Note: New video interviews with Robert Redford, screenwriter James Salter, film editor Richard Harris, production manager Walter Coblenz, and former downhill skier Joe Jay Jalbert, who served as a technical adviser, ski double, and cameraman
Audio excerpts from a 1977 American Film Institute seminar with director Michael Ritchie
How Fast', a rare 12-minute promotional featurette
A booklet featuring an essay by critic Todd McCarthy
Empire - 09/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] riveting, terrific look at the glam world of alpine-skiing."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/27/2009
"[O]ne of the great unheralded films of the late '60s....Director Michael Ritchie packs the movie with adrenaline-junkie POV racing shots that put you right in the skiers' bindings." -- Grade: A
A.V. Club - 11/18/2009
"[A]s a look at how Redford's character and those orbiting him spend their time between runs...it's superb."
Director Michael Ritchie makes his feature film debut with DOWNHILL RACER, an adrenaline-soaked sports drama that features another alluring performance from Robert Redford. Redford plays David Chappellet, a cocky, undisciplined young skier from Idaho Springs, Colorado. Flying to Europe to compete with the United States downhill team, Chappellet stuns the ski world when he wins his first race. His coach, Eugene Claire (Gene Hackman), senses the cold reaction from his teammates, and tries to get Chappellet to become more of a team player. When it's obvious that this isn't going to happen, he must decide whether or not to let Chappellet represent his country in the Olympics. In the meantime, Chappellet finds romance in the form of Carole (Camilla Sparv), a beautiful young woman who works for a European equipment maker. Tensions arise when Carole lies about meeting up with Chappellet in Germany and then acts not to care that she has abandoned him. This disappointment provides Chappellet with even more desire to fly down the slopes and capture the Olympic gold medal. Redford's portrayal of the moody, determined Chappellet proves once again why he is one of the world's most recognizable movie stars. The same can also be said for Hackman, who finds the perfect chemistry in developing his character, making DOWNHILL RACER a fun film that even non-skiers can enjoy.
The dazzling ski scenes are the best part of Michael Ritchie's sports drama about an undisciplined young skier on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Personal Triumph |
DOWNHILL RACER was director Michael Ritchie's first feature film. He would go on to direct a wide variety of movies, including THE CANDIDATE, THE BAD NEWS BEARS, and FLETCH.
Robert Redford won the 1971 BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the stubborn ski star.