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VIRTUAL Reality
Jack McCallum
February 05, 2001
Unlike the many works of cinematic fiction that center on athletes or the games they play, these are the real deal: sports documentaries.
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February 05, 2001

Virtual Reality

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Unlike the many works of cinematic fiction that center on athletes or the games they play, these are the real deal: sports documentaries.

Olympia (1938): Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's famed film propagandist, used 40 photographers to shoot the '36 Berlin Summer Games for a documentary that was decades ahead of its time.

The Endless Summer (1966): Dude, 35 years after this surfing flick came out, it still makes you want to wax your board and hang ten.

The Olympiad (1976): Who cared about hammer throwers and pentathletes before Bud Greenspan's somberly narrated 22-part series?

Pumping Iron (1977): Catch the pre- Hollywood Arnold Schwarzenegger, at 29, when the future action star was the swaggering, winsome Babe Ruth of bodybuilding.

Hoop Dreams (1994): No fictional account of urban basketball has ever come close to this wrenching account of two Chicago schoolboys.

When We Were Kings (1996): Who would want to watch a movie about a 27-year-old prizefight? Everybody. It's Muhammad Ali-George Foreman in Zaire. Pull up a chair.

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998): This film says as much about America in the 1930s and '40s as it does about the Jewish slugger, and that's the point.

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