In Hollywood, movies are often based on characters who ice skate, either professionally as figure skaters or simply as a hobby. It’s easy to see why the theme of ice skating would make its way into so many films.
Figure skating can be an incredibly difficult and competitive sport that often attracts many people who seem to wear their heart on their sleeve. Audiences love to watch figure skaters give it their all out on the ice when the odds are stacked against them and where medals are not given away lightly.
Ice skating itself, as an activity, is associated with a type of carefree and whimsical way of letting loose. So it’s only natural that we’d find movies about ice skating with elements of comedy, romance, action, and drama in them. What follows are some of the best ice skating movies that have been made over the years.
A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story (1995)
Based on the incredible true story of 1994 Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Baiul, this movie follows the Ukrainian phenomenon from her childhood to adult life. Starring Monica Keena as a young Oksana, the film takes you into the figure skater’s private life and shows how, as an orphan, she grew through tragedies and political obstacles to become a worldwide sports icon.
Blades of Glory (2007)
In this hilarious take on pairs figure skating, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star as two disgraced former Olympic skaters who lose their gold medals after a brawl. After becoming banned from professional skating for life, the two must join forces and skate together once they discover a loophole that will allow them to compete as a duo. If you love comedy movies with ice skating hijinks in tow, this is one you definitely won’t want to miss.
Champions: A Love Story (1979)
If you’re looking for a romantic film that involves a figure skater and hockey player falling in love with each other, then look no further than Champions. Joy LeDuc stars as teenage figure skater Carrie Harlich, who meets a young and charming hockey player by the name of Peter Scoggin III, played by actor Jimmy McNichol. Peter has experience as a figure skater and agrees to help Carrie with her training. Although the two meet under the agreement to train together, passions arise and they soon realize that they both want more from the relationship.
Blades of Courage (1987)
This Canadian made-for-TV movie is about a young Ontario figure skater named Lori Laroche, portrayed by Christianne Hirt, who has big dreams about making it to the 1987 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. But she won’t make it there until she learns how to land a triple salchow jump. The movie shows how she juggles both personal problems in her life and training for the championship under a strict new coach’s command. This film is perfect if you’re looking for something that’s both inspiring and realistic.
Go Figure (2005)
As a Disney Channel Original Movie, Go Figure has everything a teen or young figure skating enthusiast could want in a movie. Starring a young Jordan Danger (who was then known as Jordan Hinson), this movie follows the everyday struggles of Katelin Kingsford, a young figure skater who has aspirations of becoming a US Olympic skater. Although she has big dreams, she deals with many of the common issues that many teens deal with, including homework deadlines and jealous classmates. A perfect selection for anybody who is in school or remembers what it was like to have a hundred things happening at once while pursuing your ice skating passions.
I, Tonya (2017)
In the world of competitive ice skating, no incident has been quite as infamous as the moment when professional figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by an assailant during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. That assailant was linked to her figure skating rival Tonya Harding, whose life is detailed in this honest and jarring look at the former Olympic champion. If you’re into dark comedies, this movie, which stars Margot Robbie as Harding, is right up your alley. It’s both a humorous and shocking twist on the events that led up to that infamous 1994 moment.
Ice Castles (1978)
An inspiring film about overcoming disabilities, Ice Castles focuses on a young, but gifted figure skater named Lexie Winston. She becomes discovered by a new coach who recognizes her natural talent at figure skating. After he convinces her to pursue her dreams by competing in the sectional championship, she suffers tragedy just before the competitions and becomes blind. While you might guess that this would make for a depressing movie, it’s instead an uplifting one in that it shows how she overcomes her blindness and continues to figure skate without letting it crush her dreams. As Lexi Winston, actress and retired figure skater Lynn-Holly Johnson really shines in this film, which was later remade in 2010 in a direct-to-DVD version.
Ice Princess (2005)
When it comes to teen movies about ice skating, few in recent years have been as memorable as Ice Princess. This is mainly because of its unique plot, which is a creative one, to say the least. In the film, Michelle Trachtenberg plays Casey Carlyle, a brainiac high school student who decides to forgo her dreams of going to Harvard so that she can pursue professional figure skating instead. She uses an algorithm created by a computer to improve her performance and help her teammates. Drama ensues when her coach Tina Harwood, played by Kim Cattrall, starts to secretly make problems for Casey. This film is all about those times in life when you’re at a juncture in the road and need to decide which path you’re going to take.
Ice: The Movie (2018)
Ice is a story about two girls who are paired together at a young age to train for Olympic figure skating excellence. Bailey Grantham and Peyton Shaw are brought together by Gavin Veera, a Russian coach who wants to train the girls and feels that the two girls will challenge and inspire each other. The movie follows the two young figure skaters throughout their childhoods, as well as their struggles and accomplishments along the way. Maddison Bullock, who plays adult Bailey in the film, is a former professional figure skater who also wrote and produced this movie. This one will hit close to home for anyone who was introduced to figure skating at an early age.
Kiss and Cry (2017)
If you’re looking for a serious drama about an ice skater that’s based on a real-life story, Kiss and Cry is worth your time. In this biopic, Carley Allison, a Toronto teen is diagnosed with clear-cell sarcoma, one of the world’s rarest cancers. After her diagnosis, the elite status figure skater continues to do what she loves in her quest to eventually make it to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She also finds new love during pressing times when she meets John Servinis, who is portrayed by actor Luke Bilyk. An interesting fact about this film is that Sarah Fisher, the actress who plays Allison, was her real-life best friend. This is an inspiring film but, as the title suggests, it’s also one you might not walk away from with dry eyes.
Snowcapped Christmas (2016)
After an injury, world-famous figure skater Claire Benson must go off the grid to stay in a rehabilitation center that’s perched high in the mountains. While there, she meets a retired professional hockey player named Luke who saves her life. The two become close friends and Luke shows Claire that there’s more to life than just having a career. You’ll enjoy this film if you like the idea of new beginnings and inner awakenings. Who said figure skaters can’t learn to love other things as well? Leah Renee plays the part of Benson, while Niall Matter plays the friendly, yet mysterious character of Luke.
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
It just wouldn’t be a complete list of ice skating movies without mentioning this musical classic. In the ice Follies of 1939, Joan Crawford and James Stewart play an ice skating couple named Larry and Mary. Larry is a much better skater than Mary and makes his living by putting on figure skating acts that he plans on eventually building into a much larger and grandiose show. Mary, being unskilled at skating, decides to leave her husband’s acts to pursue a career in Hollywood. She becomes an overnight celebrity, which puts Larry in a strange position that he’s not accustomed to.
With so many different types of ice skating movies to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re watching these films alone, with family, or even with friends, it’s recommended that you grab a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. Enjoy!