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!
Documentary198325 mins Location: Cleckheaton
With the Paralympics even more marginalised than today, these athletes show great determination, dedication, camaraderie and humility.
We're off! Olympic training on the streets of Mansfield as local boy John Whetton prepares for the 1968 Mexico City games.
Non-Fiction19243 minsSilent Location: Fulham
British "girl athletes" prove themselves in competition with women from around the world at Stamford Bridge.
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 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.
1964 International Stoke Mandeville Games in Tokyo, 8th-12th November1964 International Stoke Mandeville Games in Tokyo, 8th-12th November
Competitors, officials, advocates and spectators take part in the second awe-inspiring Paralympic Games, held in Tokyo.
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.
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
Sport19682 minsSilent Location: Wadebridge
The Cornu-Breton Open Championship is won by seventeen-year old
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.
Trials and tribulations in outdoor tennis, football, wrestling and marathon running at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.
Amateur film193616 minsSilent
Bustling street scenes in the build-up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and atmospheric shots of the opening ceremony.
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
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
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
Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 minsSilent Location: Crystal Palace
Ready, steady, relay! This newsreel captures the pepped-up mood at the 1908 South London Schools Sports event.
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.
Michael Shelton and his gold medal in wheelchair snooker are rightly celebrated by the mining community of Newstead.
Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Blackpool
Watch out! Splashes aplenty as female swimmers and divers compete to represent Great Britain in the 1928 Olympics.
The 1956 British Olympic boxing team arrives at Heathrow, returning from a successful Games in Melbourne.
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.
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.
Footage of a breakthrough athletics event which paved the way for women to compete more fully at the Olympic Games.