Hidden movie gem: Champions

Sometimes, a great movie is lost to memory. So, I’ll take the opportunity , especially at holiday time, of reminding people of a lost gem. I don’t know how many people have seen the movie ‘Champions’.  It came out in 1984. It is about the jockey Bob Champion and his horse Aldaniti. It is a great racing story, but not just that, it is a brilliant movie, full of drama, tension and courage over adversity. If it was a work of fiction, you would think, what a great story, but the fact that it is a true story, almost makes it one of the greatest stories  and sporting stories ever known.

It needs to be said that this movie is not just a mishmash of facts filmed and portrayed as a great film as The Cup was. It is in fact artistic, creative and brilliantly shot and the acting is an actor’s workshop. As far as racing films go, this is a beauty.

This film succeeds where ‘The Cup’ failed. ‘The Cup’chose to use well-known media people in acting roles, whereas Champions uses actors of  the calibre of  John Hurt and Edward Woodward.

These two gentlemen show how great acting really should be done.  Some movies age over time, but this one hasn’t. It gives a real insight into the gritty world of jockeys, trainers and the whole racing industry. Racing is a complex industry and this film does justice to this fact.

Overall, it is a great relief to the senses when you know a great story has been made into a great film. So many great stories, like ‘The Cup’, have been mishandled by people who might know films, but didn’t show much craft or more importantly, didn’t show understanding of the racing industry and its people.

‘Champions’ is a film made by people who have passion for racing and films. This was where ‘The Cup’ lost out. ‘The Cup’ was not a bad film, it just could have been so much better.

‘Champions’ a great yarn for all people. Almanackers, check it out. Search for it online or at a DVD shop. You’ll cherish this one forever.



  1. Cheers Paubai, loved John Hurt in The Skeleton Key. Will look out for it (Phil D).

  2. I just watched again Lord Bogan, and cry every time. What a genius John Hurt is!

  3. For a moment I thought you were talking about the original name for the first of The Mighty Ducks movies…..

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