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 BladesFlashing Blades

Sport19489 minsSilent

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

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The Wheelchair OlympiansThe Wheelchair Olympians

Documentary198325 mins Location: Cleckheaton

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

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Mining Review 22nd Year No. 1Mining 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.

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Women's Olympiad Women's Olympiad

Non-Fiction19243 mins Location: Fulham

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

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Diving and SwimmingDiving and Swimming

192614 mins

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

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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.

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

Non-Fiction19481 minsSilent

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

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

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

19521 mins

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

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Sport19061 mins

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

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Non-Fiction19066 mins

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

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Preparing for Olympic HonoursPreparing for Olympic Honours

Non-Fiction19291 mins

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

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Olympic LassiesOlympic Lassies

Non-Fiction19241 mins Location: Battersea

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

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1964 International Stoke Mandeville Games in Tokyo, 8th-12th November1964 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.

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Wenlock OlympicsWenlock 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.

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Olympic and British Fencer Bill HoskynsOlympic and British Fencer Bill Hoskyns

News19681 minsSilent Location: North Perrott

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

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Olympic Silver for Fencer Bill HoskynsOlympic Silver for Fencer Bill Hoskyns

News19641 minsSilent Location: Taunton

Bill Hoskyns stays en garde for the local press

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

News19681 mins Location: Rapscott

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

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Cornish Wrestling Champion John TreglownCornish Wrestling Champion John Treglown

Sport19682 minsSilent Location: Wadebridge

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

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Harrow Marathon and Shrove Tuesday in PinnerHarrow 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.

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Sport19129 minsSilent

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

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Berlin and the Olympics, 1936Berlin 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.

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The Olympic FlameThe Olympic Flame

Advert19327 mins

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

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Olympics Games 1912Olympics Games 1912

Sport19128 minsSilent

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

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World's Amateur Sculling ChampionWorld's Amateur Sculling Champion

Non-Fiction19250 mins Location: Putney

Jack Beresford wins his second Gold Cup on the River Thames

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The Olympia Leap The Olympia Leap

Sport19301 mins

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

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Rowing in Henley 1948 OlympicsRowing in Henley 1948 Olympics

Amateur film19485 minsSilent 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

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

Amateur film196023 minsSilent Location: Stoke Mandeville Hospl

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

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Olympiad 1948Olympiad 1948

Amateur film19489 minsSilent 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

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Olympic TrialsOlympic 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.

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CCPCC CyclingCCPCC Cycling

Non-Fiction194714 minsSilent 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.

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

Sport192491 mins

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

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Belfast BoxersBelfast Boxers

Documentary199331 mins Location: Belfast

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

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Harvey SmithHarvey 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.

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Dartchery in TauntonDartchery in Taunton

Sport19681 minsSilent Location: Taunton

Dartchery aims for bullseye

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Walking RaceWalking Race

Amateur film19386 minsSilent 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.

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An Englishman's HorseAn Englishman's Horse

Sport197329 mins

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

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

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

19603 mins

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

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Closing Days of the Olympic GamesClosing 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.

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The Olympic GamesThe Olympic Games

Non-Fiction19488 mins

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

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Olympic ChampionsOlympic Champions

Non-Fiction19284 mins

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

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VIth British Empire & Commonwealth Games Wales 18-26 JulyVIth 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.

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Mining Review 18th Year No. 5Mining 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.

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Appointment at KielAppointment at Kiel

Documentary197356 mins

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

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Blackpool. Final TrialBlackpool. 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.

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Olympic Cyclist Colin LewisOlympic Cyclist Colin Lewis

Sport19665 mins Location: Torquay

Olympian Cyclist Colin Lewis is interviewed by David Vine

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Olympic AspirantsOlympic Aspirants

Non-Fiction19281 mins

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

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

Non-Fiction19561 minsSilent

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

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Mining Review 1st Year No. 7Mining 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.

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The Paris and St Louis ExpositionsThe Paris and St Louis Expositions

Non-Fiction190412 mins

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

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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.

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Britain's Champion!Britain's Champion!

Non-Fiction19281 mins

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

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

Amateur film193311 minsSilent 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.

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Women's Olympic Games 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.

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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).

More Olympics on Film in our Rentals collection.