Numerous Olympic Films and movies have been produced. The Organizing Committee of each Olympic Games now produces its own official Olympic Film celebrating in motion pictures “its” Olympics. This began in 1932, but is usually considered to have started with the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin when German film producer Leni Riefenstahl, at the behest of Adolf Hitler, produced the most famous and haunting of all Olympic Films, Olympia. Prior to that, the filmed record of the Olympics came from cinema newsreels. Other well-known official Olympic Films have been Tokyo Olympiad, celebrating the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Visions of Eight, celebrating the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
In addition to official Olympic Films, many independent producers produce Olympic movies\: The American television network which televises the Olympics now usually produces a cinematic summary of the Olympics and their coverage is often available to be bought and viewed on video-cassette recorders or DVDs. The most famous, and controversial, official Olympic film has been that of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Although widely considered to be a tour-de-force in terms of its artistry, Riefenstahl has been castigated because of her close association with Hitler, and the film is sometimes considered to be a propaganda film produced to glorify the Third Reich, similar to one of her earlier works on the Nuremburg Rallies – Triumph of the Will.
The best known privately produced, non-documentary film on the Olympics was the film, Chariots of Fire (procuded by David Puttnam, and directed by Hugh Hudson), which focused on the 1924 Olympic Games and two British runners, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1981.
The most prominent producer of Olympic Films has been the American Bud Greenspan, who was initially assisted by his late wife, Cappy Greenspan, via their film company, Cappy Productions. Greenspan has produced a remarkable series of Olympic movies termed “The Olympiad Series”. In addition, he has been the producer of the numerous official Olympic Films.
The following are the Official Olympic Films:
- 1932 - Los Angeles 1932. Produced by the COJO Los Angeles 1932.
- 1936 - Olympia – Part I: Festival of the People; Part II: Festival of Beauty. Produced and directed by Leni Riefenstahl.
- 1948 - The Glory of Sports. Produced by the COJO London 1948. Directed by Castleton Knight.
- 1952 - Helsinki 1952. Produced by the COJO Helsinki 1952. Directed by Chris Marker.
- 1956 - Melbourne 1956. Produced by the COJO Melbourne 1956. Directed by René Lucot.
- 1960 - The Grand Olympics. Produced by the COJO Rome 1960. Directed by Romolo Marcellini. (Also released in French as La Grande Olimpiade.)
- 1964 - Tokyo Olympiad. Produced by Suketaru Taguchi. Directed by Kon Ichikawa.
- 1968 - The Olympics in Mexico. Produced by Federico Amerigo. Directed by Alberto Isaac.
- 1972 - Visions of Eight. Produced by David L. Wolper. Directed by Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yury Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, and Mai Zetterling.
- 1976 - Montreal 1976 – Games of the XXIst Olympiad. Produced by the COJO Montreal 1976. Directed by Jean-Claude Labrecque, Jean Beaudin, Marcel Carrière, and Georges Dufaux.
- 1980 - Olimpijskij Prazdnik. Produced by the COJO Moscow 1980. Directed by Yury Ozerov.
- 1984 - The 1984 Summer Olympics. 16 Days of Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 1988 - Seoul 1988: Games of the XXIV Olympiad. Produced by the National Film Production Center. Directed by Lee Kwang-Soo.
- 1992 - Marathon. Produced by Ibergroup SA, a consolidated company formed from three Spanish film production companies – Group Films, Iberoamericana Films Internacional, and Lola Films. Directed by Carlos Saura.
- 1996 - Atlanta’s Olympic Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2000 - Sydney 2000 Olympics: Gold from Down Under. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2004 - Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2008 - The Everlasting Flame: Beijing 2008. Directed by Gu Jun and produced by Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio.
- 2012 - First: The Official Film of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Directed by Caroline Rowland and produced by NCM Fathom Events.
- 1936 - Jugend der Welt. Produced by the Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film.
- 1948 - Olympic Games in White. Produced by the COJO St. Moritz 1948. Directed by Torgny Wickman.
- 1952 - Title not listed in the Official Report. Produced by Norsk Film A/S.
- 1956 - White Vertigo. Produced by the COJO Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956. Directed by Giorgio Ferroni.
- 1960 - Flame in the Snow: An Official Film of the VIII Olympic Winter Games. Produced by Marvin Becker Films in cooperation with the COJO Squaw Valley 1960.
- 1964 - Innsbruck 1964. Produced by the COJO Innsbruck 1964.
- 1968 - Grenoble 1968 – Treize Jours en France. Produced by Georges Derocles. Directed by Claude Lelouch and François Reichenbach.
- 1972 - Sapporo Winter Olympics – 1972. Produced by the COJO Sapporo 1972.
- 1976 - White Rock – Innsbruck 1976. Produced by the COJO Innsbruck 1976.
- 1980 - Per the 1980 Olympic Winter Official Report (p. 123), “No ‘official film’ rights were granted by the Organizing Committee and no ‘official film’ was produced by the Organizing Committee. A videotape copy of ABC’s coverage of the Games was delivered to the IOC in compliance with the IOC’s Rule 48 (1974 version) to document the Games.”
- 1984 - A Turning Point – the Official Film of the XIV Winter Games. Produced by the COJO Sarajevo 1984.
- 1988 - Calgary ‘88. 16 Days of Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 1992 - One Light One World. Produced by Jalbert Productions.
- 1994 - Lillehammer ‘94: 16 Days of Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 1998 - Nagano ‘98 Olympics\: Stories of Honor and Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2002 - Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2006 - Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions.
- 2010 - Vancouver 2010: Stories of Olympic Glory. Produced and Directed by Bud Greenspan and Beffa Films.