Starring legendary actor Christopher Plummer (THE INSIDER, A BEAUTIFUL MIND) and Jamie Maclachlan as Sir Roger Bannister -- you and your family will cheer on this amazing account of a gifted runner's triumph! After Mount Everest was conquered in 1953, the last great individual challenge remained the four-minute mile. While many sought to break through the most famous barrier in sporting history, it was medical student and driven amateur Roger Bannister who did it -- astounding the world. Written by renowned sportswriter Frank Deford -- don't miss one second of this remarkable achievement, both on and off the track.~~ ~
Sir Roger Bannister's historic running of the sub-four-minute mile is celebrated in Four Minutes
, an inspiring and respectably authentic TV movie about breaking the most famous barrier in the history of sports. Although it was primarily filmed on locations near Toronto, Canada, this classy ESPN production effectively captures the melancholy mood of post-World War II England, which desperately needed a hero to lift the country out of its post-war depression. Stubbornly resistant to training, Bannister was a devoted Oxford medical student with only passing interest in athletics, but his surprising speed set the stage for his record-setting one-mile run (officially recorded as 3:59.4) at Oxford's modest Iffley Road track on the rainy and windy afternoon of May 6, 1954. As written by renowned sportswriter Frank Deford (based on his article "Hillary and Bannister") and directed by British TV veteran Charles Beeson, this handsome-looking film makes the most of its limited budget, and newcomer Jamie Maclachlan (a dead ringer for the real Bannister circa 1954) is perfectly cast, physically convincing as a world-class runner while effortlessly conveying Bannister's intelligent, congenial charm. Deford's teleplay is dryly conventional, with perfunctory parallels to Sir Edmund Hillary's 1953 conquest of Mount Everest (another inspirational British milestone), a fictional composite role for Christopher Plummer (doing fine work as Bannister's disabled coach) and a standard love interest (nicely played by Amy Rutherford, as the future Mrs. Bannister) for a touch of trackside romance. Comparisons to Chariots of Fire
are unavoidable, but Four Minutes
can stand on its own, ensuring that Bannister's remarkable achievement will never be forgotten.
On the DVD
Four Minutes is accompanied by a variety of bonus features that provide a comprehensive record of Roger Bannister's historic running of the sub-four-minute mile. In addition to the standard extras (deleted scenes, outtakes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette), there's also the original 1954 newsreel footage of Bannister's record-setting run; a documentary short titled "Barrier Breakers," about the runners who challenged the four-minute barrier prior to Bannister's breakthrough; original 2005 interviews with Bannister and fellow Oxford runner Chris Chataway; an enhanced on-screen trivia option full of informative information regarding Bannister's achievement and the film's historical context; and audio commentary by Four Minutes director Charles Beeson, producer Len Raynor, and executive producer Jerry Abrams. --Jeff Shannon