Chris Knierim

How Many of These Figure Skating Movies Have You Seen?

Figure skating events at the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off on Feb 8

Figure skating events at the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off on Thursday, February 8 on NBC and Here’s how to watch every single event.

To whet your appetite before figure skating action begins, here are some figure skating movies to check out. How many have you seen?

One in a Million (1936)

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Sonja Henie made her Hollywood debut in this movie, playing a figure skating prodigy who runs into problems under the guidance of a greedy showman. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in Best Dance Direction and also featured footage from the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Lady, Let’s Dance (1944)

This ice-skating musical was nominated for two Oscars (Scoring of a Musical Picture; Song). Former Olympic figure skater Belita Jepson-Turner – known simply as Belita – plays a fictionalized version of herself in this black-and-white film, which also includes an appearance from famed comedy ice team Frick and Frack.

Ice Castles (1987)

Former Ice Capades skater Lynn-Holly Johnson stars in this 1978 romantic skating drama about a young figure skater whose Olympic dreams are in danger after a freak accident. The film nabbed an Oscar nominee for best song, and Johnson received a Golden Globe nomination. A remake was done by the same director in 2010 and released directly to video.

The Cutting Edge (1992)

Released in 1992 following the Albertville Winter Olympics, this fan favorite and cult classic is one of the most famous figure skating movies. An odd couple-turned skating partners fights for Olympic victory when a talented but snooty figure skater teams up with a retired hockey player in this romantic comedy. Though it’s often chided as being cheesy, the original was well-received (unlike its three sequels, which could not keep up. They were released in 2006, 2008, and 2010). There’s also a cameo by U.S. Olympian JoJo Starbuck.

Ice Angel (2000)

In this TV movie, a male hockey player and female figure skater die on the same day—but while the soul of the skater goes to heaven, the hockey player is reborn in her body. A host of championship-winning figure skaters guest star in the film (Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan, Rosalynn Sumners and Peter Carruthers) as fictional skater Sarah Bryan (Nicholle Tom) pursues an Olympic gold medal.

Ice Princess (2005)

It may be one big nerd-takes-off-the-glasses cliché about fitting in, but at least Ice Princess revolves around figure skating. Brainiac high schooler Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) has always loved skating, but never had done so herself. A physics project brings her closer to the sport, which she soon takes up, culminating in a Casey’s Choice: school or skating? Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano make an appearance in the movie as themselves.

Go Figure (2005)

This Disney Channel Original Movie follows a talented teenage figure skater who lives a double life. She hides her skating career from her teammates on the hockey team (which ridicules figure skaters as “twirl girls”) while she looks to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Plus, there’s an appearance by Kristi Yamaguchi as herself.

Blades of Glory (2007)

Widely-hailed as one of figure skating’s funniest movies, Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is a precocious and high-maintenance singles skater up against rival skater Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell), who is uncensored and raunchier. After they’re both banned from singles competition, they team up to form an unconventional, two-man pair team. The film also features then-married couple Amy Poehler and Will Arnett as a brother/sister powerhouse pair. Eagle-eyed fans will also spot Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, and Nancy Kerrigan in the movie.

Ice Dreams (2009)

Former skating star Amy gets drawn back into the competitive sphere by a hardworking teen and a down-on-his-luck rink owner. While the teen practices her heart out, the rink struggles financially to stay afloat. And, of course, the Hallmark Channel Original features a romantic subplot.

Kiss and Cry (2016)

The true story of Carley Allison, who was an up-and-coming figure skater when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare, 1 in 3.5 billion form of terminal throat cancer. She defiantly fights the disease while she has the unwavering support of her boyfriend and family in a real-life Fault in Our Stars story. The actress who plays Carley (Sarah Fisher) was her real-life best friend.

Ice Girls (2016)

A teenage figure skater is injured during a competition, and her career appears to be over until she meets a local rink owner who helps her recover and pursue her dream. Canadian Olympians Tessa Virtue and Elvis Stojko are both in the movie, too.

I, Tonya (2017)

Recently nominated for three Oscars, including best actress in a leading role and best actress in a supporting role, I, Tonya chronicles Tonya Harding’s life from her first pair of skates, to her first triple Axel in competition, the “whack heard around the world,” all the way through the Nancy Kerrigan trial. The movie’s star-studded cast includes Margot Robbie as Harding, Sebastian Stan as Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly, and Allison Janney, who won a Golden Globe for the film, as Harding’s parrot-loving mother LaVona. Robbie trained with a skating coach for months, pulling off some of the moves on the ice herself, and Janney thanked Harding in her Golden Globes acceptance speech.

Ice: The Movie (2018)

The film centers around two skaters who took up the sport at the same time with the same coach. The balance of their friendship and rivalry is tested as they grapple with the real possibility that only one of them might make it to the Olympic stage. Maddison Bullock wrote, produced, co-directed and acted in the production, available on Amazon in March.

Calgary ’88 (2018)

Rob Lowe narrates the real-life drama of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada. Brian Boitano and Brian Orser look back on their epic “Battle of the Brians,” while Katarina Witt reflects on her second consecutive gold medal.

It airs on NBCSN on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m., with an encore presentation on Feb. 9 at 1:30 a.m.

Honorary figure skating movie: Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Not a figure skating movie in any sense, but included in the list because of the soundtrack’s prolific use in skating. The Baz Luhrmann production features poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) falling for cabaret actress and courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) in 1900 in Paris, France.

At these Olympics, these are some of the skaters that use selections from the film:

  • Vincent Zhou, Team USA – Zhou’s five-quad free skate is set to a compilation of songs from the movie.
  • Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, Team USA – Their short program is to the duet “Come What May” from the film.
  • Kailani Craine, Australia – She skates to a medley of songs from the soundtrack for her free skate.
  • Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada – The 2010 Olympic champions use a variety of songs from the movie, most notably “El Tango de Roxanne.” Even Luhrmann has tweeted his approval.
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