Inspirational and entertaining, PREFONTAINE is another acclaimed success from the makers of HOOP DREAMS. It's the true-life story of legendary track star Steve Prefontaine, the exciting and sometimes controversial "James D... more »ean of Track," whose spirit captured the heart of the nation! Cocky, charismatic, and tough, "Pre" was a running rebel who defied rules, pushed limits ... and smashed records ... in an incredible against-all-odds quest for Olympic gold! Now a major motion picture, the triumphs and heartbreaks of this unforgettable champion will have you riveted from beginning to end!« less
More documentary than Without Limits, but still a must-see for any runner :)
A very good bio pick of a great runner who died too young
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 08/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Prefontaine, a record setting middle distance runner, won all his races against Americans. He led his race in the 1972 Olympics but faded to fourth by a breath. He died in a car accident (drinking was involved, but to what degree is debated) in 1975 at the age of 24. All admit that he wasn't the perfect physical specimen for a runner, but he was gritty and tenacious and would not give anything less than everything he had.
You would think it would be hard to come up with a full length bio pic about someone who died at 24. Yet, in 1998 there were TWO films that came out about his life. One from Disney and the other from Warner Brothers.
The Disney Film tells the story from the point of view of the assistant coach who was with him day-to-day, Bill Dellinger and Prefontaine's girlfriend at the time of his death, Nancy Alleman. It has a good cast with Jared Leto as Prefontaine, Ed O'Neil as Bill Dellinger and R. Lee Ermy as Bill Bowerman. Siskel and Ebert reviewed it and gave it two thumbs up.
The Warner Brothers release was produced by Tom Cruise and told from the point of view of Bill Bowerman with Dellinger as a minor character and Mary Marckx. In this film there is no Nancy Alleman and Mary is his girlfriend all the way through. Bowerman is played by Donald Sutherland and is given guru status. In both films, Prefontaine is shown as headstrong and difficult to coach. Bowerman did remain active with the Oregon program and with Prefontaine after his retirement.
In both films, Prefontaine is shown as a powerful and hard charging runner who also loved to party too much and had troubled relationships with his young women. The fans love him and his fame is correctly portrayed as is his loss at the '72 Olympics.
Since the accident occurred while Prefontaine was alone in the car no one can be certain how it happened. Both films have him swerving from a second car, but the Warner film shows the rock face that the car climbed and caused it to flip on top of the runner and crushing him. He was alive when first found, but the person could not flip the car alone and by the time they got back he was gone.
Prefontaine continues to inspire young runners and people who believe that testing your limits and giving all you have is important to living and understanding your life. That these tests are a kind of art that you create for yourself and are a kind of honesty that few actually experience (even though it is open to all).
Both movies are good, and you have to decide if seeing two films about such a short life is needed, but there is certainly much worse fare shown every night on TV and at your local movie house."
Runners will enjoy this bio pic
Nelson Aspen | Los Angeles & NYC, USA | 03/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Running fans will enjoy this Jared Leto bio pic, but other audiences will probably find it an often hoaky "mock-umentary," with some of the worst dialogue and Hair/Makeup effects in modern film drama.
Fortunately, I fall into the first category so I was engrossed with the story of the famed runner Prefontaine. The story improved considerably in the second half, when archival footage and the dramatic events of the Munich Olympic games unfolded.
Jared Leto does a good job, even with all those wigs and spirit gum. Amy Locane seems to be phoning in her performance from a parallel "Melrose Place" universe.
Prefontaine's moving and inspirational story, this proves, should/would be best told through an actual documentary production rather than relying on a dramatization."
This movie got me running, I am so glad I saw it.
Nelson Aspen | 11/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the greatest running film I have ever seen. It Far surpasses such films as "Withought Limits" and "The Lonleyness of the Long Distance Runner" which is now considered a clasic. Prefontaine got me up and running. I will be forever in debt to this film and it will aloways have a very special place in my heart. I am so glad that I have seen this all inspirig true tale of an underdog that defies all odds and sets his own standard for excelence. I watch this film at least 2 times a week."
A Sprint To The Finish
Chad Spivak | North Miami Beach, Florida | 08/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Simply put, this is a story that needed to be told. This film does an admirable job of telling it.Steve Prefontaine was an amazing runner with an undeniable winning attitude. He loved to compete and, more importantly, he loved to win. This movie portrays that uncanny desire and his hard work ethic, right up until he was tragically taken in a car accident.Jared Leto did a phenominal job of playing Prefontaine. He looked and played the part of a world class runner. R. Lee Ermey complimented him nicely as his track coach, Bill Bowerman, who later founded Nike. Ermey's timing was excellent, and his character was very well-rounded on the screen. Craig T. Nelson also played an excellent smaller role in the film as the college recruiter.This good cast, and a very watchable screenplay made for an entertaining film. In a time of peace, love, and war, not to mention protests, this film gives you a nostalgic feel for the 70s. This is a good story, and an even better movie."
Sometimes the truth hurts?.
John Cobb | Austin, TX | 04/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There has been much fascination with Steve Prefontaine, for his courage, his will-to-win, and for his far too early death. A man who was the ultimate competitor, denied his just due not only by the tragedy in Munich, but an even bigger tragedy on a roadway in Oregon. Such fascination led to 2 movies chronicling the life of Steve Prefontaine were mad ein the 1990's.For first release, the battle of the PRE-bioflicks was won by this movie, and its release and luke warm reception shelved the Robert Towne-directed `Without Limits' for more than a year.Perhaps this story would have been better served as a Made-for-HBO film, where one-name titles like "Prefontaine" give stars like Matt Damon a chance for some good work, and media recognition.This version, directed by Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame is very watchable, with strong support of Jared Leto (Prefontaine) by Lindsay Crouse, Ed O'Neill, Amy Locane, and R.Lee Ermey-excellent in the role of Pre's coach and mentor, Bill Bowerman, the man who subsequently founded Nike.Maybe not an overly familiar story for the non-runners, this story needed to be told, once...and is told well here."