Jump to content

Race (2016 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Hopkins
Written by
  • Joe Shrapnel
  • Anna Waterhouse
Produced by
  • Karsten Brünig
  • Luc Dayan
  • Kate Garwood
  • Stephen Hopkins
  • Jean-Charles Levy
  • Nicolas Manuel
  • Louis-Philippe Rochon
  • Dominique Séguin
CinematographyPeter Levy
Edited byJohn Smith
Music byRachel Portman
  • Forecast Pictures[1][2][3]
  • Solofilms
  • Trinica
  • Trinity Race[4]
  • Totally Commercial Films
  • Mister Smith Entertainment
Distributed by
Release dates
  • February 11, 2016 (2016-02-11) (Toronto)
  • February 19, 2016 (2016-02-19) (Canada)
  • July 27, 2016 (2016-07-27) (France)
  • July 28, 2016 (2016-07-28) (Germany)
Running time
135 minutes[6]
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany[7]
Budget$5 million[8][9]
Box office$25.1 million[10]

Race is a 2016 biographical sports drama film about African-American athlete Jesse Owens, who won a record-breaking four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.[11] Directed by Stephen Hopkins and written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, the film stars Stephan James as Owens, and co-stars Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt and Carice van Houten. It is a co-production of Canada, Germany and France.[7]

Principal photography began on 24 July 2014, in Montreal, Canada. Forecast Pictures, Solofilms and Trinity Race produced the film, supported by the Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group.[11] The film was a commercial success and received mixed to positive reviews, winning four Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Actor for James.


In 1933, Jesse Owens attends Ohio State University; the first in his family to attend college. He faces racial discrimination from some white athletes. Coach Larry Snyder, a former Olympic-level athlete, believes Owens has enormous potential but needs work on his form and technique. When Snyder suggests he is good enough to compete at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Owens is interested, but hesitant because of racial propaganda in Nazi Germany. The U.S. Olympic Committee is already considering boycotting the Olympics over Germany's discriminatory policies, agreeing to participate only when Nazi official Joseph Goebbels gives assurances that athletes of any race will be allowed compete, as well as promising to rein in their propaganda.

As Owens struggles to support his girlfriend Ruth and young daughter, he takes a job at a service station, upsetting Snyder when his job conflicts with his commitment to train. When Snyder learns Owens has a family to support, he gets him a no-show job, allowing him to focus on running. Owens goes on to break several records, including some of Snyder's, and begins a relationship with a flashy woman whose attentions he attracts with his newfound fame. When Ruth threatens him with a lawsuit, Owens becomes distracted and loses a race to runner Eulace Peacock. Owens decides to return to Ruth to reconcile, convincing her to marry him. As the Olympics draw closer, the NAACP asks him not to go to Berlin for political reasons. Owens is conflicted, but Peacock, now injured, urges him to compete to defy Nazi racial ideology.

In Berlin, Owens sets a new record and wins his first gold medal in the 100 meter dash. When he is brought by International Olympic Committee member Avery Brundage to receive congratulations from Adolf Hitler, he is told the Hitler has left the stadium early to avoid traffic. Brundage tells Goebbels that Hitler must congratulate all winners, which Goebbels rebuffs.

Owens qualifies for the long jump after the German record holder Luz Long unexpectedly gives him guidance. Owens sets yet another record and wins the gold medal; Luz publicly shakes his hand and joins him for a victory lap, later privately expressing concern about the current state of Germany. Owens wins his fourth and final gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay, filling in for two Jewish American athletes cut by Brundage, who is convinced by Goebbels to do so to avoid a scandal over a business arrangement Brundage entered with the Nazis before the games. Film director Leni Riefenstahl records Owens' victories despite Goebbels' orders; she asks Owens to repeat his medal-winning long jump to get a few more shots for her next film, Olympia.

Back in America, Owens and Snyder attend a banquet in honor of Owens, but the doorman regretfully tells Owens he must enter through the service entrance. Owens does so despite Snyder's protests, recognized by various awed observers. The elevator operator, a young white male, asks for Owens' autograph before taking him and Ruth up to the banquet.




John Boyega was initially set to star as Owens; however, he eventually dropped out to star in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[12][13] and was subsequently replaced by Stephan James.[14] German and Canadian distribution was handled by Squareone Entertainment and Entertainment One[15] with Focus Features handling the distribution in the United States.[16]


The film was shot on location at Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

Principal photography started on 24 July 2014, in Montreal, and on location at Olympic Stadium in Berlin.[17]


On October 1, 2014, Focus Features originally set a release date for April 8, 2016.[18] However, in August 2015, the release date was pushed up to February 19, 2016.[19]

On February 15, an advanced screening was shown at Mershon Auditorium at Ohio State University, Owens' alma mater. Jesse Owens' two daughters and Stephan James were in attendance and addressed the crowd. The President of Ohio State, Michael V. Drake, also addressed the crowd and spoke briefly about Owens' global impact and life at Ohio State.[20] It was released by Entertainment One in Canada, Focus Features in the United States on 19 February 2016, Eagle Pictures in Italy on 31 March 2016, and SquareOne Entertainment in Germany on 5 May 2016.


Box office[edit]

Race grossed $19.2 million in North America and $5.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $25.1 million.[10]

In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggested the film would gross $4–7 million from 2,369 theaters in its opening weekend, trailing fellow newcomer Risen ($7–12 million projection) but similar to The Witch ($5–7 million projection).[21] It ended up grossing $7.4 million in its opening weekend, finishing in sixth at the box office.[22]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, as of November 2021, the film has an approval rating of 63% based on 162 reviews, and an average rating of 6.10/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Race is nowhere near as thrillingly fleet or agile as its subject, but the story—and a winning central performance from Stephan James—are enough to carry it over the finish line."[23] As of August 2020, Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[25][22]


Race received eight nominations, including Best Motion Picture, at the 5th Canadian Screen Awards.[26]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Canadian Screen Awards 12 March 2017 Best Motion Picture Louis-Philippe Rochon, Dominique Séguin, Jean-Charles Lévy and Luc Dayan Nominated [27][28]
Best Actor Stephan James Won
Best Art Direction / Production Design David Brisbin, Isabelle Guay and Jean-Pierre Paquet Nominated
Best Overall Sound Claude La Haye, Luc Boudrias and Pierre-Jules Audet Won
Best Sound Editing Pierre-Jules Audet, Jérôme Décarie, Michelle Cloutier, Stan Sakell, Jean-François Sauvé, Mathieu Beaudin, François Senneville, Luc Raymond and Jean-Philippe Saint-Laurent Won
Best Costume Design Mario Davignon Nominated
Best Make-Up Natalie Trépanier and Réjean Goderre Nominated
Best Visual Effects Martin Lipmann, Cynthia Mourou, Benoît Touchette, Jonathan Piché-Delorme and Frédéric Breault Won
Golden Trailer Awards 4 May 2016 Best Independent TV Spot Focus Features Nominated [29]
Image Awards 11 February 2017 Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Stephan James Nominated [30]
Leo Awards 2017 Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Motion Picture Eli Goree Won [31]
Prix Iris 4 June 2017 Best Art Direction David Brisbin, Isabelle Guay and Jean-Pierre Paquet Nominated [32]
Best Sound Pierre-Jules Audet, Luc Boudrias and Claude La Haye Nominated
Best Visual Effects Martin Lipmann, Cynthia Mourou and Benoît Touchette Nominated
Best Costumes Mario Davignon Nominated
Best Hairdressing Réjean Goderre Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Linden, Sheri (February 18, 2016). "'Race': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (October 13, 2015). "Watch: Stephan James Channels Olympian Jesse Owens in 'Race' Trailer". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (October 1, 2014). "William Hurt Joins Jesse Owens Biopic 'Race'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Barker, Andrew (February 18, 2016). "Film Review: 'Race'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 18, 2017. A Focus Features release and presentation in association with the Jesse Owens Foundation and the Luminary Group of a Solofilms/Trinica/Trinity Race production.
  5. ^ "Race". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  6. ^ "RACE (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Race (2016)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Race (2016)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  9. ^ "Race". The Wrap. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Race". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 16, 2014). "Focus Features First To Start Line On Crowded Field Of Jesse Owens Biopics". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (January 24, 2014). "Jesse Owens Biopic Finds Its Leading Man". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  13. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (April 30, 2014). "John Boyega, the Hero of 'Star Wars: Episode VII,' Has the Force". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  14. ^ Sneider, Jeff (May 28, 2014). "'Star Wars' Hero John Boyega to Be Replaced by 'Selma' Actor in Jesse Owens Biopic". TheWrap. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  15. ^ Barraclough, Leo (February 7, 2014). "Jesse Owens Biopic Gets Boost From Family". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  16. ^ Sneider, Jeff (May 7, 2014). "Focus Features in Negotiations to Board Jesse Owens Biopic 'Race'". TheWrap. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (July 16, 2014). "Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons Join Jesse Owens Drama 'Race'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  18. ^ The Deadline Team (October 1, 2014). "Jesse Owens Biopic 'Race' Release Date Set For April 2016; William Hurt Joins Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  19. ^ Sneider, Jeff (August 27, 2015). "Focus Features Moves Up Jesse Owens Drama 'Race' to February 2016". TheWrap. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "Media Advisory: The Ohio State University to celebrate Jesse Owens' legacy with red-carpet preview screening of new movie "Race"". University Communications. Ohio State University. February 9, 2016. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 17, 2016). "'Deadpool' Still Cool In Weekend 2 With Superhero Set To Pass $200M – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  22. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 21, 2016). "'Deadpool' Strong With Second Weekend Of $55M; 'Risen' Takes $11.8M, 'Witch' At $8.7M". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "Race (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  24. ^ "Race Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  25. ^ @CinemaScore (February 20, 2016). "#TheGrades for tonights' films are in! Do you think audiences got them right?! #CinemaScore #Race #Risen #TheWitch" (Tweet). Retrieved August 27, 2018 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Howell, Peter (January 17, 2017). "Orphan Black and It's Only the End of the World lead Canadian Screen Awards nominations". The Star. Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  27. ^ Furdyk, Brent (January 17, 2017). "2017 Canadian Screen Awards nominees revealed". Global News. Corus Entertainment. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  28. ^ The Canadian Press (March 12, 2017). "Juste la fin du monde remporte six prix aux Écrans canadiens". Le Soleil. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  29. ^ Romano, Nick (April 8, 2016). "'Deadpool,' 'Batman v Superman,' 'Mad Max' Lead Golden Trailer Award Nominations". Collider. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  30. ^ Kinane, Ruth (December 13, 2016). "NAACP Image Awards nominations announced". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  31. ^ "2017 Leo Award Nominees & Winners" (PDF). Leo Awards. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  32. ^ Boutros, Magdaline (April 5, 2017). "Gala Québec cinéma: Juste la fin du monde et Two Lovers and a Bear en tête". La Presse. Retrieved May 1, 2017.

External links[edit]