American Flyers (1985)

 


 

Two brothers challenge the road. And life itself. [Video] See »

Sports physician Marcus persuades his unstable brother David to come with him and train for a bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. He doesn\’t tell him that he has a cerebral tumor. While David powerfully heads for the victory, Marcus has to realize that the contest is now beyond his capabilities. / Features great views of the Rockies and an insight in the tactics of bicycle races.

Written by
Tom Zoerner <[email protected]>

Genre: Drama,Sport

American Flyers (1985)
   
Release Date: 16 August 1985 (USA)
Country: USA
Director: John Badham
Cast:
  • Kevin Costner
  • David Marshall Grant
  • Rae Dawn Chong
  • Alexandra Paul
  • Janice Rule
  • Luca Bercovici
  • Robert Townsend
  • John Amos
  • Doi Johnson
  • John Garber
  • Jennifer Grey
  • James Terry
  • Jessica Nelson
  • Tom Lawrence
  • Brian Drebber


Incoming search terms

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34 Responses to American Flyers (1985)

  1. flixk
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    I have to admit that I’m mainly writing this in response to some of the negative comments and discussions about this film. I’m going to preface the rest of this by saying that I am not a cyclist and (although this might offend quite a few) I could give a *beep* about the sport. I respect the amount of training and endurance one has to have to compete, but you’ll never catch me watching a competition on tv or in person. I, myself, am a runner, but I don’t even watch that in person or on tv.

    That being said, I don’t think this film was ever meant to be a cycling film. To me, that was just the back-drop of a film about the ties that bind us together as families. The relationships and character in this film were the strength. From the distance between Marcus and his mother, to David trying to bridge that gap.

    I, for one, actually liked this film BETTER than Breaking Away, as is evident in my desire to watch this several times, versus the 2 times I’ve seen Breaking Away. I really didn’t find myself caring for Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher as much as the Brothers Sommers.

    I even enjoyed the direction better, with nice establishing shots that really seemed to compliment the theme of each sequence, whether it be the casual training Marcus and David had with Eddie on their tail, or Muzzen trying to push David into oblivion at the base of the mountain. It paid plenty of attention to the cycling, never abandoning it for more than 5 minutes or so throughout the film. This is what kept this this film tied to the ‘sports film’ genre for me. The aforementioned fact that I am not a cyclist does not enable me to decide whether or not it was fair and true to the sport itself. However, my background as a fan of films DOES enable me to conclude that it developed all the relationships in the film very well. The open case of Marcus vs. Mother came full circle, when both parties realized that it was time to bury the past (and the dead) in preference to a more pressing issue…the present and living.

    There was even the comical relationship between John Amos (who was always built like and athlete-right-from-the-womb) and his completely void-of-motivation son, Randolph, who’s closest brush with ambition came in the form of wanting to become the first great, black bowler.

    All in all, I think it was an underrated sports film. People mention having issues with David Grants acting. I thought he was pretty good in the film, which confused me even further when he never really showed up in a starring role after that. His career from that point has consisted of several television shows, a couple of HBO original movies and a 5-minute stint in the most commercially-successful film of his career…The Devil Wears Prada. A little disheartening, considering how much I enjoyed him in this.

    I’m willing to accept myself as the minority with this film. American Flyers will always have a place in my film collection, regardless of how cheesy people find the Glenn Shorrock-powered title track to be…(my readings have since made me move that song from the ‘songs I enjoy’ pile to the ‘guilty pleasures’ bin.) Se la vie…

    • Kim
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      So–it seems that there were 3 hitchhikers and Becky leaves that group so she isn’t mentioned then, as 1 of 2 hitchhikers—which I am SURE the female hitchhiker is Linda Hamilton…and though Kevin Costner is in this movie and was just starting out–a little BIG movie called Terminator also came on the scene in 1985—so—did Linda accept a bit part in this 1 and then they called her something else…another gals’ name is listed–but I know it’s really Linda…

  2. Waltboak
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    Did McDonalds finance this movie. I have never seen so many ads in a movie for one company. Right in the beginning of the movie when David is riding next to the Mississippi River they show a large paddleboat with a huge Mcyd’s sign on it. Then right after that they show David riding under the Arch in St Louis.

    Golden Arches, Mcyd’s. Again when Marcus is going to show them how he quits races they are shown walking through the gym carrying bags of Mcyd’s food. David even asks "is there a McFish in here?" Then on the road to the Hell of the West

    they pass Becky and her friends. Becky says she is sick of gronola bars and wants a large shake and a quarter pounder with cheese. Soon after the van is driving into a Mcyd’s parking lot where David meets Becky. Then when David and

    Becky are in their hotel room she mentions that it’s destiny. If she didn’t wait for her quarter pounder with cheese they wouldn’t be there.

    There are probably more.

  3. j_theriault
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    DMG, you’re so fine in this movie!

  4. baldwinl
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    I just bought the DVD of this movie. Has the normal cover art, case is plastic and cardboard and the quality is terrible. Grainy. 4:3 aspect ration (not the 16:9 letterbox). Is this the standard quality for this movie or is my copy crappy? I paid a whole $5 for it but now I wonder if my bargain DVD is somehow inferior.

  5. fstory3
    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/themovie/public_html/wp-content/themes/feed-me-seymour/functions.php on line 694

    Coors International Bicycle Classic: (1979-1988)

    A stage race sponsored by the Coors Brewing Company. Over the years, the event became America’s unofficial National Tour, listed as the fourth largest race in the world after the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia. Over 10 years, the Coors Classic grew into two weeks of racing in California, Nevada and Colorado, with stages in some years in Hawaii and Wyoming. Many of Americans best road cyclists raced in this event: Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, Eric Heiden, and Alexi Grewal along with other international riders.

    Also known as the “Hell of the West.” (See Paris-Roubaix for “Hell of the North”)

    Won by David Sommers (b. 1959) in 1985 as a tribute to his dying brother, Marcus Sommers (b. 1955).

    Sommers’ victory, the most unlikely of likely triumphs, only came after he broke his dying brother’s long-standing Exercise Electrocardiography treadmill test record at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Human Performance Lab. This physiological feat, which still stands, served as the catalyst for his much-heralded 1985 Coors Classic victory.

    David used a cutting-edge cross-training program consisting of donut munching, skirt-chasing and puddle-splashing while working as a bike messenger for a local modeling agency– in the fashion hot-bed of St. Louis, MO, no less– to shatter his estranged brother’s claim to VO2max fame. Not only did this cardio dilettante take away his brother’s record, but his reason to live—it would seem.

    In 1980, Marcus, Dave’s older brother (who would later be found dead in a team van down by the river), acquiesced his chance to win the Coors Classic because of a precipitous lack of mental fortitude– a supposed Sommers male trait.

    A videotape of the 1980 race indexed to “the moment of my defeat”– worn like it was classic Nina Hartley porn– and a broken VO2max record are all this laconic, mustachio man had left in the summer of 1985. And, of course, his rag-tag group of uber-fit cardio lab rats at U-Wis– all shepherded by a curmudgeonly, but lovable, Lab Director. (Which explains the mysterious disappearance and whereabouts of JJ’s dad in Good Times, circa 1976.) Yes, good ol’ Doc Conrad…so much like the father Marcus lost– as warm as his mother was cold.

    But still– forever gone; his chance to validate his entire worth as a priggish human being and possibly earning a place in the annals of biking lore he sooooo desperately coveted. His one, lost chance… that he regrets with every fiber of his withering, nose-bleeding, dying being. But now… if Dave, if– only Dave… had a reason to ride—“ride like the wind, Dave… ride.” This race, his last race, may not save his body, but possibly, just possibly—may save… his soul.

    Sidebar:

    The most prominent side-effects of altitude sickness are frequent nose bleeds and dizziness– and, of course, the ever-present… dramatic over-sentimentality. The very symptoms Marcus claimed to be “experiencing” during David’s heroic ride at the ’85 Coors Classic.

    So correct me if I’m wrong– but wasn’t the 1985 Coors Classic held at high-altitude… in Colorado… at 10,000 feet. Is this just another example of an older brother manipulating and emotionally, and yes—I’ll say it—physically abusing a weaker sibling for their own selfish gain or amusement.. and to win favor with parent? (Kinda like Bush claiming there were WMDs. In the end it was just to impress a distant Daddy– and to play “war” at the expense of the public—his pseudo-extended family.)

    Also of note—

    A victory by Marcus in 1980, would certainly better explain why a “smoking hot” Sarah bedded his scrawny-ass then… and later, that other scrawny-ass– C. Thomas-Howell. Wolverines!!!

    But, you see… Marcus Sommers lost. He lost to Luca “The Cannibal” Muzzin (who, BTW, looks remarkably like the actor Ted Danson… but more Gulliver’s Travels, circa 1999 than Cheers, circa 1983, surprisingly.) and is the ex-boyfriend of Sarah. Who looks like Sarah Conner in T2, fit and feisty—she just not African-American. Well Sarah, the non-T2 version, is half African-American—so, I guess, she’s more so than not. Right? EXACTLY! So, at the time– Sarah, was a girlfriend to Marcus, David’s brother. Who, did I mention, is dying?

    (For more on Marcus Sommers, also see “Prominent American Cyclists with Fu-Manchu Mustaches or Early 80’s Famous Human Kinetics Researchers in Central Wisconsin or Unexplainable Smokin’ Hot ex-Girlfriends or Dying Older Brothers of Cyclist Named David” Wikipedia entries)

    Prophetically, as all tragic semi-heroes must, Marcus lost the race— and quite anticlimactically… but with a tremendous amount of disgust and self-loathing. Thereby setting the table for a little something I like to call– a surrogate redemptive burrito, or a SRB in literally terms. Best served cold; with the help of a fit, free-spirit, sexy, yet strangely boyish, ingénue. A poor man’s Amanda Peet, if you will… just happened upon on the road… in this journey to lactic-acid hell and perfunctory family reconciliation.

    But, I digress—again.

    So, ‘85 happened because of ’80, when Marcus 86’d his will to win. Blame it on “that moment, right there” where he capitulated to a hungrier Muzzin, “The Cannibal,” (looking more like Ted Danson as the acerbic Becker, circa 2004.) on the last hill.

    Or, in 1985, was it the “illness” that undermined his ability to mount a Hans solo breakaway to victory. Maybe we are forced to lay blame squarely on the wind resistance from his so fine, Village People mustache. But it’s 19 friggin’ 85! Tubbs, Crocket—no mustache there, Holmes. You can call it Fu Manchu—I just call it fu, man!

    So, what is fact… what is fiction?

    This particular quandary, sports fans, will remain a modern mystery in cycling. Like whether Lance, Floyd, Ivan or Eddie used performance-enhancing drugs. History will decide– I can not.

  6. teelions
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    Is it just me or do you also think that Luca Bercovici who plays Muzzin is a dead ringer for Ted Danson?

  7. BoSoxRule
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    He wanted to die looking like that?

    I’m happiest…in the saddle.

  8. bono_vox_is_god
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    Okay. I rented this.

    1. Because it has Kevin Costner in it, and i still have great respect for the man despite his bad choices

    2. I love Breaking Away

    3. I am a cyclist

    4. I have watched every other movie at the video store

    But I have to let people know, coming on here to see whether they should watch the movie, that don’t get your hopes up. This isn’t breaking away, but then again not many films are as good as that one.

    Despite the shameless McDonalds plugs, and bad acting from the fellow who plays the younger brother. It’s the kind of 80’s sports movie which gets you out of your seat towards the end cheering for the lead characters, your heart pumping to the awful theme song of the film.

    The story runs play by play, by the book with every other sports movie ever made. What’s sad is there is potential for a great movie here. But the relationship between the brothers comes off false, and the motivating factor for them actually racing is pretty ridiculous as well. I found myself wanting to know more about what happened to the fat kid in the subplot.

    So, go watch this film. It’s not brilliant, but if you liked Karate Kid, and you want to see an early Kevin Costner (pre-postman) trying out his acting chops. It definately worth a watch.

  9. joybird
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    Don’t know why I missed this the first time round.

    Sitting here in Scotland , it’s got everything that is great about American film making…

    1. Great Scenery

    2. Great Music

    3. Great Story

    Ok… let’s forget the acting (apart from Kevin)

    This film Rocks!

    STU

  10. medicalartist1
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    OHHHH YA!!…. ……..

  11. mark-1802
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    Thus says Costners character when they are riding alongside the two guys on horseback who they ‘race’ then shift up a gear and keep riding. Why/how/in what way is this ‘the oldest trick in the book’?

  12. dlister70
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    In stage 2 Marcus tells David to sprint up ahead at the beginning and since he is unknown, the pack will probably let him go. A few do follow, but Muzzin says they are "nobodys" and not to worry about them.

    Later when Muzzin and the pack catch up to the "nobodys", David has pulled far ahead of everyone else. Muzzin yells at Marcus "I taught you that move!".

    What move? Peddling your bike quickly? I don’t understand how David got so far ahead of everyone else. When he took the marker flag the rest of the "nobodys" were with him, and then suddenly he was way way out in front.

    What was the move?

  13. big_t21
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    Does anyone know the music from Stage 2 in the Hell of The West? It has some great synthesizer…..Very motivating!!! Thanks!

  14. rodvince
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    I actually liked that scene where David tells the executive, who got wet after a truck splashes water on him, that he "should have been quick." Then, a Volkswagen passed by, splashing waters on David, the wet executive laughs, and an old lady on the bike passes by, smiling. Great background music too ("A Brand New Day").

  15. davidf32725
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    The Hell of the West bike race portrayed in the movie is it a real race in Colorado, I looked it up on Google and there was not too much on it.

  16. alonso-reyes
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    I missed this movie when it first premiered. In fact, I only found out about it when an acquaintance told me about it. I was very anxious to see it.

    Breaking Away turned me onto cycling and I’ve done it ever since. I thought that it may be better than Breaking Away. Boy, was I wrong. What a complete disapointment! It was terrible and didn’t really show what a real cycling team is all about. As if you can just call up your brother and say: "Hey, come race with me. I’m sure my team will hire you because you’re my brother."

    It was filmed at the Coors Classic, at that time, the fourth largest stage race in the world, behind The Tour de France, Vuelta de Espana and the Giro d’Italia. Americans didn’t even realize what they had here. Never again has there been a race considered America’s National Race.

  17. lakes85
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    Does anyone know where I can find or have the song "Brand New Day" by Danny Hutton. It’s my favorite song from the soundtrack and I would love to find it.

  18. mlevens1
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    Well is it? It’s of course not as critically aclaimed or famous. My friend who is an avid cylcer thinks it is, though. What does everyone think?

  19. robdebank
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    does anyone know the name or have a copy of the soundtrack music used, when david is on the running machine trying to break marcus’s record, it would be great to have at the gym on my ipod

  20. paul-3157
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    did David Grant look in the beginning of the movie?

    Those tight biker shorts with denim jacket and cowboy hat? Yehaaw cowboy!

    You got David Grant in that outfit, and then Kevin Costner with that mustache….it’s almost like they started doing a gay porn and then decided after shooting started to make it about bikes instead

  21. maysday
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    judging by the behavior of muzzin and the russian character (iforget his name, not the hammer and sickle shirt LOL) i can only assume that they did not test for drugs like steroids when these races occured.

    I just watched this movie last p.m. in hopes of getting psyched for my upcoming 75 mile bike run,, maybe i can find a lonely hitchhiker on the way down to the keys and go to mickey ds with her.

    also after the first leg a good line would be to david,, "i got good news and bad news,,good news your only 11 seconds behind,, bad news your brother is dying.

    also with blood coming out my ears and nose i think i might check into a hospital rather than go back to my motel and quick change into clean clothes and hop in bed!!!!!!!!!!

  22. joego-3
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    One of the funniest lines in the movie is between David and Marcus after the results come in from his CATscan

    DAVID: Shinto philosophy teaches you to look at life as a seasonal occupation.

    MARCUS: Sounds like Bull-shinto to me!

    LOL!

  23. RichNice
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    Is it me, or does that the girl that is hitchhiking with Alexandra Paul look like Linda Hamilton?

    "I don’t know about cards, but I think these .45’s beat a full house" -Omar Little.

  24. BigDaddy29
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    Cancer? What was he dying of?

    Move and you’re dead

    Well I say Im dead and I move..

  25. Anonymous
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  26. fstory3
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    Coors International Bicycle Classic: (1979-1988)

    A stage race sponsored by the Coors Brewing Company. Over the years, the event became America’s unofficial National Tour, listed as the fourth largest race in the world after the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia. Over 10 years, the Coors Classic grew into two weeks of racing in California, Nevada and Colorado, with stages in some years in Hawaii and Wyoming. Many of Americans best road cyclists raced in this event: Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, Eric Heiden, and Alexi Grewal along with other international riders.

    Also known as the “Hell of the West.” (See Paris-Roubaix for “Hell of the North”)

    Won by David Sommers (b. 1959) in 1985 as a tribute to his dying brother, Marcus Sommers (b. 1955).

    Sommers’ victory, the most unlikely of likely triumphs, only came after he broke his dying brother’s long-standing Exercise Electrocardiography treadmill test record at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Human Performance Lab. This physiological feat, which still stands, served as the catalyst for his much-heralded 1985 Coors Classic victory.

    David used a cutting-edge cross-training program consisting of donut munching, skirt-chasing and puddle-splashing while working as a bike messenger for a local modeling agency– in the fashion hot-bed of St. Louis, MO, no less– to shatter his estranged brother’s claim to VO2max fame. Not only did this cardio dilettante take away his brother’s record, but his reason to live—it would seem.

    In 1980, Marcus, Dave’s older brother (who would later be found dead in a team van down by the river), acquiesced his chance to win the Coors Classic because of a precipitous lack of mental fortitude– a supposed Sommers male trait.

    A videotape of the 1980 race indexed to “the moment of my defeat”– worn like it was classic Nina Hartley porn– and a broken VO2max record are all this laconic, mustachio man had left in the summer of 1985. And, of course, his rag-tag group of uber-fit cardio lab rats at U-Wis– all shepherded by a curmudgeonly, but lovable, Lab Director. (Which explains the mysterious disappearance and whereabouts of JJ’s dad in Good Times, circa 1976.) Yes, good ol’ Doc Conrad…so much like the father Marcus lost– as warm as his mother was cold.

    But still– forever gone; his chance to validate his entire worth as a priggish human being and possibly earning a place in the annals of biking lore he sooooo desperately coveted. His one, lost chance… that he regrets with every fiber of his withering, nose-bleeding, dying being. But now… if Dave, if– only Dave… had a reason to ride—“ride like the wind, Dave… ride.” This race, his last race, may not save his body, but possibly, just possibly—may save… his soul.

    Sidebar:

    The most prominent side-effects of altitude sickness are frequent nose bleeds and dizziness– and, of course, the ever-present… dramatic over-sentimentality. The very symptoms Marcus claimed to be “experiencing” during David’s heroic ride at the ’85 Coors Classic.

    So correct me if I’m wrong– but wasn’t the 1985 Coors Classic held at high-altitude… in Colorado… at 10,000 feet. Is this just another example of an older brother manipulating and emotionally, and yes—I’ll say it—physically abusing a weaker sibling for their own selfish gain or amusement.. and to win favor with parent? (Kinda like Bush claiming there were WMDs. In the end it was just to impress a distant Daddy– and to play “war” at the expense of the public—his pseudo-extended family.)

    Also of note—

    A victory by Marcus in 1980, would certainly better explain why a “smoking hot” Sarah bedded his scrawny-ass then… and later, that other scrawny-ass– C. Thomas-Howell. Wolverines!!!

    But, you see… Marcus Sommers lost. He lost to Luca “The Cannibal” Muzzin (who, BTW, looks remarkably like the actor Ted Danson… but more Gulliver’s Travels, circa 1999 than Cheers, circa 1983, surprisingly.) and is the ex-boyfriend of Sarah. Who looks like Sarah Conner in T2, fit and feisty—she just not African-American. Well Sarah, the non-T2 version, is half African-American—so, I guess, she’s more so than not. Right? EXACTLY! So, at the time– Sarah, was a girlfriend to Marcus, David’s brother. Who, did I mention, is dying?

    (For more on Marcus Sommers, also see “Prominent American Cyclists with Fu-Manchu Mustaches or Early 80’s Famous Human Kinetics Researchers in Central Wisconsin or Unexplainable Smokin’ Hot ex-Girlfriends or Dying Older Brothers of Cyclist Named David” Wikipedia entries)

    Prophetically, as all tragic semi-heroes must, Marcus lost the race— and quite anticlimactically… but with a tremendous amount of disgust and self-loathing. Thereby setting the table for a little something I like to call– a surrogate redemptive burrito, or a SRB in literally terms. Best served cold; with the help of a fit, free-spirit, sexy, yet strangely boyish, ingénue. A poor man’s Amanda Peet, if you will… just happened upon on the road… in this journey to lactic-acid hell and perfunctory family reconciliation.

    But, I digress—again.

    So, ‘85 happened because of ’80, when Marcus 86’d his will to win. Blame it on “that moment, right there” where he capitulated to a hungrier Muzzin, “The Cannibal,” (looking more like Ted Danson as the acerbic Becker, circa 2004.) on the last hill.

    Or, in 1985, was it the “illness” that undermined his ability to mount a Hans solo breakaway to victory. Maybe we are forced to lay blame squarely on the wind resistance from his so fine, Village People mustache. But it’s 19 friggin’ 85! Tubbs, Crocket—no mustache there, Holmes. You can call it Fu Manchu—I just call it fu, man!

    So, what is fact… what is fiction?

    This particular quandary, sports fans, will remain a modern mystery in cycling. Like whether Lance, Floyd, Ivan or Eddie used performance-enhancing drugs. History will decide– I can not.

  27. Huskie_Jon
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    I know some claim he actually tried to murder David. I think it was just a cheap shot. David should have known better than to try to upstage a veteran anyway, or he should not have let Muzzin catch up to him again.

    Still, I like Muzzin’s competitiveness. I liked the way he taunted the Russian. Apparently Russia is a force in bicycling and even Russian cyclists wear beards. I liked the way he strategized. He knew all the "oldest tricks in the book", whatever they were. He was willing to let a rookie ride in his draft to 2nd place. I also thought it was really cool how he walked up to David and said, "Next year!".

    From a pure sports perspective, I find Muzzin to be more inspirational than David.

  28. A_Minor_Blip
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    Muzzin attempts to knock David off a *beep* mountaintop and at the end of the race, after losing, Muzzin says "Next year" and David wanly smiles.

    Wouldnt David go to the officials and say: "THIS GUY TRIED TO THROW ME OFF A *beep* MOUNTAIN", not only cheating, but attempting murder.

    It was kind of dumb. They went through 3 scenes before the big race to show that Muzzin came around and became nice, then he attempts to kill the main character, and then he’s nice again.

    Me Confused.

  29. badjay512-1
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    How much of this movie is Jennifer Grey in and where ?

  30. yocomr
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    The scene in the beginning where the business guy gets splashed by the truck hitting the puddle, and then the biker gets splashed is truly a Mentos moment.

  31. Anonymous
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  32. gtgregthorley
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    Does anyone else think that Kevin Costner looks like Borat in this movie? Give him a dirty suit instead of the bike and it would be a match.

    VERY NICE!!!

  33. jasonpalmer1
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    I was just a kid when I first saw this movie and me and my brothers loved Randolph. He cracked us up.

    Anyone know who that kid was? He has never done anything else and his acting was kinda weak which makes me think he was someone on the crew’s son or something.

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