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HALL OF FAMEon February 1, 2005
Heartwarming and inspirational drama, starring the lovely Lynn-Holly Johnson (THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS) and Robby Benson (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), and featuring the Oscar-nominated theme song "Through the Eyes of Love" by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager.

Alexis `Lexie' Winston (Lynn-Holly Johnson) is a promising young 16-year-old ice skater, living in Iowa with her widowed father (Tom Skerritt). She receives her training from Beulah (Colleen Dewhurst) a former ice skater, now the owner of the ice-rink and bowling alley. Beulah knows that Lexie won't achieve her full potential until a proper trainer takes her on. So when renowned coach Deborah Mackland (Jennifer Warren) offers the chance of a lifetime to Lexie, she leaves small-town life behind and begins her quest to become a champion ice skater...until a freak accident shatters her dreams.

Now with the help of her father and Beulah, and the guidance of her boyfriend Nick (Robby Benson), Lexie sets out to overcome her adversity and skate one last time...

Filled with excellent performances and the soaring, emotional music of Hamlisch, ICE CASTLES is a satisfying movie experience. Colleen Dewhurst and Tom Skerritt provide exceptional supporting performances. Lynn-Holly Johnson, in her movie debut, gamely rises to the challenge in the demanding role of Lexie. Robby Benson turns in a solid performance as Nick. Only Jennifer Warren, as coach Deborah Mackland, seems cold and aloof (though this is mainly due to the character).

ICE CASTLES is highly-recommended!
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VINE VOICEon April 20, 2006
I have been enchanted by Lynn-Holly Johnson's bubbly personality and amiable charm ever since I saw her skate across the ice rink in the 1981 James Bond movie FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. While the majority of Bond fans seem to dismiss her role as an oversexed, yet naive ice skater as nothing more than simple eye candy, I thought she delivered an incredible performance and was one of the most attractive of all the Bond women.
So, perhaps it is no surprise that I love the movie ICE CASTLES (made three years before she became a Bond girl), what is a surprise is that it took me almost 30 years to see it.
So, when it appeared under my Lynn-Holly Johnson TiVo wish-list I set it to record knowing only that it features Johnson in a lead role and involved ice skating. Yet, over an hour into sitting down to watch it I was once again entranced by Johnson and the unfolding human drama and hoping the movie would never end.
Yes, I am a sucker for tear-jerkers, especially when they tug so forcibly at the emotions. I expected to enjoy Johnson's performance, what I was not expecting was to get so caught up in the story.
Johnson plays Alexis `Lexie' Winston, a promising 16-year-old ice skater, living in Iowa (which as an aside provided extra interest for me, having lived there as an exchange student.)
Trained initially by small-time trainer Beulah (played by Colleen Dewhurst), Lexis jumps at the chance to take her dream of skating glory to the next level by accepting a coaching offer from world-renowned trainer Deborah Mackland (Jennifer Warren.) That is until an emotional Lexie takes to a late unsupervised ice skating session that results in an accident that leaves her blind.
It is the second half of the movie where this feature really shines and shows true courage (along with its leading character.)
It would have been so easy for the movie to have taken a `Lifetime' movie spin of showing a character dealing with shattered dreams and adjusting to her blindness. And at first it seems that the movie might go this route. But instead we see the courage of her family and boyfriend Nick (played by 1970s heartthrob Robbie Benson) in helping her get back on the ice and deal with her handicap determined to prove that she can still compete.
Featuring the Oscar-nominated theme song "Through the Eyes of Love" by former James Bond composer Marvin Hamlisch (1977s THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) and Carole Bayer Sager, ICE CASTLES is solid entertainment and very easy to recommend. In addition to those actors already mentioned this movie also features Tom Skeritt in an outstanding performance as Lexie's over-protective father.
I have to agree with the other reviewer who notes that this movie is one that even a guy can enjoy - I did, immensely.
Another ice skating movie that is well worth checking out is THE CUTTING EDGE.
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on August 25, 2000
"Ice Castles " is a heartwarming, emotional story about triumph over tragedy and love conquering all. When Lexie Winston (Johnson) a talented figure skater with her mind set firmly on the five rings is blinded in a freak accident, her career appears over, and she hides herself from the world, unwilling to face or accept what has happened to her, but bolstered by the love, support, and faith of her childhood sweetheart Nick (Benson), her father (Skerritt), and her first coach (Dewhurst), she makes a triumphant return to life, and in extension, to figure skating. Excellent performances, excellent scenery, and excellent skating make this movie a perennial family favourite which can never be watched without shedding tears.
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on September 18, 2003
Ok, it's 25 years later. We're all older, jaded, and not so mushy-gushy anymore. Nuff said. I remember vividly the day I saw this at the Alpine Theater in Brooklyn during a very rainy day in 1978. I had started skating in 1976 after Dorothy Hamill captured the gold. My mother's secret crush on Robby Benson led us to the theater. (I think that was the only time we agreed on a moive--EVER.) The message--despite the feathered hair, bell bottoms, and over-eager acting--is a positive one. When great people with strong beliefs come together for one goal? Amazing things will happen. And it's not completely untrue that blind people don't skate. There is a skating club for the legally blind. Brian Boitano works with them. One more thing: yes, that's Lynn Holly-NOT a body double-doing all those skating moves: she was a silver medalist in the Novice division of the US Nationals in 1974. After skating on what turned out to be a hairline fractured leg, she gave up competing and became a featured performer with Ice Capades. She also skates in "For Your Eyes Only", but that's another review...Ice Castles is a quiet gem brought gorgeously back to life via DVD. Even if you're not a skater, go get it. Love and miracles? Hey, it could happen! ;-)
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on July 27, 2004
I will never understand Columbia Tristar's decision to leave out one of the pivotal moments in the movie. In the first competition that Johnson's character is in, during the routine, she FALLS ON THE ICE, thus resulting in the low scores she gets for her performance. This part is cut in all the releases that are available, so all you see is a beautiful performance with way-lower than normal scoring!

This scene is even referred to later on in the movie when the trainer is talking to Brian, trying to get him to do a story on Lexie. She refers to the sound of the crowds applause knocking Lexie on her butt, which if you haven't seen it before, leaves you wondering what she's talking about, because you don't actually SEE the fall in any of the releases except when it first came out in theatres many years ago.

The story would make a good family movie, but it does contain a pretty good amont of foul language in it, thus giving concern to parents when watching it with the little ones. If Columbia would make an UNCUT version of this movie, I'd be delighted to try seeing it again, but until then, I just can't recommend it since it doesn't make as much sense as it could.
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on February 28, 2003
I first saw "Ice Castles" in the theater in 1978 (loved it), and for years have been watching it in pan-and-scan VHS. The first time I saw it on DVD (today) was a revelation. There's so much more on the screen with those durned black bars at the top & bottom! The illusion of more with the picture filling your screen is just that -- an illusion. No more artificial camera movements, glorious wide angles in the skating scenes, and the overall picture and sound have cleaned up nicely. It no longer has that darkish "70's" look to it! On the negative side, I could make out the dialog more clearly than ever, and realized that some of it is cheesier than I thought (although the acting and particularly the cinematography seem as good or better than ever). It's always been Waverly, IOWA... not "Waverly Island." Doh!
"Triumph over adversity" movies were very popular in the late 70's & early 80's in particular (I'm sure everyone remembers "Rocky"), and in my opinion "Ice Castles" is one of the better ones. Now with it showing in glorious widescreen digital, it can be experienced again like the first time I ever saw it in that theater. If you've only seen the VHS version, get the DVD -- it's worth every cent.
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VINE VOICEon September 12, 2005
A classic figure skating movie, "Ice Castles" continues to endure despite its age and changes in the sport. The movie realistically depicts the crushing demands and sacrifice placed on competitive figure skaters, and the difficulty so many talented skaters of that era had against the scoring system when "figure" skating really was and 30% of the score was given to compulsory school figures rather than beautiful skating.

Skater Lexie manages to overcome her age difference and modest working-class background to pursue her dream after a world class coach notices her potential at the Regional Championships. But to follow her star, Lexie must leave her home, her beloved old coach and boyfriend. Are the harsh sacrifices and the radical changes to her life worth Olympic gold?

Lexie's dream is shattered by a freak accident that may or may not have been "accidental" there is a hint that she wanted out of the rigorous USFSA machine. She must then rely on her raw talent vs her now-limited sight for one last shot at the title.

The sexual content and Lexie's cheating on her boyfriend with a much older sportscaster (who shouldn't be having an affair with a teenager!) turned me off a bit but the plot overall is good, and of course Carole Bayer Sager's beautiful song is a timeless classic. Recommend for skating fans or romantic movie fans.
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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2006
I saw this movie in 1978 when it premiered...and fell in love with it. I have since had the movie on Beta, VHS, and now DVD. I also have had the soundtrack on cassette and CD. This is one of my "feel good movies" that I pull out when I'm feeling a little down and want to escape for a few hours and return to a time in my life when things were much easier and less hectic.

As an aside, if you're an "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan, the song, "Through the Eyes of Love" was the song that Debra would sit and listen to and have a good cry over. I know that's what I do!

This is still one of the best ice skating movies out there.
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on June 26, 2005
Most will either love Ice Castles or hate it. Perhaps hate is a little harsh but it gets the point across. For a film with numerous shortcomings it has achieved somewhat of a cult following. So much so that Columbia Tristar decided to release it in DVD format several years ago.

What's wrong with the movie? For a film partially intended to appeal to the teenage crowd, it is unnecessary to have any foul language. Yet Ice Castles is sprinkled with four letter words from the beginning to the end. It doesn't advance the plot one iota and it's inclusion in the film is a mystery. Perhaps the producer thought a "G" rating would doom it at the box office and added the harsh language to get a "PG". Whatever the reason it degrades the film.

Many of the lines the actors speak seem to be more or less mumbled and hard to understand. Not sure if this is a sound problem or simply bad acting.

There is a severe lack of continuity in some scenes. For instance Lexie is first wearing a green jacket in the segment where she is learning to skate on the pond after becoming blind. Suddenly she is wearing a blue jacket in the next scene and just as suddenly goes back to the green jacket! Not to mention her being bare-headed and then is seen wearing a beige hat and then back to being bare-headed again! The producer must have been blind too!!

The original film was 115 minutes according to a New York Times review in 1979. However, the VHS and DVD versions are about 108 minutes. Where are the missing 7 minutes and why were they not included?

Nevertheless, despite these and other faults, the film works due in large part to Marvin Hamlisch's music and Lynn-Holly Johnson's beautiful skating. It is a three-hankie the first time you see it and has inspired many young hopefuls to take up the sport. A must-see if you like films that turn tragedy into victory.
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on February 16, 2007
I will always remember the first time I saw this movie, in the 1970's! My friend and I cried so much we had to go and get tissues out of the "Ladies" to mop up all the tears. Now it is 2007 and I wanted so much to see this movie again to see if my interpretation of it had changed now that I am nearly 50 and I have gone through so many of life's experiences...this movie stands up now just as strong and just as beautiful as it did 30 years ago!!! That "don't give up" moral is still just as true today, and somehow even MORE true today than it was when I was so much younger. I am so proud of Bobby Benson for his remarkable career since Ice Castles and wish to congratulate him. I will always love this movie and cherish the music and the love displayed by the characters. Even more grateful am I that, now that I could not buy the movie anywhere in Australia, I have been able to cry my heart out again thanks to Amazon.com
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