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Personal Best


Price: $33.28 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, Patrice Donnelly, Kenny Moore, Jim Moody
  • Directors: Robert Towne
  • Writers: Robert Towne
  • Producers: Robert Towne, David Geffen, Peter Peyton
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JNGN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,349 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Personal Best" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Two female runners fall in love while training for the 1980 Olympics.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Whether you viewed this film when it first appeared in the '80s or today, you cannot help but get the feeling that you are right there w/Tory (Patrice Donnelly) & Chris (Mariel Hemingway) competing on the track and struggling through the pains of high level competition. The technical advice given this film is marvelous, thanks in part to co-star Patrice Donnelly.
Also, the attraction between the two stars is touching and their ensuing love scenes are gentle and moving. When the two stars struggle in their 3yr long relationship, you (the viewer) struggle right along with them. Unfortunately, the two stars never address the reason for their breakup and one is left w/a feeling of incompleteness.
Scott Glenn is very convincing as the coach who falls in love w/Tory and becomes the number one jerk to keep Tory & Chris apart.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Woods on June 17, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
So, I'm having a party conversation with a lesbian friend and "Personal Best" comes up. She denounces it as a lousy portrayal of lesbianism. Yeah, I answer, but it is a great sports movie! And it is too. Personal Best is not just a great sports movie, but is also a great bildungsroman ("coming of age" movie). In it the lead character, Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is involved in a dysfunctional relationship with her father who is a coach. We see little of her family life. The movie revolves around her moving to a new family and getting new parents: Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly) and Terry Tingloff (Scott Glenn, who is, you guessed it, a coach). The problem is the tranference of parental relations is confused from the very beginning by a sexual relation between Chris and Tory. The waters are muddled even further when jealousy rears his head between the "parents," and between Tory and Chris who are set in competition against each other by Tingloff. Through it all, Chris grows up so that, when Tingloff comes on to her in a vulnerable situation, she staves him off (unlike Tory in a earlier scene) and begins to develop her own relationships and her own philosophy of competition. The moral of the movie is: To be competitive you don't have to be better than everybody else, just a little bit better than you were yesterday. You don't have to kill the competition, you can love the competition, but always remember, you are the competition.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is a film about competition in sports and about the love/sexual atraction between two women. The scenes that capture the more difficult moments in sports competition (the beginning of a 1000 meters, by example)are really good and beautiful. There you can see the high feelings of people that dedicates theirs lifes to win in a sport campus. Otherwise, the love scenes are delicate and very beautiful. You can feel by yourself the feelings between the two women. High feelings. What I really didn't like is the end of the love story. It is not credible and seems to be moralizing. But you have to see this picture. Great photography, great bodies. I saw it when it was new (1983, 1984, I guess) and I saw it now and I find it better than then.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on April 10, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I admit I am positively biased in favor of this movie. I saw it long ago when I was young and it impressed me alot in yonder days that now are long gone. Was it the nudity scenes? No, though there are enough of them to attract many an adolescent. Was it the relationship problems that connect and disconnect the personnage? Maybe. But sure it was the sports ethics that attracted me to this movie: the complicated interplay of mental and physical fitness, and how strongly psychology can impact on athletic achievements.

If you are not interested in any of these things the film might turn out a giant loss of time (130") and a disappointment on top of it. If, however, you like Mariel Hemmingway or any other actor involved this might be a good opportunity to see them at quite a young age.

The digi quality was fairly well, satisfying my humble standards at least. The sound came out quite silent, but that might be a problem with my (European!) equipment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jane M. Wolf on August 31, 2007
Format: VHS Tape
I found myself watching "Personal Best" again after several years. Robert Townde creates a movie of coming of age within the world of sports, focusing on the human bodies of women in training in a veritable and also erotic way. The interweaving of the love affair with the rigors of sports and competition is superb. Patrice Donnelly turns out to be the stronger actress, despite the fact that she is the sportswoman, not actress by trade. This is a classic movie as the first commercial movie with a lesbian scene - well worth seeing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl D. Amsterdam on May 29, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sensitive portrayal almost with more tension perhaps knowing it was addressing a relationship barely dealt with at the time and breaking much new ground even tentatively but honestly and, for the most part thoroughly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ubergoober on July 10, 2013
Format: DVD
Excellent Movie about Female Athletes and sports in general. They sweat, they struggle, they fight, they have complicated relationships which can hurt their performances during competition and sometimes, they hook up. This is the most physical demanding movie I have ever seen and the performances are great. It was way ahead of its time.
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