For a while he was a runner like no other, holding every American record for distance events from 2,000 to 10,000 meters. Upon his rise to prominence he also took on the track and field establishment, fighting for the rights of amateur athletes. Just when Steve Prefontaine reached the peak of his popularity, however, his life was cut short at age 24 by a tragic car accident. This film uses a documentary-style framework to tell his story, beginning with his early days in a small-town Oregon high school in the mid-1960s. Then it concentrates primarily on his meteoric rise to the top of the athletic world while running for the University of Oregon. Prefontaine, portrayed convincingly by Jared Leto, wants to run the mile, one of his sport's more glamorous events. But gruff coach Bill Bowerman (R. Lee Emery) insists that he run the longer distance races. The coach's instincts prove to be correct. With a brash, arrogant exterior masking some inner insecurities, Prefontaine attacks every race with unbridled determination and soon rises to world class status. He hopes to reach his zenith at the 1972 Olympics in Munich in the 5,000-meter run, but the race is delayed by a terrorist attack on the Israeli team. Interspersing dramatizations of Prefontaine's athletic endeavors and remembrances of teammates and friends who are portrayed by actors, the movie provides some idea of the man's legacy. The race footage gets a little repetitive at times, but combined with the drama it tells a story that should interest sports fans.
Prefontaine's persistent drive to succeed could provide some inspiration, particularly for young athletes. But these noble intentions are undermined with entirely too much foul language. Thirty crude words and over a dozen regular profanities are bad enough, and there are also many obscenities. During a moment of disappointment Prefontaine rapidly spouts out three f-words. He also has a live-in relationship with his college girlfriend, although there are no sex scenes. The lethal car accident is depicted, although not with any gory detail. If the language had just been toned down, Prefontaine would be an acceptable and emotional saga.
Hollywood Pictures, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521
Many (31) times - Mild 22, Moderate 9
Many (10) times - s-word 3, f-word 3, other 3
Many (15) times - Regular 13 (G-d 8, J 4, JC 1), Exclamatory 2
Few times - Moderate (punch to face, falling accident, car accident, gunfire)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog:
Few times (alcohol drinking)
Unmarried couple living together
Teens and adults
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