The title of this movie “RACE” is one of the better titles for a movie I have seen in a long time. For this movie RACE is the perfect title because this movie is all about Race, bigotry, the insanity of the Nazi party and ultimately the Race Jessie Owens ran to win 4 gold medals in the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
Considering all the pressure Owens was under as an athlete, being black and then the accomplishment of winning 4 Gold Medals in the Olympics right before the beginning of World War 2; one could argue that Owen’s triumph in the Olympics was the greatest athletic achievement of all time. Owens had to overcome extreme white bigotry in college at Ohio State and then the insanity of Nazi Germany, a short 3 years before the start of World War 2 when Germany invaded Poland. Had Owens lost in Berlin in 1936 he would have let down not only himself and his coach but the entire free world and if he lost he would have failed to point out the stupidity of the Nazi Party’s propaganda of the German people being the Master Race. No athlete has ever been under a bigger spotlight with more at stake then Jessie Owens at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Ironically, Owens 4th Gold medal came after the Nazi party refused to allow the US to run 2 Jewish runners in the 400 meter relay race and Owens had to step in at the last minute. I was especially impressed and surprised at the lead German athlete who befriended Owens after he lost to him in the long jump, showing incredible class and sportsmanship after losing. At the end of the movie it was announced that Germany made him fight at the front lines at the start of World War 2 and he was killed.
Other back stories during this movie included the possible boycotting of the Olympics due to Germany’s treatment of the Jews and the deals that were made along the way, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt were especially good in their roles in this part of the film. Owens originally refused to attend the Olympics due to pressure from the NAACP and later changed his mind after some pressure from his coach and another athlete who he was competing against.
This movie was well acted and I was surprised how well Jason Sudeikis acted in his role as Owen’s coach given that he has mostly been a comedic actor for most of his career; he was very convincing in his role. Stefan James also did a great job playing Jessie Owens. Considering the huge accomplishment Jessie Owens pulled off so long ago it is surprising that a movie of this quality about Owens life was not made a long time ago.
This is a great movie about sports and and world history and I highly recommend it.