Downhill Racer is an intriguing film that balances skiing and the majesty of Alpine scenery with an absorbing story of hero Robert Redford, young American innocent abroad.
The picture was filmed in the Swiss, Austrian and French Alps. Screenplay [based on the novel The Downhill Racers by Oakley Hall] plunges into action when Colorado-born Redford, part of an American skiing team coached by tough Gene Hackman, asserts himself both with the personalities surrounding him and on the European slopes.
Redford contributes a sensitive, interesting portrayal. His interpretation is many-faceted and probing. Hackman’s characterization is virile and thoroughly human.
Filming of the downhill course, made with camera attached to the skier’s helmet, was properly nervewracking. And a heart-in-the-throat Olympic downhill race as a finale tops everything that has gone before.