Race (2016) - full transcript
In the 1930s, Jesse Owens is a young man who is the first in his family to go to college. Going to Ohio State to train under its track and field coach, Larry Snyder, the young African American athlete quickly impresses with his tremendous potential that suggests Olympic material. However, as Owens struggles both with the obligations of his life and the virulent racism against him, the question of whether America would compete at all at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is being debated vigorously. When the American envoy finds a compromise persuasive with the Third Reich to avert a boycott, Owens has his own moral struggle about going. Upon resolving that issue, Owens and his coach travel to Berlin to participate in a competition that would mark Owens as the greatest of America's Olympians even as the German film director, Leni Riefenstahl, locks horns with her country's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, to film the politically embarrassing fact for posterity.
Mornin'. Anybody see my shirt?
Mama, you seen my shirt?
It's where you put it last.
- Anyone? - No.
I got your shirt right here.
Hand it over.
Here you go.
Cut it out, Quincy.
It's my only shirt. Oh, come on now.
What's the matter? You too fancy for us now, college boy?
Uh, what's that supposed to mean?
I've always paid my way. You know I send what I can.
Mama, what are you doing?
First boy of mine to go to college is gonna look respectable.
You like it?
Ma, we can't afford this.
Try it on.
Mama, it's Ohio State. It's not Sunday school.
Thought I was gonna lose you at five years old.
Now look at you.
I knew when I cut that lump out of you,
you were born for great things.
God spared you for a reason.
You look handsome.
A man has to present an image to the world.
You remember that, James Cleveland Owens.
Yes, Mama. Thank you. Thank you, Mama.
Is Dad coming downstairs today?
I hope so. He knows you're leaving.
Things are gonna turn around, Pa.
That's Ohio State's Ken Seitz in the dust.
It's Charlie Parsons and Foy Draper
from the University of Southern California.
And another poor showing for Ohio State.
Hey, there's the coach.
What's up, Dean?
How many is that now?
Sorry, Coach. This time I really thought I had 'em beat.
Yeah, well, that's probably why you didn't, then.
That makes it three straight losses
for Larry Snyder and Ohio State.
After two years without a national win,
you've gotta wonder if the Buckeyes made a mistake
bringing Snyder back to coach at his old alma mater.
He was a hell of an athlete in his time,
but that doesn't make you a great coach.
If I was Larry Snyder right now,
I'd be worried about keeping my job.
Here's a man who's no stranger to winning,
USC coach, Dean Cromwell.
With four Olympic gold medalists to his credit,
it's no wonder they call him "the maker of champions."
Thanks for making the time, Mr. Cromwell.
It's a pleasure. Call me Dean...
Oh, no. Please, switch it back on.
Why? So we can watch you sit around
all afternoon feeling sorry for yourself?
How do you know what I have scheduled?
Oh, I know the schedule.
Hi. How are y'all doing? I'm Dave.
Fine weather we're having, isn't it?
Dave! Y'all so sophisticated.
Dave, would you quit bothering every girl you see?
I'm not bothering them none.
They never met a college man before. They're impressed.
Yeah, well, you ain't a college man yet.
All right, so, come on. Let's go.
All right, give me 10 minutes. Take a cold shower or something.
Can you grab that comb for me in the back?
Come here, sweetie. Give me a moment.
Come to Daddy.
I'm working, Jesse. You can't come here when I'm working.
You just try and keep me away.
See, that's the kind of talk got us in trouble to begin with.
Get out of here, you big dope. Go on, get.
Money's gonna be a little tight from now on.
I'll send more as soon as I find work.
You should put some aside for the wedding.
Are you finally gonna marry me, Jesse Owens?
Gotta do it right.
Hi. How you doing?
See that, that way that colored pushed me?
Hi. How you doing?
Put a Negro in a suit...
Hurry up, shorty!
I wanna get there before we graduate.
Good games... Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Now, where do you boys think you're going?
Just using the showers.
Not until we're through, you're not.
You niggers can wait your turn.
Yeah. Can you believe they let these
jiggaboos share our locker room now?
Let's get outta here.
They won't ever play football. Dave.
Kick that cracker's ass is what I should do.
Sounds like a great idea.
Get us thrown outta here before our bags are unpacked.
Dave, this is our shot.
All right? Don't blow it.
Coach wants to see you.
Now. Let's go! Let's go!
What am I supposed to do, kiss his ass after I wipe it for him?
Look, you just smile and play nice.
Run every last one of these peckerwoods off their feet.
That's some outfit.
What's this, a pickaninny parade?
Slow down, boy!
Well, look at this.
Peggy, who do we have here?
Coach Snyder, I'm Jesse Owens.
Think I had the same one back in Sunday school.
Coming in, or what?
Shut the door.
Oh, you can sit down.
Charlie Riley says you can run.
VVeH, says you're a natural, best he's ever seen.
Well, I guess.
Me personally, I don't trust naturals,
'cause they think they don't have to work.
I will say,
you can run.
And, boy, oh, boy, you can jump.
What I wanna know is, can you win?
And what I mean by that is, can you work?
You know, your mama might've taught you how to dress right,
but she sure as hell didn't teach you anything about manners.
You should look a man in the eye when he's speaking to you.
Can you work?
I was picking 100 pounds of cotton a day at six years old.
You ever pick cotton?
The way it cuts you when you, when you get it off the boll?
Yes, sir, I can work.
Coach Riley's a smart man.
But I was watching you out there today, I'll tell you this.
Your start's no good, your rhythm's off and your posture's lousy.
But we can fix all that. That's easy.
But if you wanna win, it takes more than a pair of legs, all right?
You win up here.
And that's the part I don't know about you yet. I don't know if you got that.
I ran 100 yards last year in Chicago in 9.4.
I mean, it's the same as Wykoff. It's a world record.
Records don't mean shit!
You know what matters?
Some kid come out of nowhere, snatch your record from you like that.
But a gold medal?
That's yours for life.
It's the US Olympic team, Paris games, '24.
Go ahead, take a look.
That's me on the right, next to Charley Paddock.
You, you went to Paris in '24 with Charley Paddock?
Well, why not?
You wanna win a gold medal?
You wanna do it in Berlin?
Well, I mean, unless you were planning on waiting.
You know, I...
I heard they don't care much for colored folk over there.
Well, they don't care for 'em much here in Columbus either.
Is that gonna be a problem?
No, sir. Ljust came here to run.
Well, then, for the next 28 months,
you're either in a classroom or you're on that track,
every hour, every day.
And I don't care about your grades. I really don't.
And I don't care if your buddies
have a keg they need help with.
And I certainly don't care if you got a girl at home
rolling down her silk stockings with that look in her eye.
You belong to me.
Do we have an understanding?
Good. All right, well, go home and get some rest.
9:00 a.m. tomorrow, we'll see how good you really are.
Why'd you come here?
I mean, after the noise you made in Chicago,
hell, you could've gone anywhere you wanted.
You know, maybe someplace a little
Mr. Riley said you were the best.
Well, the joke on the board is,
they're thinking of renaming us the "Model T State."
Any color you want, so long as it's black.
Yeah, well, maybe if you and Coach Schmidt
let 'em play football, they wouldn't all choose track and field, huh?
Jesse! Ready when you are.
Let's see what we got here.
Well, I don't know why you look so impressed.
This was a second slower than Wykoff's record.
Frank Wykoff runs 100 yards in 9.4.
Kid just ran 100 meters.
Well, Lynn, you know that meters are longer than yards, yeah?
There a problem, Coach?
Uh, no. No, Jesse. No problem at all. Uh-uh.
You want me to do it again?
Yeah. That'd be great.
Watch your start.
He works on his start, you're looking
at a 1936 gold medalist right there.
That is, if they have a '36 Olympics.
We won't go to Berlin, Brundage!
Get your hands off me!
Americans can't take part in these games!
Okay, we're here.
Take a seat, Avery.
What's this I'm hearing about a boycott? Hmm?
Nothing's been decided yet,
but we're hearing some pretty ugly reports out of Germany.
Apparently, they're rounding up Romany Gypsies...
Vandalizing Jewish property.
They're using the sports clubs to exclude Jewish athletes from trials.
They're putting up two women, Mayer and Bergmann, both Jewish.
Oh, two! As a token gesture.
Well, maybe the rest weren't good enough.
Is this really the point here?
It is not the purpose of the Amateur Athletics Union
or the American Olympic Committee
or the International Olympic Committee
to tell Germans how to govern their affairs.
So you think we should just sit back
and take their word that they're going to play fair?
I'm saying politics has no place in sport.
The AAU already accepted the invitation to compete.
You wanna go back on your word?
If they go back on theirs.
There's a lot of hateful literature coming out of there,
and it is not only against the Jews.
Now they're saying they don't want Negroes to compete.
Krauts got kicked in the balls 20 years ago,
and they're still catching their breath.
They need these games.
Show they're back on their feet.
Why would they risk us pulling out?
Maybe they don't think we have the nerve.
We have had every assurance they will not discriminate.
And you trust the word of a Nazi?
I've never met a Nazi. Have you?
Come to think of it, when was the last time
you played 18 holes with a Jew or a Negro?
Come on. The situation here is hardly comparable.
You want to pull out of the greatest sporting event in the world
because of a few rumors.
It's been a tough few years here, too.
The American people need champions
to remind them what they're capable of.
I'm surprised you can still see the American people
from all the way up there in your skyscraper.
Screw you, Mahoney.
These games have to be inclusive.
If I'm not satisfied
that the Nazis are going to make good on their promises,
I have no alternative but to recommend
a vote to boycott.
You can't do that. You can't do that. You can't do that.
No, but I can urge each athlete to search their conscience,
and I know a lot of people on the American
and the International Committees who feel the way I do.
But that's politics, that's not sport. Okay.
We'll send someone over there to find out.
Keep them in line.
Uh, who do you have in mind?
I propose Avery.
I'm a builder.
Don't you have some tame diplomat for that?
I think you're just the diplomat we need.
Okay, we got some new exercises.
You're gonna think I'm nuts, but we're gonna do 'em anyway.
First, we're gonna start off with high knees, like that.
You got to lift those legs.
And we're gonna work on your syncopation.
A lot people think a shorter stride makes you slower.
Well, a lot of people are wrong.
A shorter stride means more strides and a faster time.
When your feet are in the air, you're not moving forward.
So let's get those legs working double-time.
Let's go! Move it, move it, move it!
Dear Ruth, this is all I can send you this month.
Our books cost much more than you'd think.
But I got a job at a service station
that's good for a few bucks a week.
Our coach has his own ideas about how to get things done.
He's working us pretty hard.
Now, you probably won't believe this, but guess what I did today?
I applied for a marriage license.
I'm coming back for you in style, Minnie Ruth.
Kiss Gloria for me.
I miss you both so much.
Come on. Let's go. I'm coming.
Missed you at practice this morning.
Yeah. I, I had to cut up a frog for lab class.
Okay. What about this afternoon?
I was at the service station.
What, were you pumping gas?
Look, Coach, I need this job. I got a lot of people counting on me, all right?
VVeH, lguess I misunderstood.
'Cause I was under the impression
when you stood in my office and you looked me in the eye,
that you made me a goddamn commitment!
You think you know everything?
Got nothing left to learn, is that it?
Huh? No, sir!
Look, I know I ain't as fast as I want to be,
but you need to figure out a way
to feed and put clothes on my baby girl.
Or else, fit your practices in around me,
'cause I'm all out of options.
Why didn't you tell me you had a daughter?
You never asked.
Welcome to Germany, Herr Brundage!
I trust you had a pleasant flight?
Yeah. Very impressive.
This will be the largest
and most technically advanced stadium in Olympic history.
326 acres, with a capacity of 110,000.
A little more, I think, than your Los Angeles Coliseum.
Every moment is being recorded by Miss Leni Riefenstahl,
one of our most talented young filmmakers,
handpicked by the Fuhrer himself.
This is history, Herr Brundage.
For the first time, an audience of millions
will experience the Olympics as if they were there themselves.
I've never had much time for the pictures.
Let's allow Miss Riefenstahl to explain.
Sorry, I'm late.
May I present Dr. Joseph Goebbels?
How do you do?
His ministry is financing my little film.
Well, I've been hearing all about it.
It's my hope that Olympia will stand as the greatest advertisement
for the Olympic ideals the world has ever seen.
At last, we will be able to honor the full glory of the games.
And I thought this was all about the glory of the Nazis.
We hope to present a favorable image of ourselves, that's all.
Well, then, let me ask you something.
Do you want to be remembered
as the guys who held the Olympics without America?
The minister hopes you are impressed
by the facilities here at our sports club.
Yeah, the facilities are great.
No problem with the facilities.
But the one thing that puzzles me
is you don't allow Jews to be members,
and that's the only way they can qualify for the games.
We have several, very promising
Jewish athletes we expect to compete.
Look, I'm not here to tell you how to run your country.
I walk in a man's house, I'm not gonna piss on his rug.
But I don't expect him to feed me manure and call it foie gras.
You wanna use these games to sell your nasty little ideas to the world,
and I'm here to tell you no one is gonna stand for it.
You gotta clean up your act.
Would you like me to translate or interpret?
Avery, what did you have in mind?
Gotta take down those posters.
Putaleash on your press.
I don't wanna hear about anymore rounding up of undesirables.
And I want your word, here, today,
that you will not exclude Jews and Negroes from the games.
So long as they're American citizens,
we'll bring Martians if we want to.
If the minister agrees, he can count on your support?
There you go.
What, what's this?
An identity and registration card
for the Ohio state legislature.
All the pages there gotta have them.
What's a page do?
Takes home 60 bucks a month, plus expenses.
All right. But what does he gotta do?
Nothing. He's got the Big Ten Championships coming up. He trains.
See you at 9:00 a.m. sharp.
Ten seconds. Okay?
I want you to count that to yourself. Ten seconds, fellas.
That's all you get to run the 100.
Sixty strides, and every single one of them counts.
There's no margin for error, all right?
You could fall down in the 400,
pick yourself up and still place. Not here.
Now, if you're over-striding, if your cadence is too slow,
it can cost you a quarter of a second the whole race.
Every fraction of every second counts,
but it's your start that counts the most of all.
I'm looking at you, Jesse.
You come off the gun like you're slamming into a brick wall,
and it pains me to watch it, okay?
You gotta start low.
You gotta glide into it like an airplane.
Any of you fellows ever seen an airplane take off?
The lower you are, the longer you stay there,
the less resistance you get, the faster you are.
It's that simple.
And we're gonna keep working on that over and over, okay?
You gotta stay low all the way through the hurdle, okay?
Wow. The great Jesse Owens.
Jesse, let's get back to basics.
Why don't you swing from those bamboo poles over there, boy?
That's right, ﬂggaboos!
Let's see you hang off those bars!
Hey, Jesse, getseL
Hustle to it fellas. It's just like being back in the jungle, huh?
Come on, porch monkey, swing!
Yeah, do it!
One more thing. Jesse, you wanna tell me
what was so interesting about the goddamn football team?
I don't know, Coach. I just got distracted.
Oh, you got distracted? See, that's what I'm talking about.
You can't get distracted. You understand?
What the hell is this?
All right, Larry. Finish this up now. I got boys who need to shower.
Yeah, one sec, Coach. I'm not quite through yet.
Sit down. Everybody, sit down. Sit down!
Larry, hustle these niggers out of here. You hear me?
Get 'em out!
If you get your head turned by a few gorillas in warm-up pads here at home,
how are you gonna hold up in Michigan?
Who the hell is he calling "gorillas," Coach? Coach Snyder!
Hey, look at me! Coach Snyder.
A lot of people show up for the Big Ten meet.
Coach Snyder! Not all of them are gonna be on our side,
Do you? Do you?
You gotta learn to block it all out!
It's just noise! That's all, all this is!
All it is, is noise. You hear me?
They will love you or they will hate you.
Does not matter.
'Cause either way, when you're out there, you're on your own.
Do you hear me?
Yeah. Yeah, Coach, I hear you.
About time. All right, come on. Let's go.
You heard Coach. They need the locker room.
Come on! Move it! Let's go!
Jesus Christ, Snyder.
Why you always have to complicate everything?
Thanks for your patience, Coach. Locker room's all yours.
What in the hell was that, Coach?
All right. Let's see it.
That was for you.
No, that was for you, shorty.
No, I'm good, Mel.
Come on. You believe it?
Yeah, I saw. You jump like my sister.
Like your sister?
Matter of fact, my daughter can make thatjump.
She's three years old.
Yeah, she's three inches taller than you. Come on now.
Hey, shorty, show us what you got.
Come on, Jesse.
Hey, what would Ruth say?
Come on, Jesse.
Ah, make her proud now.
You better lower that. I don't think...
No, pick it up. Pick it up now.
Come on now. Higher. Don't be shy.
I don't know what he was thinking, though.
I think that's his coach.
I'm fine. Two days, and I'll be right as rain.
You've got three days.
Three days from now, we go to Ann Arbor with or without you. Got it?
Goddamn it. What were you doing?
Training. Fell down some steps.
Ladies and gentlemen,
welcome to Ferry Field here in Ann Arbor, Michigan,
for the finals of the Big Ten track and field conference
Hey, go get dressed.
I'm scratching you. You can't run.
Coach, I'm fine. I'm good.
For God sakes, you can barely walk, Jesse. Come on.
Coach, just let me do the 100. You wanna pull me after that, then fine.
What? No. No, no, no.
No, you run with an injured back, you could be out for months.
All right? Forget it.
Coach, let me do this.
The three days did the trick. I'm good.
It'll only be 10 seconds.
Better be faster than that. Go.
Ladies and gentlemen...
The first sprint final of the day,
the 100-yard dash!
They will love you or they will hate you.
Does not matter.
'Cause either way, when you're out there, you're on your own.
Hey, kid, you did it. You did it.
I was slow off the start.
No, no, no, no. 9.3 seconds.
That's a record, kid. 9.3 seconds!
What are you talking about?
No, I clocked it myself at 9...
You know the rules. What rules?
We have to go with the higher time. What are you talking about?
What do you mean, "the higher time"?
We got two out of three agree.
Okay, then, what's the problem?
Will you calm down?
Do you understand? I'm not gonna calm down till you come to your senses
and give us the record!
We're going with the higher time!
That's ridiculous! You gotta be kidding me, Phil!
Look! I see it, Coach.
Up next, on the broad jump,
we have from Ohio State University, Mr. Jesse Owens.
What's he doing?
What do you mean? He's getting a feel for it.
Excuse me, sir.
Uh, how far did you say that Chinaman could jump?
Mr. Nambu is, uh, Japanese.
His world record stands at 26 feet and two inches.
Do you have a handkerchief I could borrow?
Now he's just showing off.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new world record.
Twenty-six feet, eight and one quarter inches!
Twenty-six feet, eight and one quarter inches!
Here you go.
Mr. Jesse Owens sets a new world record
with a time of 20.3 seconds!
This is unbelievable!
Jesse Owens has smashed another world record...
With a time of 22.6 seconds!
Three world records set
and another tied in just 45 minutes!
Is there anyone who can beat Owens now?
Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!
It's okay. You can say it.
LARRY". Say what? JESSE". Whenever you're ready.
Long ride back to Columbus. Take your time.
Yeah, you're gonna have to help me out here, Jesse.
I don't know what you're talking about.
How many other natural speed men you trained
just set three world records in a single meet, hmm? Injured.
Founifyou count the 100.
I'll tell you what. It gets worse than that.
Oh, yeah? Yeah.
You also shattered the Ohio State record
for most points in a single year, so congrats.
Really? Mmm, yes, really.
Which cracker did I take that off of?
I had that record for 11 years.
Eleven years, and you left me in the dust.
Yeah, well, you know what they say about records, don't you?
No. What do they say?
Some kid, come out of nowhere,
snatch the record off of you, just like that.
Oh, that saying. Yeah.
No, you did good.
Real good, Jesse.
That was something to watch.
Yeah, well, I'll tell you what.
You stick with me, I'll make a great coach out of you.
Frank Wykoff took gold in Amsterdam in '28,
and again in '32 right here in LA.
Him and Draper, they're the best Cromwell's got,
which make them pretty much the best in the country, so...
Are you listening to me? Yeah. Yeah.
Coach, I already took Wykoff.
Yeah, well, this...
That's Eulace Peacock.
Peacock took the 100 meters and the broad jump in Philadelphia.
He's a driver, not a floater like you.
It's ugly to watch, but he goes down that track
like a freight train on fire, and he's got a hell of a finish.
Him, you need to watch out for.
He clocked at 9.5 against Villanova.
There you go. He's slower.
A tenth of a second slower, Jesse.
I won't let you down in front of Cromwell.
One picture, please!
Mr. Owens, we have a couple of questions for you.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy, easy, easy,
easy, easy. Come on, let us through.
How does it feel to be the world's fastest human?
Excuse me. Excuse me.
Good afternoon, and welcome to Los Angeles,
where the great Jesse Owens, no doubt, hopes to make good
on his unprecedented streak of four world records.
I'm telling you, the skirt in LA...
They must be putting something in the water.
Who drinks water?
Forget it, shorty. You might get a girl like that to dance,
butyouWlnever get her into bed.
You're Jesse Owens.
Yes, yes, ma'am.
Like to dance?
Come on, Jesse. Go!
Oh, no, I, lgotagirl.
Where is she? I'll dance with her too.
She's in Ohio.
I like her already.
Whoo! Go, Jesse.
Go on, shorty!
So, how come it's Jesse?
You're The Buckeye Bullet.
Born James Cleveland Owens, September 1913, in Oakville, Alabama.
You've won eight out of eight events since you got here,
and there's nobody that can touch you in the west coast,
eastcoasL or straight down the middle.
What I don't know is, why Jesse?
Uh, well, it's actually "JC."
My elementary school teacher, she misheard on account of my accent.
I never had the heart to put her right.
That's too bad. How so?
A big heart can get in the way.
All kinds Of fun.
Allow me to say how pleased we all are
we have met your expectations.
AVERY 1 Everything looks swell.
Let's keep it that way through next summer, hmm?
The AAU is set to decide on US participation in the games
at its December convention.
I wonder, Avery,
do you really think America will withdraw?
Well, we have to vote. That's what a democracy is.
Yes, of course.
The minister Goebbels merely asks for reassurance
we can count on your support.
Oh, I've made my position clear.
In the meantime,
might we ask that you grant us the benefit
of your considerable experience in construction,
and review these plans of our new embassy in Washington?
You know, last time I looked,
I was worth close on $15 million.
You tell him I can't be bought.
You can't afford me.
A bribe? No. No.
A business proposal.
The minister would be greatly obliged to you.
There aren't many companies like yours
that could handle a project of this size.
The architect is Albert Speer.
But these towers won't pass DC zoning laws.
You can't build higher than 130 feet.
You see, this is exactly the kind of expertise we need,
if you're interested.
Whoo-wee! I am beat.
You look beautiful.
Just be glad we weren't on the bus.
My daddy didn't buy me this car
to watch me take no damn buses.
Uh, Mr. Owens, sir. Telegram.
She can't sue you, Jesse.
How is she gonna sue you?
And for what?
Breach of promise?
What does it even mean?
It's a threat. That's all.
She's just angry.
Mr. Solomon? It's Jesse.
Jesse, what you want, boy?
Well, can I speak with Ruth, sir?
She don't wanna talk to you...
I understand that, but if you just give me one second to exp...
Don't call here no more! If she would just...
You can do it!
Take your mark.
I'm gonna beat you, boy, like I was your daddy.
Eulace Peacock has beaten
the world's fastest human, Jesse Owens,
with an incredible time of 10.2 seconds.
So, you, uh, you wanna tell me why you lost today?
I thought that was yourjob.
I know how you lost.
You looked for him at 90 meters, and it cost you the race.
He's got no goddamn business beating you.
Yeah, or Metcalfe.
Yeah, well, it happened.
I had a bad day.
Look, I'm tired, Coach.
We've got a 15-hour ride back to Ohio.
I just wanna drink my beer and get some rest.
Actually, if you keep losing like you did today,
that boat's going to leave for Berlin without you.
You know what, Coach? If this is going
to be another one of your sob stories,
then, if it's all the same to you,
I'd ratherjust hear it tomorrow.
Miss Nickerson seems like a...
Nice enough gal.
I don't judge what you do,
just as long as you feel all right about it.
The choices you're making right now
won't even feel like choices, until it's too late.
You ever been married, Coach?
Our little girl's all grown up now.
Turns 18 next year.
My wife and I are taking some time off.
She told me,
"You can't have two families."
"There's no room on the team for us."
Think track and field's hard, you should try marriage.
I'd like to give it a shot.
Good for you, kid.
You never told me you had a daughter.
You never asked.
I wanna get to Des Moines by morning.
You are, you're an amazing girl, truly.
And it's, it's been a real...
Screw you, Jesse Owens!
I hope she's worth it!
I've got to see Ruth. I've got some explaining to do.
Mmm-hmm. Good luck with that.
I'm so sorry, Ruth. I...
Look, I swear I'm gonna...
Do you remember the day we first met?
I carried your books home from school?
And the whole way, we was...
We was talking about this and
and what we wanted out of life,
and what we didn't.
Do you remember what I asked you at your door?
You asked me to marry you.
And do you remember what you said?
I said we should wait.
Well, I'm done waiting.
I wanna marry you, Minnie Ruth Solomon.
I did then and I want it twice as bad now.
I'm a fool.
When that boy asked me to marry him,
I should've said yes.
But you ain't him no more.
Now, go on and get out of here.
Ruth... Get out of here!
You keepin' all these people waiting. Just get out, Jesse.
Whoo! Look at all this rain.
What do you think you're doing?
Waiting to walk you home.
You been out here all day?
Yeah and I'll be out here all day tomorrow, too,
all week if I got to.
Then you'll just miss your damn races.
I don't care about that.
I just wanna run, I can do that right here in Cleveland.
Jesse, you wanna work in a service station the rest of your life?
Well, if it means I get to be with you.
Oh, you're smooth.
Yes, you are.
Right now, let's do it.
My parents hate your damn guts.
You left me with our daughter, Jesse.
It's a little late to make an honest woman out of me.
Look, I'll square with your parents. Just say yes.
Say you'll marry me.
Where are we gonna get married, Jesse?
You think there's a decent Christian minister in this town who'll do it?
but I'll find a place, I swear.
It's just us, Ruth.
It's always been just us.
All right. I'll marry you.
Where you going?
I gotta go find a guy to do it.
I'll see you later!
"MAHONEY". Gentlemen, today we make a profound decision.
It is a complicated decision.
For all of you, I know.
A vote today
against our American athletes
participating in these Olympics
is a vote against tyranny.
Anybody who competes,
in any event, anyleveL
on any given day, you're going to win or you're going to lose.
is you were there.
"AVERY". When it's all over, everybody goes home.
History remembers the winners.
Every man or woman on that field
is grateful for the chance to be there,
to meet in the spirit of friendly competition,
man against man,
nation against nation,
to test themselves
without fear or rancor
against the best the other side has to offer.
Surely we all agree the Olympic code
is a direct antithesis
to Nazi ideology.
They're who we ought to be thinking about.
those putting their sweat, their blood,
their heart into getting that chance.
I don't feel I have the right to take it away from them.
I know when I was competing, I wouldn't have wanted it taken from me.
And whether they bring home medals or not,
they'll all have won that chance.
I urge you to vote today
not with your hearts as sporting men.
To tell their children...
but with your conscience...
and their children's children...
as members of the human race.
"L was there."
What happened to you?
Is that the, uh, Citizen? Come here. Let me see it.
Fifty-eight to fifty-six.
I respect their decision...
but in all conscience, I can't be the one to carry it out.
Go get us that gold medal, you hear?
Hey! How about that, huh?
Hope you win, Jesse!
Good evening, y'all.
Jesse, this is Representative Davis of the Ohio State legislature.
He's here on behalf of the NAACP.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Oh, well, hello. This is my wife, Ruth.
Hello. Have a seat.
Our secretary, Mr. Walter White,
has asked me to deliver this to you personally
with his best wishes.
What's this about?
I want to congratulate you on your many recent successes.
I've been following them
with great and particular interest.
As all of us in our community have.
Well, thank you.
And, uh, the Olympic trials, well, they're coming up soon.
A little under five weeks.
Well, no doubt you hope to qualify and take part?
I mean, yes, sir.
Even under the Hitler regime?
On behalf of Mr. White and his organization
and the Negro community across America,
I hope you don't go.
But this is the Olympic games.
I mean, Jesse's been training for this his whole life.
Look, Jesse, you're the best.
You have a chance to strike a powerful blow.
I know that it must sound hypocritical
for any American
to talk about racial bigotry
in other countries,
but that is the whole reason
we must not go to these games.
We've got a chance here
to show our solidarity
with the oppressed people of Germany.
It's all a part of the same great hatred.
We can make those in power
aware of their moral obligation
to fight against the wrongs
that we Negroes suffer right here at home.
You think it's gonna make a damn bit of difference?
He stays, they ain't gonna notice.
he can come back with a drawer full of medals,
and they will hate him even worse than before.
Do what you want, now. You understand me?
It ain't gonna make no difference no how.
Do you run, Mr. Davis?
not competitively, no.
'Cause you know, out there on that track, you're free of all this.
The moment that gun go off, can't nothing stop me.
not fear, not even hate.
There ain't no black and white. There's only fast and slow.
For those 10 seconds, you are completely free.
Now, here you come telling me I can't do it,
that I'm letting down my race if I go.
What's that supposed to do for me?
God gave you a great gift, Mr. Owens.
Maybe he can tell you what to do with it.
You don't have to tell them what's on your mind.
He's my coach. I gotta say something.
Joe is ahead as we go into round four
of this 15-round bout between Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber,
ad ex-heavyweight champion Max Schmeling...
Hey. Hey! Guys, come on. You're missing the fight. Get over here.
Come on, let's go.
Just a warm-up for Louis.
Louis hardly seems to know what he's doing.
He's dazed, hurt,
Come on, come on.
Louis is down.
The official timekeeper is counting the seconds across the ring.
That's it. It's a knockout.
What happened? DAVE: The Nazi beat him.
He beat Joe Louis. I don't believe it.
there's only one thing to do now, right?
We go over there in three weeks to Berlin,
we get some payback in their house. Am I right?
Alvin Kraenzlein. Alvin Kraenzlein.
The greatest athlete that this country's ever produced.
Kraenzlein's the only track and field athlete
to ever bring home four medals from a single games.
Now, me personally, I may not get to beat Alvin Kraenzlein,
so I guess I'll just settle for coaching the guy who does.
Shorty won't get four. You seen the way he go over them hurdles?
I'm not going.
Like a bullfrog with his ass on fire.
What did you say, kid? Huh?
I said I don't know if I can go.
What the hell are you talking about?
I mean, well, think about it.
I go down to Berlin, it's like telling them Nazis it's okay,
like I don't care nothing about what's going on over there.
Hey, I get it. You're nervous, kid.
No, Coach. Look, Pvethought this through.
Now, come on. You're going, okay?
Trust me. Believe me. You're going. That's it.
All right? You've worked too hard.
And if you don't go over there, you're gonna feel awful.
All right? If you were to pull out now, you...
Yeah, I know. I'll regret it for the rest of my life, right?
Exactly. Yes, sir.
And my wife, she'll walk out on me,
'cause she realizes what a loser I really am.
And I'll probably end up drinking myself stupid
until my coach, he gets so sick of the sight of me
that he gives me a goddamn job!
You get a chance to be a part of history,
and you're gonna walk away from it, huh?
Throw it away?
Look, I got people looking at me for an example.
What do you mean, people? What people? Black people?
Come on. I don't give a shit about any of that!
Yeah, well, you're white!
You don't have to!
What happened to you?
Look, you're right to be angry.
I've, uh, never been good at listening.
They're asking too much of you.
A man competes to prove something to himself.
That he's the best he knows how to be.
Nothing else matters.
Jesse, I don't know anything about the kind
of pressure that's being put on you right now.
But I do know what it's like to be an athlete.
And I know that if you don't go,
it's gonna feel like the biggest mistake you ever made in your life.
But you gotta let me make it on my own.
You don't have to decide anything just yet, but at least do the trials.
Give yourself the option.
It has been quite a day
for you here in New York, Mr. Owens.
You have qualified in three events,
the 100 and 200 meter sprints and the broad jump.
I'd like to ask the coaches, who are the guys you've gotta beat?
Well, Carl Long, the broad jumper.
We're keeping a real close eye on him.
And, you know, I mean, the guy's got every damn record in Europe.
Mr. Glickman, Mr. Stoller, as Jewish Americans,
did you ever feel pressure not to take part in these games in Germany?
For the record, the only pressure
they're under is winning their races.
We don't discriminate on the US Olympic team.
I think we've heard enough about politics today.
We're here to talk about medals.
They need to answer the question.
Mr. Owens, so, does this mean you're going?
How can you justify taking part in Germany
when there's so much discrimination here at home?
You know, that's a very good point.
When we get our own house in order...
Whatever you need from me, wherever you need me to be,
whatever you need me to do. I just wanna help.
Well, that's, uh,
very nice of you to offer there, Larry,
but, uh, you're not an official American coach.
Yeah, but you don't know Jesse like I do.
Now, Mr. Owens is not the only runner coming with us,
and this isn't our first games.
Jesse Owens can beat any sprinter over any distance,
and you know it.
You can't afford to have him off his form.
Oh, so you're saying he needs the best coach.
Is that what you're saying, Larry?
Thanks all the same.
You should know he may not get on that boat tomorrow,
and there's nothing anybody can do about it.
I couldn't believe when I heard you got injured, Eulace.
How's the leg holding up?
Yup, tore the hamstring right up.
But I'm training again, so a couple months...
I read the papers.
All them people yelling and screaming at you.
It can really get in the way of a man's concentration,
but all that means is there's a lot of people counting on you.
To do what?
To get on over there to Berlin and stick it up Hitler's ass!
of Eu lace Peacock.
What'll she think of me if I don't go?
You're her daddy. She gonna love you no matter what.
And what'll you think?
Don't put this on me, Jesse.
I promised you a better life than what we have now.
I mean, how else am I supposed to get it?
I like our lifejust fine.
You're the only damn person in the world whose opinion matters to me,
and you ain't got one.
I ain't gonna tell you what to do, Jesse.
That's why you love me.
Say I go.
What if I lose?
You're the fastest man on the Earth.
Butyou won't be there.
My family won't be there. My coach won't even be there.
Larry's not going? No.
He tried, but they won't let him.
I'm gonna be there all by myself,
the whole world watching.
And 'W Hose...
If I lose,
it'll mean those Nazis were right.
Quit thinking so much, Jesse. It's not what you're good at.
You was put here to run.
Don't listen to any of them.
Listen to you.
You listen to your heart, all right?
Ruth, I have everything, all right?
Now, I'm always saying goodbye to you.
Yeah, well, thatjust makes it that much sweeter saying hello.
Now, here you go, sweet talker.
So you remember where to keep looking.
Give Daddy a hug!
I love you both.
I love you.
You get your sea legs yet?
Coach? What the hell are you doing here?
I mean, someone's gotta keep an eye on you.
Can't have you laying around all week getting fat.
No turning back now.
I'm gonna go find my room.
Coach. You're headed the wrong way.
Everybody's in first class.
Yeah, not on my own dime. No, I, uh,
be staying down in steerage
with you and Dave.
See you in the morning.
You're kidding me!
How do you do?
Let's go, Jesse!
Ladies and gentlemen,
on behalf of Reich chancellor Adolf Hitler
and the German Olympic Committee, welcome to Berlin.
Here, take a flower!
Come on, Marty. Shalom!
Uh, sir, where are the colored dorms?
There are no colored dorms.
We're with y'all?
Now, don't worry. We'll keep the noise down!
Well, well, well.
"DAVE". Food's good too.
Maybe these Nazis just got a bad reputation.
That's Luz Long?
The man can jump.
He's got a hell of a home-field advantage, too.
What do you think this is? Mardi Gras?
Get back to work!
You got something you wanna say to me, boy?
Now, hold on a second.
"You're not fit to train fleas on a dog."
You actually said that to Dean Cromwell?
Hey, you hear the mouth on this boy?
Now, Dean, hold on a second.
Don't know what you're teachin' him,
but it sure as hell isn't respect.
All right, all right. Now, what's this about?
What is it you want?
I want a goddamn apology. That's what I want.
Jesse, what do you want?
I wanna be able to train the way I'm used to.
Oh, for God's sake.
And I want my coach back.
You're out of your mind. No way. That's out of the question.
Mr. Snyder is not a registered Olympic trainer.
Well, I hope you know all the words to the German national anthem,
because you'll be hearing it every time one
of those Nazis win a medal I would've won.
You wanna quit?
You go ahead, because no Negro is gonna talk to me that way...
Hey, hey. Now, what the hell's that got to do with...
That's got everything to do with it.
Oh, come on. You're making it about that.
You weren't there. You didn't hear what he said to me.
Jesse, you don't mean that.
You're not about to walk out now?
Look, if we can get a pass for Mr. Snyder here,
we can put all of this behind us.
You better keep your boy on a leash.
What the hell was that all about?
I figured you couldn't afford a decent seat. I thought I'd help you out.
And here I am thinking this is your way of thanking me.
I wouldn't even know where to start.
Bring me three gold medals. That's the only way.
Hey, how are the new shoes I ordered you from England?
They never showed up.
Hi. You know where this is here?
Never mind. Sorry.
No, I, I'm American. I'm American.
I'm from the US Olympic team.
Hey! Hey, hey, hey!
I got it, okay? I've got papers.
Yes. Here. Here, here, here.
American. US Olympic team.
I'm, I'm looking for, uh, Dassler.
Dassler. Adi Dassler.
Dassler? Dassler, yeah.
Yes. Yes. Shoe. Yeah.
Okay. Okay. Here we go.
It's gonna be damp out there.
The track's gonna be heavy.
How are the shoes?
They're great. Good.
Good, good, good.
Oh, gosh, I wish you would've had more time to break them in though.
I don't know what happened there.
I'm gonna get to the bottom of that. That's another...
Coach, I said they're all right.
You gonna keep fussing like an old hen,
or are you gonna let me get out there and run?
Mr. Owens, I'm expecting great things.
Anything less than a gold, we will consider a disappointment.
I'm sure he was joking.
Thanks, Coach. You're a lot of help.
Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler.
Sieg heil! Sieg heil!
Sieg heil! Sieg heil! Sieg heil!
The winner of the men's 100-meter finals
is Jesse Owens in first place
with a time of 10.3 seconds.
Come on, let me see it.
Thank you, sir.
Now, there's somebody I want you to meet.
Chancellor Hitler has been forced to leave early today,
and won't be able to congratulate the winners.
The traffic, you understand.
You let the chancellor know
he congratulates all of the gold medalists or none of them.
Regrettably, it is impossible.
Time to go over the rules here for tomorrow.
You should know they're very particular about their attempts here.
So none of that showboating you tried to pull in Ann Arbor.
Yeah. You listening to me?
We're here at the 11th Olympiad,
bringing you the qualifying round
of the men's broad jump event.
Up first, the German,
Luz Long, reigning European champion.
And he's making it look easy!
Now it's time for Jesse Owens of the USA.
We've seen this before from Owens.
He wants to examine the track...
Before his first attempt.
Owens, kneeling on the run-up.
It's a foul!
I don't believe it! They've recorded it as a foul!
Owens questioning the officials.
He's not going to be happy about this!
Still, he has two more attempts.
Owens makes his second attempt to qualify.
Come on, Jesse!
He stepped over the line!
This event looks like it might be over for Owens before it begins.
Here's something you don't see every day.
Long seems to be offering Owens advice
on where to jump from.
Owens, making his third and final attempt.
He's done it!
And Owens is through to the final!
Sieg heil! Sieg heil!
The men's broad jump final.
German chancellor Adolf Hitler takes his seat for the event.
And after a close-run qualifying round,
the great athlete Jesse Owens of the USA
faces up against Luz Long.
Each competitor will have three attempts,
with his best score determining the winner.
Long's first jump.
The reigning European champion.
It's a white flag.
His, too, a white flag!
The white flag is up.
It's a new European record!
The white flag is up!
Owens has beaten the European record set only moments ago!
Let's see what Long can produce to match it.
Oh, it's a foul!
A foul from Long on his final attempt.
But it means Owens has done it!
He's secured a second gold medal of the games!
That was a great match.
Please, take your last jump.
What's this? The competition is over,
but the German Long seems to share
the interest of the crowd here in Berlin,
in seeing the best the amazing Owens has to offer.
This is the true spirit of sportsmanship
we're seeing here between these two athletes today.
The white flag is up!
It's a new Olympic record!
Let's make the lap of honor. Okay, sure.
Have you seen this before?
You beat me, square and fair.
It's "fair and square,"
and you gave me the chance.
I wanted your best.
Otherwise, what is the point?
Is that your girlfriend?
She's very pretty. Thank you.
Do they have any ugly girls in Germany?
They prefer to keep them out of sight.
There are a lot of things they want to keep hidden.
You think I'm joking.
I love my country,
but it's no secret my government's going insane.
They don't bother to hide it.
I don't even think they are ashamed.
A few nights ago, they sent a girl to my room to wish me luck.
She wanted to sleep with me.
Governor Davey sent me a telegram and a case of Coca-Cola.
I should emigrate.
she wanted to get pregnant.
I think she was ordered to get pregnant.
Isupposel should be flattered.
I think all things considered, you're actually better off in America.
I don't know if there's much difference deep down.
Are you gonna get in any trouble?
You made quite a scene today.
They want to use us to prove something to the world.
I'm happy to show them they're wrong.
Believe me, I would have preferred to beat you,
but it wouldn't have been for them.
If they want to make these games a weapon,
they can't complain when it's used against them.
Maybe now they see how stupid it was to even try.
You are entered for one more event, right?
Uh, yeah. Uh, 200 meters.
I very much hope you win.
Not to prove anything to any government.
Just to make me feel a little better about losing to you.
Conditions have been damp
and overcast all morning here in Berlin,
as the competitors take to the field
for the men's final of the 200-meter dash.
This is it.
It's been 36 years
since a track and field athlete brought home
three individual gold medals from a single games.
Taking their lanes are Wil van Beveren,
and Tinus Osendarp of the Netherlands,
America's Jesse Owens and Mack Robinson,
Paul Hanni of Switzerland,
and the Canadian, Lee Orr.
And they're off to a clean start.
Owens has gone off.
And so has Robinson.
Owens is flying around the top bend into the straight.
Mack Robinson in second place.
Owens and Robinson ahead of the field.
Osendarp is challenging.
And it's Owens!
Owens sprints it in
Owens! Owens! Owens!
When we first met, we spoke of hospitality.
When you are a guest in somebody's home, you abide...
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I understand.
What time they serve dinner, the brand of cognac they prefer.
It's, it's good manners.
The Jews, Glickman and Stoller,
are competing in the 400-meter relay.
It would show a great deal of sympathy and understanding
on your part if they did not.
Thanks for the drink.
He says you have a business arrangement.
That was business.
That has nothing to do with this.
How would it look for your American Olympic Association
to have collaborated with us before these games?
There are reports the krauts
have been holding back their best runners
to spring a nice little surprise on us in the 400-meter relay.
With that in mind, we've got some changes to the lineup.
All right. So, Foy, guess you'll take third leg.
Frank, you're now going to run anchor.
I'm sorry, but we gotta cut you.
Who's gonna run first and second?
You mean we came all the way here, we're not gonna get to race?
No, no, no. That's a load of crap.
Marty and me, we both licked Foy
in the speed test yesterday. I'm sorry, believe me.
It's not been an easy decision... Hey, hey.
You're gonna cut somebody, you cut him.
Foy's got more experience.
Any team the krauts got out there, we can win this by 15 yards.
Oh, come on! You know what this is all about.
We're the only Jews.
This has nothing to do with the Jewish question.
If you do this...
If you do this,
you'll catch hell for it back home.
That's not your problem.
We want to field our strongest runners.
And that's gonna be Ralph and Jesse.
Come on, that's perfect.
No, look. Coach, you gotta run Sam and Marty.
I mean, I can't speak for Ralph over here, but you gotta give 'em a shot.
I've never even ran the relay. I don't even think I know how to pass a baton.
You do as you're told, Owens.
Press have copies of the lineup.
You change it now and we lose, they'll wanna know why.
That's a lot of pressure to put on one race, don't you think?
Would you remind me who you are again?
Ralph, you do what you want. I'm not running.
Not unless Sam and Marty say it's all right.
You ever fly in an airplane?
Nothing in the world like flying your own plane.
A girl down in New Jersey, waiting for you.
See, an airplane gets people excited the same
way they come out and watch a man race.
But what they really want,
what really gets them worked up,
is to see you crash.
To see you fold up that Stearman biplane like a piece of paper.
Watch the ground crew drag you out
like a rag doll before it blows up,
explodes into flames.
Now, that's exciting.
ls that why you didn't go to Paris?
Because you crashed your plane?
Three weeks before the opening ceremony.
I heard Paddock win on the radio.
You were some kind of idiot.
That's exactly what my father said.
I woke up in the hospital, and he gave me this.
Yeah. Yeah, I had my shot, but I didn't know it.
Just threw it away.
A Stearman's a beautiful little plane,
but I don't imagine it compares much to running at the Olympics.
You're right, you know.
It's not your race.
If you lose,
it's for nothing.
Sam and me would've been shafted for nothing.
All the world will see is another Nazi waving another medal.
What are you trying to say?
He means don't lose.
Come on, Jesse!
Owens, the world's fastest sprinter
sets a terrific pace from the start.
Owens passes Mariani, hands off to Metcalfe.
Faster, passing the Canadian. The second change!
America in first place with a new world record
of 39.8 seconds!
Go ahead. Take a look.
No, it's okay.
You sure? Yeah.
Bring it to me.
Mr. Owens, my name is Leni Riefenstahl. Um...
I have a favor to ask you.
Would you mind one more?
Last time, I promise.
Well, sure, but isn't that cheating?
I'm just saying that's not the actual jump I made.
You did make that jump.
We all saw it.
You made history out here.
All I'm doing is making sure
years from now, those people who weren't there can see it too.
So they never forget what you did.
All right. One more.
Wonderful. Here we go.
Good evening. Hello, sir.
Not bad, huh'?
Not bad at all!
I'm sorry, sir, but your friends
will have to use the service entrance.
Are you kidding me?
You know who this is?
I mean, they're holding the dinner for him.
I'm sorry, Mr. Owens, sir, but those are the rules.
Yeah? Yeah, well, your rules are bullshit!
You know that, yeah? How about you go inside and get your boss
or someone that can actually help us out... Coach, Coach.
It's all right. Go ahead.
I'll meet you in there.
I think that's Jesse Owens!
Um, would you mind?