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Olympics on Film

Film loves spectacle, and one sporting contest delivers more than any other. Here, we carry the torch for over a century of Olympian endeavour.

Barely a year separates the birth of film and the first modern Olympics. The two have grown together, their innovations and rituals inseparably bound. Our collection includes footage from many of the most memorable Games of the last century, and explores Olympian endeavour beyond the Games - the training and preparation, the unflagging dedication to excellence in competition after competition, the triumphant homecomings. In our LOLympics collection, we salute the champions of cheese rolling, pea pushing and uphill beer barrel racing, all (so far) sadly denied official Olympic status. Throughout, the Olympic spirit shines through, nowhere more so than in the films showing the successful fight for recognition of athletes with disabilities, culminating in the rise and rise of the Paralympic Games. Hold that torch high!

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Flashing Blades
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Flashing Blades

Sport19489 mins

Tricky weather conditions cause some spills in the downhill and ski jumping at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz.

The Wheelchair Olympians
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The Wheelchair Olympians

Documentary198325 mins Location: Cleckheaton

With the Paralympics even more marginalised than today, these athletes show great determination, dedication, camaraderie and humility.

Mining Review 22nd Year No. 1
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Mining Review 22nd Year No. 1

19683 mins

We're off! Olympic training on the streets of Mansfield as local boy John Whetton prepares for the 1968 Mexico City games.

Women's Olympiad
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Women's Olympiad

Non-Fiction19243 mins Location: Fulham

British "girl athletes" prove themselves in competition with women from around the world at Stamford Bridge.

Diving and Swimming
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Diving and Swimming

192614 mins

Special effects galore in this demonstration of fancy swimming and diving, featuring Olympic medallist Belle White.

Olga
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Olga

Sport197354 mins

A rare insight into gymnast Olga Korbut's life at the height of her fame, showing the discipline it takes to be an Olympic champion.

XIVth Olympiad  - The Olympic Games at St Moritz
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XIVth Olympiad - The Olympic Games at St Moritz

Non-Fiction19481 mins

Speed skaters brave the weather to race round the track at the 1948 Olympic Games in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Newsview Young World: A Day in the Life of Gymnast Monica Rutherford
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Newsview Young World: A Day in the Life of Gymnast Monica Rutherford

News19645 mins Location: Roker

A television crew documents a day in the life of a Sunderland gymnastics champion and Tokyo Olympics competitor.

Mining Review 5th Year No. 10
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Mining Review 5th Year No. 10

19521 mins

From pick to paddle: Nottinghamshire miner Billy Churn in training for the Olympic canoeing event in Helsinki.

ATHENS 1896
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ATHENS 1896

Sport19061 mins

Is this 1896 - or ten years later? An early snapshot of Olympic competition at Athens, the home of the Games.

OLYMPIC GAMES AT ATHENS
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OLYMPIC GAMES AT ATHENS

Non-Fiction19066 mins

It's the Olympics, but not as we know it - Athens does its own thing in 1906.

Preparing for Olympic Honours
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Preparing for Olympic Honours

Non-Fiction19291 mins

Thousands of rowers in procession on the lake Langer See in Grünau, Germany

Olympic Lassies
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Olympic Lassies

Non-Fiction19241 mins Location: Battersea

On your marks, get set, go! Women athletes in training at Battersea Park, London.

1964 International Stoke Mandeville Games in Tokyo, 8th-12th November
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1964 International Stoke Mandeville Games in Tokyo, 8th-12th November

Documentary196424 mins

Competitors, officials, advocates and spectators take part in the second awe-inspiring Paralympic Games, held in Tokyo.

Wenlock Olympics
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Wenlock Olympics

News19805 mins Location: Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock has a special place in the history of the modern Olympic games - and perhaps it could help to resolve a potential crisis in Moscow.

Olympic and British Fencer Bill Hoskyns
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Olympic and British Fencer Bill Hoskyns

News19681 mins Location: North Perrott

Fencer Bill Hoskyns defends medals after a break-in at home

Olympic Silver for Fencer Bill Hoskyns
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Olympic Silver for Fencer Bill Hoskyns

News19641 mins Location: Taunton

Bill Hoskyns stays en garde for the local press

Olympian Equestrian Eventer and Trainer Bertie Hill
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Olympian Equestrian Eventer and Trainer Bertie Hill

News19681 mins Location: Rapscott

Bertie Hill demonstrates his equestrian skills and shows his horses at Rapscott on Exmoor

Cornish Wrestling Champion John Treglown
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Cornish Wrestling Champion John Treglown

Sport19682 mins Location: Wadebridge

The Cornu-Breton Open Championship is won by seventeen-year old

Harrow Marathon and Shrove Tuesday in Pinner
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Harrow Marathon and Shrove Tuesday in Pinner

Amateur film19844 mins Location: Pinner

Amateur newsreel covering the Harrow Marathon and a packed Shrove Tuesday event on Pinner High Street attended by Ronny Barker.

STOCKHOLM - THE OLYMPIC GAMES, 1912
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STOCKHOLM - THE OLYMPIC GAMES, 1912

Sport19129 mins

Trials and tribulations in outdoor tennis, football, wrestling and marathon running at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.

Berlin and the Olympics, 1936
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Berlin and the Olympics, 1936

Amateur film193616 mins

Bustling street scenes in the build-up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and atmospheric shots of the opening ceremony.

The Olympic Flame
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The Olympic Flame

Advert19327 mins

Is it a food or drink? Ovaltine takes the Gold at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

Olympics Games 1912
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Olympics Games 1912

Sport19128 mins

Death-defying rope gymnastics stun spectators at the Summer Olympics in Stockholm.

World's Amateur Sculling Champion
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World's Amateur Sculling Champion

Non-Fiction1925 mins Location: Putney

Jack Beresford wins his second Gold Cup on the River Thames

The Olympia Leap
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The Olympia Leap

Sport19301 mins

All the daredevil action captured by newsreel cameras perched at the top of the ski jump at St Moritz.

Rowing in Henley 1948 Olympics
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Rowing in Henley 1948 Olympics

Amateur film19485 mins Location: Henley-on-Thames

From the Austerity Games of 1948 comes G H Wooton's short film showing Olympic rowing events held at Henley-on-Thames

My Stoke Mandeville Story - June 1960 - April 1961
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My Stoke Mandeville Story - June 1960 - April 1961

Amateur film196023 mins Location: Stoke Mandeville Hospl

Stoke Mandeville Hospital, birthplace of the Paralympic Games, hosts its 1960 sports jamboree - with basketball, archery and weight lifting

Olympiad 1948
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Olympiad 1948

Amateur film19489 mins Location: London

The first post-war Olympic Games feature in John Bell's film from 1948 - with both the opening and closing ceremonies and an equestrian event

Olympic Trials
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Olympic Trials

Non-Fiction19281 mins Location: Herne Hill

With neither gears nor lycra to help them, the cream of Britain's cyclists battle it out at the Herne Hill velodrome ahead of the 1928 Olympics.

CCPCC Cycling
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CCPCC Cycling

Non-Fiction194714 mins Location: Sheffield

Rare film of an exciting sprint and cycle racing event just after the war, capturing most of the large expectant crowd and many competitors.

The Olympic Games in Paris 1924
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The Olympic Games in Paris 1924

Sport192491 mins

The real Chariots of Fire heroes feature in this comprehensive look at the 1924 Olympic Games.

Belfast Boxers
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Belfast Boxers

Documentary199330 mins Location: Belfast

The incredible highs and crushing lows of the Belfast's boxing community

Harvey Smith
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Harvey Smith

Documentary196825 mins Location: Norton

“It isn’t the will to win, it’s that you don’t like to get beaten,” states the redoubtable Harvey Smith, revealed as smart, tough and easy going.

Dartchery in Taunton
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Dartchery in Taunton

Sport19681 mins Location: Taunton

Dartchery aims for bullseye

Walking Race
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Walking Race

Amateur film19386 mins Location: York

Participants come in all shapes and sizes to pound the streets of York and beguile the crowds with an eclectic range of pedestrianistic styles.

An Englishman's Horse
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An Englishman's Horse

Sport197329 mins

Behind the scenes at horse trials at Eridge, including the final trial for British and US Olympic teams.

Olympic Games  4000 Children of South London Schools Hold Sports Meeting at the Crystal Palace
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Olympic Games 4000 Children of South London Schools Hold Sports Meeting at the Crystal Palace

Non-Fiction19081 mins Location: Crystal Palace

Ready, steady, relay! This newsreel captures the pepped-up mood at the 1908 South London Schools Sports event.

Mining Review 14th Year No. 3
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Mining Review 14th Year No. 3

19603 mins

Barnsley miner's daughter Dorothy Hyman sprints to Olympic glory in Rome.

Closing Days of the Olympic Games
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Closing Days of the Olympic Games

Ceremony19488 mins

The final few days of the 1948 London Olympics see an assortment of sports from a variety of venues.

The Olympic Games
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The Olympic Games

Non-Fiction19488 mins

The 1948 London Olympics see Wembley stadium host the athletics plus diving and the swimming at the Empire Pool.

Olympic Champions
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Olympic Champions

Non-Fiction19284 mins

British Empire Olympic athletes take on the USA in the track and field at Stamford Bridge.

VIth British Empire & Commonwealth Games Wales 18-26 July
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VIth British Empire & Commonwealth Games Wales 18-26 July

Amateur film195814 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd

The sporting event for which the Wales Empire Pool was built in Cardiff, reflecting the city's promotion, in 1955, to capital of Wales.

Mining Review 18th Year No. 5
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Mining Review 18th Year No. 5

Cinemagazine196510 mins

Michael Shelton and his gold medal in wheelchair snooker are rightly celebrated by the mining community of Newstead.

Appointment at Kiel
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Appointment at Kiel

Documentary197356 mins

Britain's sailing team competes in selection trials at Weymouth and preparations are underway at Kiel for the 1972 Olympics.

Blackpool. Final Trial
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Blackpool. Final Trial

Non-Fiction19281 mins Location: Blackpool

Watch out! Splashes aplenty as female swimmers and divers compete to represent Great Britain in the 1928 Olympics.

Olympic Cyclist Colin Lewis
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Olympic Cyclist Colin Lewis

Sport19665 mins Location: Torquay

Olympian Cyclist Colin Lewis is interviewed by David Vine

Olympic Aspirants
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Olympic Aspirants

Non-Fiction19281 mins

German athletes compete for the chance to represent their country in the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Home From Melbourne: Well Done! British Boxers
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Home From Melbourne: Well Done! British Boxers

Non-Fiction19561 mins

The 1956 British Olympic boxing team arrives at Heathrow, returning from a successful Games in Melbourne.

Mining Review 1st Year No. 7
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Mining Review 1st Year No. 7

194810 mins Location: Easington

Eclectic mix of post-war stories from the world of coal, including a Dumfermline miner in training for the Winter Olympics.

The Paris and St Louis Expositions
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The Paris and St Louis Expositions

Non-Fiction190412 mins

Olympics in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower - literally and figuratively.

Rowing
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Rowing

192611 mins

Want to get into rowing? Here's a 1926 masterclass by a rowing eight and champion single scullers Jack Beresford and Ted Phelps.

Britain's Champion!
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Britain's Champion!

Non-Fiction19281 mins

Chariots of Fire inspiration Lord Burghley shows off his hurdling prowess at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928.

Mabolgampau Yr Urdd Abertawe, 1933
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Mabolgampau Yr Urdd Abertawe, 1933

Amateur film193311 mins Location: Swansea/Abertawe

The Vetch Field stadium in Swansea is occupied by Urdd Gobaith Cymru – The Welsh League of Hope – for 2 days of mass gymnastics in June 1933.

Women's Olympic Games
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Women's Olympic Games

Non-Fiction19231 mins

Footage of a breakthrough athletics event which paved the way for women to compete more fully at the Olympic Games.

Explore further

The LOLympics
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The LOLympics

The Olympics spirit extends far beyond the Games themselves. We salute the LOLympians, who compete in games off the beaten track (and field).

Eddie the Eagle from Olympics on Film

More Olympics on Film in our Rentals collection.