This list was made completely off the top of my head and only because I'm watching Miracle right now. If confronted I will easily fold to your arguments. Please, feel free to leave suggestions for better Winter Olympic movies.
1. Cool Runnings
Synopsis: Jamaican Maurice Bannick, the world's greatest runner, falls during the Olympic qualifying match and fails to make the Olympic Track and Field team. As he takes shit from no one, he creates a bobsled team and together they learn the sport of bobsledding and compete for an Olympic medal all within 3 months. As a child, I saw nothing wrong with this. As a 23 year old...I still see nothing wrong with this.
This might just be the first movie I remember seeing as a child that I could fully comprehend. I have vague recollections of going to other movies, but I'm pretty sure this is the first that I was able to follow along with. I remember being 6 and sitting at the Mercer Mall theater in New Jersey (now a DSW Shoe Warehouse) cracking up hysterically. It was clear to me that this was not just a movie, but a work of art. My sister and I quoted it to each other constantly (I believe the only quote I could remember was "Kiss my lucky egg!"). I was outraged that it didn't win any Oscars.
I actually received extra credit in 5th grade after convincing my teacher that I had a "documentary on the Jamaican bobsled team that I wanted the class to watch." I brought in Cool Runnings. This might be the exact moment that I began to slide from "awesome student" to "total failure".
Since watching this movie I haven't been able to watch the Swiss or any other German speaking team bobsled during the Olympics without shouting "EINS! ZWEI! DREI! AHHHHHHHHHHH" a habit that I think might be starting to get on the nerves of anyone who watches bobsledding with me.
Also who hasn't done this in front of a mirror:
True Story: Yul Brenner and Ice the Bounty Hunter on Arrested Development are the same person. AWESOME!
It also has the greatest slow clap scene in cinematic history:
Note: I watched this movie for the first time in about 2 years today. In the aftermath of the death of the Olympic luger (possibly due to inexperience) I found the (spoiler alert!) crash scene a little hard to stomach. Damn you, reality.
Synopsis: The greatest moment in US sports history, hands down, was the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team's victory over the Soviets. This movie gives the 100% true story to that glory. Alright, fine, it takes some dramatic liberties, but no other movie makes you more proud to be an American.
Originally I had put this over Cool Runnings. I thought it had everything you need, a heart warming storyline, hot guys and hilarious accents. But that's not enough to put it over Cool Runnings as exactly the same can be said about that movie. It was really sentimental value put it above the rest.
My mom and I saw this the first weekend it came out. She had told me the story of how she was on a flight back from God knows where when the "Miracle on Ice" happened and how the pilot had relayed the news to the cabin. It sounded like quite the moment. We saw the movie, loved it, and went back the next day to watch it again. It was that good. Also, full disclosure, when I was in Ireland while studying abroad I got incredibly sick one weekend. I popped in this movie and watched it while dying in bed. I may have burst into tears when they beat the Soviets and everyone started shouting U-S-A! U-S-A! I just love my country that much. The fever also probably played a role.
This Youtube video of the little kid reciting the Herb Brooks speech definitely gave it some added bonus points as well.
It's probably the closest we can get to putting D2: The Mighty Ducks on this list (aka the greatest movie ever), so that gives it some extra bonus points as well. (Holy crap they're the same movie! WHO KNEW?!??!?!). Then I watched Cool Runnings again and realized just how incredible it was.
3. The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner
Synopsis: Walter Steiner ski jumps...he also enjoys woodcarving. Famed director Werner Herzog is crazy. Together, they create art.
One thing that you should know about my group of friends, we love Werner Herzog documentaries. We have shirts with his face stenciled on them. His movies are the perfect mixture of interesting, ridiculous and hilarious. The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner follows a Swiss ski jumper Walter Steiner, who also enjoys woodcarving. Walter Steiner, from what I can tell in this German language film, is the greatest ski jumper of all time. At one point he agrees to jump from a lower starting point just to give his competitors a better chance at beating him. That's like Babe Ruth volunteering to bat one handed. While it sounds like he's evening the playing field, he's actually just showing off. My favorite part is when Steiner talks about how he had a pet bird as a child then shot it when it wouldn't go back into the wild because it was "the humane thing to do".
Here is the opening scene...you're transfixed within 10 seconds.
Simply knowing this movie exists gets me 35 hipster points. Pretty soon I'll have enough to buy a pair of suspenders out of the hipster catalogue.
4. Blades of Glory
Synopsis: Ron Burgandy and Napoleon Dynamite are banned from men's competitive figure skating for life. They find a loop hole and are still able to compete as long as they compete as a pair. Will Arnett and Amy Pohler play an orphaned brother and sister pair set on bringing the two down. Hilarity ensues.
I didn't want to put it this high. I saw it once, then spent the next year telling everyone how overrated it was. Then I saw it again and laughed, a lot. Then I watched actual pairs figure skating and realized how realistic it was. Now I am desperately trying to find an OnDemand channel that is showing it so I can watch it again.
5. Funny story, there are only 4 Winter Olympic movies that I've seen enough times to make blog entries about them. I've been yelled at for not including The Cutting Edge on this list. The truth is while I've seen The Cutting Edge, I can't for the life of me remember it. I could go and rent it, but movie stores have completely gone out of business. I could cue it up on Netflix but my next movie is a documentary about the Amish practice of Rumspringa and I've been waiting too long to watch that to delay it even further. We'll just go ahead and give the number 5 spot to D2: The Mighty Ducks for being the greatest movie ever.
Synopsis: Did you watch Miracle? It's the same movie, but with teenagers. You think I'm joking. It's the exact same movie. Replace "Soviets" with "Iceland" and "Olympics" with "Junior Goodwill Games". Same. Effing. Movie.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I ended many a drunken night in college shouting QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! with my friend Paige. I could watch this movie 1000x over.
This movie brings up so many questions:
Is Charlie Conway a terrorist for refusing to wear the Red White and Blue instead wearing the Duck uniform?
Since when has Iceland been a hockey powerhouse?
Why do the Icelandics have the same accent as the Cool Runnings's Swiss?
Is Gunner Stahl really that guy from City Guys?
If nothing else it left me with my favorite movie quote ever.
"You lost it for yourself...let's go shake their hands."
And isn't that the true Olympic spirit?