The film follows the life of famous 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine from his youth days in Oregon to the University of Oregon where he worked with the legendary coach Bill Bowerman, later to Olympics in Munich and his early death at 24 in a car crash.
One of two filmed biographies of late track star Steve Prefontaine to be produced in the late '90s, Without Limits comes from director Robert Towne, who previously took a stab at the track-star drama with his directorial debut, 1982's Personal Best. Billy Crudup stars as the ill-fated athlete who overcame physical obstacles to win an NCAA championship and compete in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The film follows Prefontaine from his youth in Oregon where, despite one leg being longer than the other, he shows himself to be a talented runner. Later, while attending the University of Oregon, Prefontaine meets and forms a strong bond with his coach, Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland), the man who would later go on to found the Nike shoe corporation. College is also where Prefontaine falls for classmate Mary Marckx (Monica Potter), beginning a romance that lasts until his untimely death in a 1974 automobile accident.
Miscellaneous The Olympic Fanfare is heard during television coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics. However, John Williams didn't compose that piece until the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Audio/Video Mismatch When Bowerman goes to talk to Pre at The Paddock, you hear Donald Sutherland say, "I haven't noticed you working out all that much," but his mouth doesn't move.
Continuity When the athletes toe the line just prior to the start of the 5000 meter Olympic final you see several of the runners wearing modern running shoes, not the time period track spikes they are later shown to be wearing.
Factual Mistake Before the NCAA championship the movie shows Pre injuring his foot in a hotel room with "Iowa's Finest" (Amy Jo Johnson). Pre actually hurt his foot jumping into the hotel's pool from the lifeguard post.
Factual Mistake Finnish runner Juha Väätäinen's name is in then end credits spelled as "Juha Vastinen".
Factual Mistake In the restoration meet, Pre was shown before the race as scared and unsure of himself against tough competition. In actuality, for this race, Pre was upset at the lack of competition in this race.
Robert Towne wanted Tommy Lee Jones to play Bill Bowerman, but he turned it down.
Tom Cruise considered playing Prefontaine, but decided against it citing that he was too old for the part.
Harrison Ford was considered for the role of Bill Bowerman.
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