An inspiring race for equality in 1936



Jesse Owens, played by Stephan James, inspecting the field moments before proving to the world that race means nothing. Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Alma Garcia

World War II and the time period surrounding it is a very sensitive subject. Some people may not know this, but prior to WWII, Germany hosted the Olympics in 1936, four years prior to the start of WWII.

The movie “Race” which was directed by Stephen Hopkins depicts the story of Jesse Owens, an American track and field star who made history in the Olympic Games of 1936. By winning four gold medals, Jesse showed the Nazis that their master race theory was wrong.

You may be asking yourself, why would the Olympic committee, which decides which country gets to host the Olympics allow Nazi Germany to host such a renowned event. The Olympics are supposed to bring countries together, and represent equality as well as prosperity. Something the Nazis did not exactly agree with or demonstrate.

The Nazi influence and propaganda started to spread in 1933, the Germans weren’t necessarily hiding their beliefs either. The movie “Race” does a great job addressing the situation in Germany during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The movie is based on a true story; a story that is not commonly known, or wasn’t even acknowledged by the U.S. Government until much later in our country’s history. The movie was instantly captivating and brilliant.

Jesse broke multiple records throughout his career; he was considered one of the greatest to ever make it. The film did a great job depicting his life at the start and peak of his career, it allowed the viewer to feel like part of the story, and witness Jesse’s very first achievements as well as what could be considered his greatest – winning four gold medals in a single Olympic game.

The film gave the viewer an eye-opening experience on the race situation back in the 30s. Now, although slavery was abolished in 1865, segregation was still a huge part of America. The name “Race” may have two meanings to it, not only could it mean actually racing, but it may also represent Jesse’s skin color. The film did a great job depicting the struggles the African-American population faced during that time frame. A must-watch for history buffs and anyone who enjoys sports films.

The directors and writers did a great job with the accuracy of the movie, and the events that surrounded it. They also did a fantastic job with the picture quality of the film. They gave it a retro look, it almost looked like a film you would see back in the late 30s, but at the same time the picture quality was crisp, which made it seem like you were witnessing everything unfold in person. They even included a few video clips from the actual Olympic events in the movie; they did an absolutely great job merging those clips into the story.

“Race” will more than likely be nominated for an Oscar or two, that’s how great the overall film was. Though at times it felt like they played it safe with the race issue that was happening at the time, the overall meaning behind it all was fantastic. The film was a great tribute to the late Jesse Owens; they also did a wonderful job releasing the film during Black History month.