PrefontaineJanuary 24, 1997
Based on the life of Olympic hopeful Steve Prefontaine, a long distance runner who lived in Oregon and died young
Release Year: 1997
Rating: 6.4/10 (3,042 voted)
Critic's Score: 56/100
Stars: Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey, Ed O'Neill
Life and times of Steve Prefontaine, a young long-distance runner from Oregon who pursued the dream of Olympic gold in Munich and became one of the biggest, yet most tragic sport stars in America.
Writers: Steve James, Eugene Corr
R. Lee Ermey
12 year old kid
3rd Airport Reporter
He beat the odds… And became a legend!
Release Date: 24 January 1997
Filming Locations: Buckaroo Tavern – 4021 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, Washington, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $311,253
(26 January 1997)
(2 February 1997)
During the football scene at the start of the movie, when Steve first puts his helmet on it has no side ear pads. When he's hit a moment later and is on the ground the pads are there.
Pre turned distance running into a blood sport. You wanna know what he meant to folks around here? What was it
kids said back then? "You just had to be there."
Inspiring And Haunting
This is the real-life story of Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine who, despite
physical imperfections, draws on inner strength of character, to set
American track records, and race in the 1972 Munich Olympics. As a runner
myself, I found this 1997 docudrama inspiring.
But "Prefontaine" is far more than a cinematic pep talk for runners. It's a
character study of an extraordinary young man from an ordinary background,
his personal relationships, and his date with destiny. It is a story that
has lasting value.
The film's visuals and music effectively convey the look and sound of the
early 70's. The acting is above average. Jared Leto is superb as Steve.
Just as good is R. Lee Ermey as Steve's coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman,
a man who found a way to make running shoes with the help of a waffle iron.
Ed O'Neill, Breckin Meyer, and the lovely Amy Locane are good, in supporting
Leto's acting, combined with a clever script, portrays Pre as gutsy,
determined, intense, charismatic, vulnerable, at times reckless,
self-absorbed, brash, and arrogant. One of my favorite segments of dialogue
has Steve and his teammate Pat Tyson jogging along, and talking about the
great runner Jim Ryun. Steve comments: "Forget Jim Ryun; he's done; I'm
gonna be the first Steve Prefontaine", to which Pat responds: "It must be
nice to want to be yourself".
Later, Pre frustratingly says to his girlfriend Nancy: "All of my life
people have said to me: you're too small Pre; you're not fast enough Pre;
give up your foolish dreams Steve."
Pre's story is told in another film: "Without Limits"; both now available on
DVD, and both good, though I prefer this Steve James directed
Often and rightly compared to other sports films, "Prefontaine" reminds me
of a film one might not think of. Pre's life was similar in some ways to
another notable person from an ordinary background, one who set out bravely
on a personal quest, of sorts, and who, in the process, like Pre, made a
powerful and lasting impression: Karen Silkwood.
Coincidentally, Pre's fate and Karen's fate were tragically similar, and
only six months apart. In both "Prefontaine" and "Silkwood", the message to
the rest of us ordinary mortals is: don't underestimate your life; do your
best; and make each day count. You never know when "fate" may