This film is often referred to in the same sentence as other great Olympic documentaries such as Olympia and Tokyo Olympiad. David Wolper blends the music of Henry Mancini with introductions by each of the eight directors as they present their themed video segments from the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Olympic history was set as 7,830 competitors came from 122 nations to attended the games. This film was presented "In memory of the eleven slain Israeli athletes, tragic victims of the violence of our times." Although Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment released a VHS copy in 1980 this film is considered rare and is not currently available from distributors. Search online auctions and long standing video stores for your opportunity to view this fantastic collection of shorts. The film opens with this statement written on the screen: "Sunflowers are familiar to millions, yet no one ever saw them the way Vincent Van Gogh did. So with the Olympics: A recurring spectacle familiar to people around the world. This is no chronological record, no summary of winners and losers. Rather it is the separate visions of eight singular film artists."
The Beginning. Juri Ozerov (U.S.S.R.). "I'm interested in that moment before the contest begins. It's then that the athlete realizes that he is alone out there without friends, trainers, or teammates. The tension of waiting is the most interesting." 5:00 minutes.
The Strongest. Mai Zetterling (Sweden). "I chose weight lifting because I know nothing about it and I suppose one thing that really fascinated me was that these men work in almost total isolation. And then they are obsessed. They don't seem to have any life apart from lifting. I am not interested in sports, but I am interested in obsessions." 13:00.
The Highest. Arthur Penn (United States). There is no introduction by director Penn. Here the pole vault is captured in slow motion and without any sound for the first three minutes. There is extrodinary use of the camera in this segment. 12:30.
The Women. Michael Pfleghar (Germany). "At the first Olympic games women were not allowed to be present, even as spectators, but here in Munich we had the greatest number of women competitors in the history of the games. I wanted to acknowledge their presence and their contributions." See women sprinting, hurdling, high jumping, swimming, and competing in gymnastics.11:30.
The Fastest. Kon Ichikawa (Japan). "The men who compete in the 100 meter final cover the distance in about ten seconds. To catch this fleeting moment I used 34 cameras and 20,000 feet of film. I feel this race somewhat represents the modern human existence. I wanted to expose this." In stunning use of slow motion footage, 22 year old Valery Borzov of the Soviet Union wins the gold; Robert Taylor of the United States takes silver; and Lennox Miller of Jamaica, captures the bronze medal. 6:00.
The Decathlon. Milos Forman (Czechoslovakia). "Ever since I was a young boy it was my dream to see the Olympics. That is I guess why I did this picture. I got to see the Olympics free and I had the best seats at the events." Each event gets it's own unique musical score as the athletes compete to exhaustion. The gold will go to Nikolai Avilov as he scores 8454 points. 16:00.
The Losers. Claude Lelouch (France). "At some point in life everyone must learn to live with defeat. I wanted to see how each person accepts that fact. How the losers meet their certain loneliness." 15:00.
The Longest. John Schlesinger (Great Britain). "I was fascinated by the individual effort of the marathon runner. Training alone for years for a 26 mile race and competing finally with so much more than the race itself." Although 34 year old Ron Hill from Great Britain is one of the race favorites and is featured strongly, it is Frank Shorter who gets congratulated by teammate Kenny Moore as he lead Karel Lismont and Mamo Wolde into the stadium for the victory on this day. Images from this race are captivating and the end of the marathon completes the end of the fifteenth Olympiad from Munich, Germany. 20:00.
Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment released a VHS copy in 1980 of the 1973 Wolper Productions film that runs for 108 minutes. It is rated G and the music by Henry Mancini is more widely available than this Olympic documentary motion picture from the 1972 Munich Games. Shot in Technicolor and partially unified by the contributors' collective mastery of technique, the film is comprised of remarkably different works characterized by a focus on the humane, the struggle, rather than competition itself.
Visions of Eight Soundtrack
RCA Fs Imports released the soundtrack of this 1973 film in 2000. Composed and conducted by Henry Mancini, the music is more well known and even easier to obtain used than this rare Olympic film.
1. Ludmilla’s Theme
2. Pretty Girls
3. Spaced Out
4. Warm Up
5. Soft Flight
7. Salute to the Olympians
8. Olympic Village
9. Ludmilla’s Theme (Reprise)
10. Hurdles and Girdles
11. Theme for the Losers
12. Salute to the Olympians (Finale)