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Downhill Racer (1969)

When a skier is injured in a fall, David Chappellet, an ambitious downhill racer from Colorado, gains a coveted place in the United States team.

Despite hostility from his father and a string of emotional entanglements, Chappellet is willing to gamble his life to attain his ultimate goal.

This skiing potboiler from Robert Redford’s production company, Wildwood, has the whiff of vanity about it. Redford stars as the handsome, egocentric skier who is groomed as Olympic champion by hard-headed coach Gene Hackman (who later complained of feeling like “a high-priced extra”).

Inevitably, there is a girl (Camilla Sparv, former wife of Paramount chief Robert Evans), but the racing takes precedence over the plot, and the appeal of the film, directed by Michael Ritchie (making his feature debut) lies in the well-handled action sequences.

David Chappellet
Robert Redford
Eugene Claire
Gene Hackman
Carole Stahl
Camilla Sparv
Tommy Erb
Joe Jay Jalbert
DK Bryan
Timothy Kirk
Mayo
Dabney Coleman
Johnny Creech
Jim McMullan
Tony Kipsmith
Oren Stevens
Machet
Karl Michael Vogler
Bruce Devore
Rip McManus
Ron Engel
Jerry Dexter

Director
Michael Ritchie