Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Revisiting "On the Edge"

I wonder how many readers recall the 1985 running movie "On the Edge" starring Bruce Dern?An avid runner who according to his bio ran many ultramarathon races,Dern had a desire to make a realistic running movie.It was only because of Dern's financial backing, his Hollywood influence and promotion that it was ever released.After a period of several years I watched it again the other night and came away thinking it's probably one of the best running movies I've ever seen.
This movie tells the story of a former top U.S.runner banned from amateur competition during the '60's for taking illegal payments. For those too young to remember,there actually was a time when taking something as trivial as a pair of running shoes as a gift could lead you to being banned from competition. For reasons known only to himself,Wes Holman,the character played by Bruce Dern,decides at age 44 that he wants to make a comeback by running a prestigious, yet grueling, trail/mountain race in California.I should say at this point that if you are looking for a polished "Without Limits" type movie you may be disappointed. This is a reflective and compelling study of one man, who in returning to the sport he loves, is also dealing with a variety of issues,not the least of which is,questions about personal integrity and the worthiness of sacrificing for what you believe in. There are lots of incredible running shots of Dern making his way through the hills and trails while training. The other thing I particularly loved about the movie was that it shows the respect and comraderie real runners (distance) have for each other that comes from a shared love for the sport.The ending of the movie further demonstrates this truth. As a sidenote,I also loved what they did with the timeclock at the end. After watching it, I thought to myself how unlikely a movie such as this would have being made today. I am very thankful that Bruce Dern put together a film that he once described as a labor of love.

You can still get this movie used online at a reasonable price,new is quite expensive.People have told me that you can rent it through Netflix or sources like that.

1 comment:

  1. I watched this movie countless times on VHS and I still have that craving once in a while to watch it again. I wish I could get a copy soon. Really a very inspiring movie and yes, one of the very best. Thanks for this post by the way.