Without Limits


1h 57m 1998

Brief Synopsis

Story of American track and field star, Steve Prefontaine, who died at the age of 24 in an automobile accident, just prior to the 1976 Olympics.

Film Details

Also Known As
Pre
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Biography
Sports
Period
Release Date
1998
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Synopsis

Story of American track and field star, Steve Prefontaine, who died at the age of 24 in an automobile accident, just prior to the 1976 Olympics.

Crew

Leo Arnaud

Song

Marty Balin

Song

Shawn Barry

Costume Supervisor

Kevin Bartnof

Costume Supervisor

Benjamin Beardwood

Dialogue Editor

Steve Bence

Consultant

Lester Berman

Unit Production Manager

Patrick Bietz

Costume Supervisor

Edward Birnbaum

Song

Bruce Bisenz

Sound

Joanie Blum

Script Supervisor

Debbi Bossi

Post-Production Supervisor

Barbara Bowerman

Consultant

Bill Bowerman

Consultant

David Bowie

Song

David Bowie

Song Performer

Danny Bramson

Music Supervisor

Sharleen Bright

Scenic Artist

Peter Brown

Song

Jack Bruce

Song

Daniel Burns

Assistant Director

Sara Burton

Location Manager

Eric Clapton

Song

Chuck Cohen

Photography

Bridget M. Cook

Hair Stylist

Kyle Cooper

Titles

William Creber

Production Designer

David Crone

Steadicam Operator

David Crone

Camera Operator

David Crosby

Song Performer

David Crosby

Song

Tom Cruise

Producer

Jorgen De Mey

Trainer

Peter Donen

Visual Effects Supervisor

Patrice Donnelly

Technical Advisor

Joe Dorn

Adr Editor

William J Durrell

Art Director

Joe Earle

Dialogue Editor

Robert Friedman

Costume Supervisor

Dave Frohnmayer

Consultant

John Gillespie

Consultant

Allan Greedy

Script Supervisor

Scott Grusin

Song

Seth Grusin

Song

Avi Haas

Researcher

Conrad W. Hall

Director Of Photography

Conrad W. Hall

Camera Operator

Conrad Hall

Director Of Photography

Darrell Hanzalik

Adr Editor

George Harrison

Song

Eric Fox Hays

Assistant Director

Gary Hecker

Foley Artist

Scott Hecker

Sound Editor

Michael Herbick

Sound

Chris Howard

Visual Effects

Charles Ireland

Editor

Jim Jaqua

Consultant

Jefferson Airplane

Song Performer

Elton John

Song Performer

Elton John

Song

Carlton Kaller

Music Editor

Nikita Knatz

Visual Effects

Tom Knott

Special Effects

Alex Kramarchuk

Assistant Director

Robert K. Lambert

Editor

Gary Lewis

Dialogue Editor

Todd Lewis

Production Associate

Dennis Liddiard

Makeup Artist

Gary Liddiard

Makeup

Robert J Litt

Sound

Billy Lucas

Stunt Coordinator

Mary Marckx

Consultant

Lee Michaels

Song

Lee Michaels

Song Performer

Randy Miller

Music

Kenny Moore

Executive Producer

Kenny Moore

Screenplay

Jo Jo Myers Proud

Hair Stylist

Myron Nettinga

Sound Effects Editor

Bob O'brien

Editor

Ralph Osborn

Dialogue Editor

Richard Pagano

Casting

Eric Sean Persons

Location Manager

Kari Peyton

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Joni Powell

Makeup Artist

Grania Preston

Costume Designer

Lou Reed

Song

Lou Reed

Song Performer

Bob Riggs

Special Effects Coordinator

Benjamin Rosenberg

Assistant Director

Sharon Rosenberg

Costume Supervisor

Jonathan Sanger

Executive Producer

Kim Santantonio

Hair Stylist

Frank Shorter

Consultant

Claire Simpson

Editor

Janek Sirrs

Digital Effects Supervisor

Eithne Sotheran

Hair Stylist

Stanley Sperber

Music Conductor

Bruce Tanis

Sound Effects Editor

Bernie Taupin

Song

Robert Towne

Screenplay

Elliot Tyson

Sound

Faith Vecchio

Hair Stylist

Paula Wagner

Producer

Joe Walsh

Song

Joe Walsh

Song Performer

Anna Waterhouse

Consultant

Eric W. Weinschenk

Visual Effects

Barry White

Song

Barry White

Song Performer

Jeffrey Wilhoit

Foley Artist

John Williams

Song

John Williams

Music Conductor

Stevie Winwood

Song

Film Details

Also Known As
Pre
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Biography
Sports
Period
Release Date
1998
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Articles

Without Limits on DVD


Back in print on DVD courtesy of Warner Archive, Without Limits (1998) is an underrated and underseen sports movie from Robert Towne, who co-wrote and directed this gem. The second of two bio-pics of Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine to be released a little over a year apart, following Prefontaine (1997), Without Limits is by far the better of the two and a terrific movie altogether. Billy Crudup is flawless as the runner whose life ended tragically, and Donald Sutherland sneaks in one of the best performances of his career.

Prefontaine, known as Pre, was a legendary long-distance runner who at one point held the world records for every track distance between 2000 and 10,000 meters. An Oregonian, he attended the University of Oregon and trained under the equally legendary coach Bill Bowerman (Sutherland). Much of the conflict and thematic substance of the film has to do with the battle of minds between these two men, as they clash over Pre's running style. Pre likes to race out front from beginning to the end; Bowerman tries to convince him not to do so because it wastes energy that could be conserved by running part of the race in another runner's draft. The fact that Pre meanwhile achieves rock star status -- due to his victories and charm, brash confidence and outspokenness -- makes Bowerman's efforts all the tougher. Beneath it all, though, is a profound mutual respect that ultimately drives both men toward a richer understanding of life itself.

Without Limits is an unusual sports movie in that it does not end with the protagonist winning the big race. In fact, there is no final big race. After Pre lost at the 1972 Munich Olympics (which is depicted here in a bravura sequence that also includes the terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes), he withdrew into self-imposed obscurity for a time before Bowerman helped persuade him to resume training and take a shot at the 1976 Montreal games. But Pre's life would be cut tragically short by a car accident, an event which, for this movie at least, winds up giving his life meaning not for any tangible end result but for the way he traveled on his life's journey. As Bowerman tells his new runners every year, "If you can find meaning in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd pastime: life."

Indeed, while the running sequences in Without Limits are extraordinarily visualized, with terrific use of slow-motion, the greater takeaway for audiences here is simply the character of Pre himself and his off-track life, including his affecting romance with Mary Marckx (Monica Potter). Crudup disappears into the character of Pre, whose cockiness makes things as difficult as it does easy. When he tells Mary, "I can endure more pain than anyone you've ever met," he's explaining the secret of his success but also a source of his inner torment.

Without Limits is gorgeously shot by the great Conrad Hall, and its cinematography, art direction, props, costumes, decor, stock news footage and period music all combine to create an amazingly realistic and textured glimpse of the 1970s time frame. It also lends credibility to a subplot that is treated almost comically. Throughout the film, Bowerman tinkers with his ideas for new running-shoe designs, even creating soles on his waffle iron, much to his wife's consternation. This all really happened, and in later years Bowerman became a founder of Nike. (In one scene, he even tells Pre of his idea for the Nike name.)

Steve Prefontaine never won an Olympic medal, but his is still a very inspiring if bittersweet story. Neither Prefontaine nor Without Limits did well at the box office (each grossed less than $1 million), but Without Limits has stood the test of time with its thoughtful, realistic presentation, and Robert Towne along with producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner deserve credit for pushing it through and getting it made. It's a class act of a movie and well worth seeking out.

Warner Archive's made-on-demand DVD is an enhanced widescreen presentation and has fine picture and sound.

By Jeremy Arnold
Without Limits On Dvd

Without Limits on DVD

Back in print on DVD courtesy of Warner Archive, Without Limits (1998) is an underrated and underseen sports movie from Robert Towne, who co-wrote and directed this gem. The second of two bio-pics of Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine to be released a little over a year apart, following Prefontaine (1997), Without Limits is by far the better of the two and a terrific movie altogether. Billy Crudup is flawless as the runner whose life ended tragically, and Donald Sutherland sneaks in one of the best performances of his career. Prefontaine, known as Pre, was a legendary long-distance runner who at one point held the world records for every track distance between 2000 and 10,000 meters. An Oregonian, he attended the University of Oregon and trained under the equally legendary coach Bill Bowerman (Sutherland). Much of the conflict and thematic substance of the film has to do with the battle of minds between these two men, as they clash over Pre's running style. Pre likes to race out front from beginning to the end; Bowerman tries to convince him not to do so because it wastes energy that could be conserved by running part of the race in another runner's draft. The fact that Pre meanwhile achieves rock star status -- due to his victories and charm, brash confidence and outspokenness -- makes Bowerman's efforts all the tougher. Beneath it all, though, is a profound mutual respect that ultimately drives both men toward a richer understanding of life itself. Without Limits is an unusual sports movie in that it does not end with the protagonist winning the big race. In fact, there is no final big race. After Pre lost at the 1972 Munich Olympics (which is depicted here in a bravura sequence that also includes the terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes), he withdrew into self-imposed obscurity for a time before Bowerman helped persuade him to resume training and take a shot at the 1976 Montreal games. But Pre's life would be cut tragically short by a car accident, an event which, for this movie at least, winds up giving his life meaning not for any tangible end result but for the way he traveled on his life's journey. As Bowerman tells his new runners every year, "If you can find meaning in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd pastime: life." Indeed, while the running sequences in Without Limits are extraordinarily visualized, with terrific use of slow-motion, the greater takeaway for audiences here is simply the character of Pre himself and his off-track life, including his affecting romance with Mary Marckx (Monica Potter). Crudup disappears into the character of Pre, whose cockiness makes things as difficult as it does easy. When he tells Mary, "I can endure more pain than anyone you've ever met," he's explaining the secret of his success but also a source of his inner torment. Without Limits is gorgeously shot by the great Conrad Hall, and its cinematography, art direction, props, costumes, decor, stock news footage and period music all combine to create an amazingly realistic and textured glimpse of the 1970s time frame. It also lends credibility to a subplot that is treated almost comically. Throughout the film, Bowerman tinkers with his ideas for new running-shoe designs, even creating soles on his waffle iron, much to his wife's consternation. This all really happened, and in later years Bowerman became a founder of Nike. (In one scene, he even tells Pre of his idea for the Nike name.) Steve Prefontaine never won an Olympic medal, but his is still a very inspiring if bittersweet story. Neither Prefontaine nor Without Limits did well at the box office (each grossed less than $1 million), but Without Limits has stood the test of time with its thoughtful, realistic presentation, and Robert Towne along with producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner deserve credit for pushing it through and getting it made. It's a class act of a movie and well worth seeking out. Warner Archive's made-on-demand DVD is an enhanced widescreen presentation and has fine picture and sound. By Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of Film Excellence Award (Robert Towne) at the 1998 Boston Film Festival.

Winner of the 1998 Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Drama (Donald Sutherland) from the International Press Academy.

Limited Release in United States September 11, 1998

Released in United States Fall September 11, 1998

Expanded Release in United States September 25, 1998

Released in United States on Video February 16, 1999

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States March 1998

Released in United States September 1998

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 26 - October 12, 1998.

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Closing Night) March 5-15, 1998.

Shown at Aspen Filmfest in Aspen, Colorado September 23-27, 1998.

Shown at Boston Film Festival September 10-20, 1998.

Began shooting July 31, 1996.

Completed shooting October 9, 1996.

One of two recent Steve Prefontaine biopics - the other, Hollywood Pictures' "Prefontaine," was released January 24, 1997.

Limited Release in United States September 11, 1998

Released in United States Fall September 11, 1998

Expanded Release in United States September 25, 1998

Released in United States on Video February 16, 1999

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 26 - October 12, 1998.)

Released in United States September 1998 (Shown at Boston Film Festival September 10-20, 1998.)

Released in United States March 1998 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Closing Night) March 5-15, 1998.)

Released in United States September 1998 (Shown at Aspen Filmfest in Aspen, Colorado September 23-27, 1998.)