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The film follows the life of famous 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine from his youth days in Oregon to Oregon University where he worked with the legendary coach Bill Bowerman, later to Olympics in Munich and his early death at 24 in a car crash.
Top Customer Reviews
The film is just flat out entertaining. Particularly the olympic race in Munich is perfectly directed with both staged and actual footing in addtion to being paced so well that I as other reviewers have commented watch the race each time on the edge of my seat hoping for an outcome that I know isn't coming. Not to mention the numerous funny one liners in the film.
Crudup and Sutherland are outstanding as opposite sides of the same coin.
Billy Crudup was superb as "Pre". Cool, cocky, with a running style that sent shivers through me. Donald Sutherland gives another first-rate performance as coach Bowerman. Compared to R. Lee Ermey's portrayal in the lesser movie "Prefontaine", watching Sutherland work was like eating filet mignon after beef jerky.
The highlight of the film for me was the '72 Munich race. Pure sustained tension. I've seen the film 4 times, I know the outcome, but I nevertheless hop out of my chair every time I see Pre/Crudup break from the pack. Excellent, too, how they deftly spliced in the actual footage.
Only two criticisms: the romance was hokey, and there was too much unnecessary fiction woven in (Pre gashed his foot running around a swimming pool, not while having sex upside down, for crying out loud).
But because of this movie, I learned that Pre wasn't just a flashy jock who died young. He was a true working class hero in a sport where there weren't many. He had his own running code, which he also applied in life: run all-out, ahead of the pack, all the time.
As a runner, "Without Limits" actually inspired me to actually chop seconds off my running times, which is not a bad testament. But I don't think one has to be a runner to like this movie.
I thought the acting in this movie could have been much better. The principle actors were decent, but it was a long drop off to the secondaries as far as acting talent. I felt Leto was more brash, cocky and arrogant. In comparison to Crudup, it made me feel Pre was this way on many occasions more out of fear or a need to be arrogant, as opposed to true belief in himself. More like a prima donna.
Given that these are movies and not documentaries, I really don't care about the small ones such as how close a race was, etc. But would like to get the truth on the the bigger issues such as personal relationships, how he hurt his foot (there either were witnesses, or there were not), and how directly he was involved in the fight against the AAU. I liked the added details in Munich and his life after Munich, showing his continued successes. These details were great from an informational perspective, but it certainly made the direction seem choppy. Without input from Pre himself, so many aspects of his friendship and love life are skewed by the perspective of the person that is recounting it, and can be questioned in both movies. To observe it is to change it, as they say. I would certainly say if you asked for the story of my uneventful life from 2 different ex-girlfriends, you would probably get 2 completely different stories.
This movie seemed a little shallow in this area. It seemed like all it did to teach the audience about strategy and Pre's abilities was to say, "You are too slow to sprint, so you have to push the pace faster to make the kickers tired".Read more ›
The acting in this film is better than in "Prefontaine," the other film documenting Pre's life produced a year before this film came out. Donald Sutherland's performance as Bill Bowerman is extremely moving and endearing. His connection with Pre is that of a father to a son. As far as historical accuracy, many will quibble about the details of Pre's life and relationships, but I am not overly concerned by this fact. As in literature, it is not the job of an author to necessarily render everything according to historical accuracy. Rather, he or she must create memorable characters that move and affect us. This film achieves just that.
While its interest will definitely appeal to those of the athletic (and, in particular, running) community, I believe that its message has a more universal appeal as well. Pre set out to conquer the world and ended up finally conquering himself and coming to peace with that fact. If you're looking for an uplifting, heartwarming story-you've come to the right place.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My wife ran long distance in college and has always talked about this movie and about Pre. I began running seriously a few weeks ago so we finally watched this together since I... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jason Fouse
I didn't know much about Prefontaine before watching this movie - it was an interesting movie about a singular character who died young and left a mystique behind because of that. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. G. Essig
Just as good the 3rd time around. This story needed to be told and they did it well.Published 3 months ago by Denise B. Higgison
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