki, Finland. Shouldering the expectations of an entire country, Roger was entered in the 1500 meters, a distance just short of the mile. Considered the favorite to win the race, Roger struggled to a disappointing fourth place finish and no medal at all. After this humiliating defeat, Roger became obsessed with becoming the first person to break the four minute barrier.
Having never used a coach before, Roger enlisted the help of Archie Mason (Christopher Plummer). Mason was a champion half-miler before an injury ended his career. But he still had his track and field mentality, and he was regarded as one of the best in the business. Crafting a strategy involving two other runners, Chris Brasher (Drew Carnwath) and Chris Chataway (Grahame Wood), Mason perfected a formula which would allow the other two runners to pace Roger through the first three laps of the race, and Roger would rely on himself for the last lap.
This strategy was put to the test on a rainy and cold day in May, 1954. Brasher and Chataway wanted to run, but Roger wanted to cancel the race. After some coaching and inspiration from Mason, Roger changed his mind and went ahead with the race. Mason's plan worked flawlessly. The trio ran a 57 second first lap, and continued the pace for lap two. However, a slower lap three put the record in doubt, but Roger, relying on sheer strength and guts, ran a superb final lap to finish in 3:59.4; the first sub-four mile in history.
A few weeks later, Roger's record was broken by almost two seconds by a runner named Lundy, but Bannister and Lundy raced head-to-head a short time later, with Roger winning. Both runners ran sub fours. Roger retired from competition shortly after that race. Today, Roger Bannister lives not far from the very track where he ran his "miracle mile".
This is a tremendous movie. Jamie Maclachlan, Christopher Plummer, Drew Carnwath, and Grahame Wood are magnificent in their roles, and the story is very uplifting. Roger's run was called the last barrier that needed to be broken, since Hillary had conquered Mt. Everest that same year. Roger smashed his barrier as well. I give this movie my highest recommendation. Sports fans will love seeing Roger's assult on four minutes, while others will enjoy learning about a simple medical student with a gift of running. Watch this great uplifting film and see how one of the great barriers in track and field was shattered."
"Six Seconds Off The Impossible ~ The Last Great Quest"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 11/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This ESPN pproduction of the factual story of British doctor/runner Roger Bannister and his quest to become the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes is a well done film offering not only an enjoyable sports movie focusing on the world of track and field in the early 50's before commercialism and steroids became commonplace, but also provides a nostalgic glimpse into the Post-WW II psyche of Great Britain.
The company involved in the making of this film most definitely learned many valuable lessons from the British classic 'Chariots of Fire' and the similarites are abundant. However despite the profuse mirroring of this earlier Academy Award winner, 'Four Minutes' succeeds at carving out its own identity and ultimately stands or falls on its own merits.
Jamie Maclachlan is perfect for the part of the subdued but likeable Roger Bannister and Christopher Plummer does a wonderful job as his coach and mentor. Journey back to a simplier time when sport and winning was its own reward. A time when destiny and opportunity offered nothing beyond the joy of victory and but a brief moment of glory."
An appreciation of Roger Bannister and breaking the four-min
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There were scientists who thought that when they tested the first atomic bomb it would set the atmosphere on fire and incinerate the entire planet. There were those who maintained that the sound barrier could not be broken and if you have seen "The Right Stuff" you will recall that the sound of Chuck Yeager's sonic boom was thought to be the sound of the X-1 crashing. Then there were those who thought that if a human being tried to run the distance of one mile in less than four minutes they would literally drop dead.
Most of those who watched "The Right Stuff" knew that John Glenn would survive the trouble with his Mercury capsule when returning from orbiting the earth, but they may well not have known about Chuck Yeager and also be surprised that he makes it out of the movie alive. The name Roger Bannister is known because he was the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes (and the title gives away the ending to the rest of the world). However, while his name and his achievement are well known in the sports world, the story of Roger Bannister is not.
Sportswriter Frank Deford wrote the teleplay for "Four Minutes" based on his article "Hillary and Bannister," which compared the stories of the first men to climb Mt. Everest and to break the four-minute mile. One key commonality between the two Englishmen is that each had help in their respective treks to immortality. For Hillary it was the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, while for Bannister it was Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, who set the pace for Bannister to break the barrier at Iffley Road track at Oxford on May 6, 1954. This teamwork hardly takes away from Bannister's accomplishment, because as "Four Minutes" emphasizes, he was a most unusual sportsman.
Bannister (Jamie Maclachlan) was a brilliant Oxford medical student and one of my favorite scenes in the film comes early on when the whispered questions of other students draw the attention of the lecturing don to Bannister. The don grills the young student, questioning each and every remark until he reaches the end the Socratic exercise and acknowledges his agreement with "Doctor" Bannister's diagnosis. Not only does this speak to Bannister's intellect, but it sets up the idea that he ran long distance essentially for fun rather than for glory all the more impressive. Bannister seems to actively avoid his destiny, refusing to do any formal training with a coach and ignoring the attention of the British press that named his as Britain's greatest hope for an Olympic gold medal in track and field.
Ultimately it was not an Olympic medal that motivated Bannister, but losing one, and the idea of being the first to break the four-minute mile, which his father (Philip Craig) calls the last thing for man to conquer now that Everest had been scaled. Bannister finally turns to a coach, Archie Mason (Christopher Plummer), who works not only on the runner's technique but also comes up with the idea of use Brasher (Drew Carnwath) and Chataway (Grahame Wood) to set the proper pace to give Bannister the chance to make a mad dash towards the record on the final lap. We fully understand the grand strategy and watch as it works on the big day.
This ESPN made for television movie is much like Bannister's assault on the record, meticulous detailed and methodical in its approach. The end result is not as glorious as what we have seen in "Chariots of Fire," but still well worth watching for sports fans. The romantic subplot tries to round out Bannister's character, but clearly he is a runner (and a doctor) and not a lover. I especially like that the "Miracle Mile" essentially takes place in real time (I should have timed it and did not, but it certainly feels right). The DVD extras include the usual deleted scenes, outtakes and behind the scenes featurette, but there is also a trivia track, footage of Bannister breaking the record, and interviews with both Bannister and Chataway (actually Sir Roger and Sir Chris). The history outweighs the drama here, but then it is that history and the man who made it that this television movie honors."
Nicely produced Bio Pic
Nelson Aspen | Los Angeles & NYC, USA | 03/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very nicely, thoughtfully produced movie bio of Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to break the elusive four-minute mile. The script is esoteric but it is the race sequences that captivate you and capture the significance of Bannister's place in the running world. (Excellent casting of the newcomer in the leading role...ably conveying Bannister's athletic prowess as well as his integrity. The larger supporting players, too, are first rate, especially love interest Amy Rutherford) Of course there are the requisite goose bumps and teary eyes at the finale.
The production design is also quite excellent (in spite of some lame CGI), especially impressive when you see the actual newsreel footage in the special features.
Those features are great additions to this wonderful telefilm, although I admit to being disappointed in the "filmmaker's audio track" because there were long pauses where they did NOT comment and the soundtrack to the film is removed so it is just complete silence. Low audio or subtitles would have been better for the long moments when the commentators seemed to drift off to watching their own movie in silent appreciation."
C. Hegge | Boise, ID | 02/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw this movie pop up on my recommended list, I wasn't so sure about it. I read the reviews and decided to get it for my husband who is big into running and inspirtational movies. I must say, I am very impressed. The acting is great and the story is wonderful. You don't have to be a runner to enjoy it. It is now on our top movie list."