Browse Archive

OLYMPIA I + II

OLYMPIA I + II
Scene from "Olympia" (photo courtesy of Atlas International)

This documentary on the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by famous director Leni Riefenstahl, is the first film ever made on the biggest single sporting event, the Olympic summer games. Apart from Russia and Spain, almost everyone went to Berlin: a total of 4,594 athletes, representing 52 nations. But while the Olympics were one big sporting event, they were also a perfect showcase for Adolf Hitler, tailor-made to give the world proof of Germany's new image.
Whatever the inevitable setting or background of this film may be, it is foremost a documentary on the fascination of sports. More than 1,200,000 spectators, of whom 150,000 were foreign visitors, watched the different events. The international success of the Olympia films - Fest der Voelker and Fest der Schoenheit - was huge.



Leni Riefenstahl was born in 1902 in Berlin. She trained as a dancer and began her film career as an actress in Arnold Fanck's "mountain films" in the 1920s. In 1932, she made her directorial debut with The Blue Light (Das blaue Licht), winning critical and commercial success as well as Hitler's personal approval. This led to her being commissioned to film the 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally in Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens, 1935). After numerous attempts to relaunch a film career after the war, she turned successfully to photography and wrote her memoirs The Sieve of Time in 1992. In recent years, Riefenstahl has worked on the underwater film Impressionen unter Wasser, which was first aired on the occasion of her 100th birthday in August 2002. She is also preparing a new illustrated book about her life and work. Her other films include: Der heilige Berg (1926), Olympia I + II (1938) and Lowlands (Tiefland, 1954), among others.
Category Documentary
Year of Production 1936
Director Leni Riefenstahl
Screenplay Leni Riefenstahl
Cinematography Hans Ertl, Walter Frentz, Guzzi Lantscher, Kurt Neubert, Hans Scheib
Herbert Windt, Walter Gronostay
Production Company Leni Riefenstahl Produktion/Poecking
Length 205 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Dubbed Versions French, Italian
Original Version
 German, English
Festivals Moscow 2013, Muestra de Cine Europeo Ciudad de Segovia 2014

Contact
International Olympic Committee
Robert Jaquier
robert.jaquier@olympic.org