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Tokyo Olympiad

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Director  Kon Ichikawa
Music director  Toshiro Mayuzumi
Language  Japanese
8/10 IMDb

Genre  Documentary, Sport
Country  Japan
Tokyo Olympiad movie poster
Writer  Shuntaro Tanikawa, Natto Wada
Release date  March 20, 1965 (1965-03-20)
Initial release  September 24, 1965 (Finland)
Cast  Abebe Bikila, Hirohito, Jack Douglas, Ichiro Mikuni
Screenplay  Kon Ichikawa, Natto Wada, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Yoshio Shirasaka
Similar movies  Related Kon Ichikawa movies

Tokyo Olympiad (東京オリンピック, Tōkyō Orinpikku) is a 1965 documentary film directed by Kon Ichikawa which documents the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Like Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, which documented the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Ichikawa's film was considered a milestone in documentary filmmaking. However, Tokyo Olympiad keeps its focus more on the atmosphere of the games and the human side of the athletes instead of concentrating on winning and the results. It is one of the few sports documentaries included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.


Tokyo Olympiad movie scenes

Tokyo olympiad the marathon

Production history

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The 1964 Summer Olympics were seen as vitally important to the Japanese government. Much of Japan's infrastructure had been destroyed during World War II and the Olympics were seen as a chance to re-introduce Japan to the world and show off its new modernised roads and industry as well as its burgeoning economy. Every Olympics since the first modern games in 1896 Summer Olympics had been committed to film to some extent or another, usually financed by the International Olympic Committee for reasons of posterity. For the 1964 Olympics the Japanese government decided to finance their own film and initially hired Akira Kurosawa who, at the time, was the most famous Japanese director worldwide thanks to films such as Ikiru and Seven Samurai. However, Kurosawa's famous tendency for complete control - he demanded to not only direct the film but the opening and closing ceremonies as well - led to his dismissal. This led to the bringing in of Ichikawa, who had a reputation of coming into productions where events hadn't followed the initial plans.


Tokyo Olympiad Tokyo Olympiad 1965 The Criterion Collection

Ichikawa's vision of the Tokyo Olympics was controversial at the time as it was the opposite of what the Japanese government wanted and expected of the film. Ichikawa presented a film which was very much a cinematic and artistic recording of the events, more concerned with the athletes than the events, than the journalistic, historical recording that was desired by its financiers. As a result, the Japanese Olympic Committee forced Ichikawa to re-edit the picture to better suit their requirements, with the final, re-edited, version clocking in at 93 minutes rather than the original's 170 minutes.


Tokyo Olympiad wwwkronosrecordscom TOKYO OLYMPIAD 1964 by TOSHIRO MAYUZUMI

Tokyo Olympiad was released theatrically in Japan on 20 March 1965 where it was distributed by Toho. It had a 169-minute runtime that included an intermission.

Tokyo Olympiad Tokyo Olympiad the greatest Olympic documentary in color and

The film was released in the United States by American International Pictures, Pan-World Film Exchange and Jack Douglas Enterprises with an English narration. It was released on 20 October 1965 with a 93-minute runtime. The film was reissued in 1984 by Janus Films and Night Kitchen, Inc. with English subtitles at a 169-minute runtime.


Tokyo Olympiad Tokyo Olympiad

The film is held in very high regard and is seen, alongside Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, as one of the best films about the Olympics and one of the best sports documentaries of all time. Based on 11 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 100% of critics gave the film a positive review.


Tokyo Olympiad Tokyo Olympiad Images Reverse Search

The film is somewhat difficult to find in the west, with the Criterion Collection DVD version out of print. It can be found on eBay fairly regularly, however, often fetching prices of between £35/$70. It can also be found on video from Homevision in the US and Tartan Video in the UK, though these too are out of print and can fetch prices of upwards of £30/$60.

Tokyo Olympiad Tokyo Olympiad 1965 Top 10 Summer Olympics Films TIMEcom

In 2013, the official Olympic YouTube channel made an 125-minute version available in its entirety on the internet.

Other Official Films of the Olympic Games

  • Olympia (1938), directed by Leni Riefenstahl about Berlin 1936
  • La grande olimpiade (1961), directed by Romolo Marcellini about Rome 1960
  • Visions of Eight (1973), an anthology film about Munich 1972
  • 16 Days of Glory (1986), directed by Bud Greenspan about Los Angeles 1984
  • References

    Tokyo Olympiad Wikipedia
    Tokyo Olympiad IMDb Tokyo Olympiad