Animalympics (1979) poster

Animalympics (1979)


USA. 1979.


Director – Steven Lisberger, Screenplay – Steven Lisberger & Michael Fremer, Story – Steven Lisberger, Roger Allers & John Norton, Producers – Steven Lisberger & Donald Kushner, Music – Graham Gouldman, Animation Supervisor – Bill Kroyer, Art Direction – Roger Allers, John Norton & Peter Mueller. Production Company – Lisberger Studios.


Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer, Michael Fremer


Animals come from all over the world to Pawprint Stadium on Animalympic Island to compete in the Animalympics.

This independently-made animated film was designed to commercialise on the 1980 Moscow Olympics – it was originally intended as two tv specials commissioned by NBC to accompany the Olympics but expanded out to a theatrical release. However, this proved to be a gamble that flopped spectacularly when the Olympics were boycotted by most nations over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The film never received a theatrical release in the US, although did play in other parts of the world.

Talking animals engaged in various sports in Animalympics (1979)
Talking animals engaged in various sports

With no plot to speak of, Animalympics is only a series of running skits and gags that lack any connection – the whole film could make do with a quarter of its running time with no measurable difference. It never seems to be much more than a feature-length collation of cartoon shorts. Action slows to a standstill during the insipid, instantly forgettable songs. Although the odd gag is amusing, like the biography of an alligator athlete – “He began life as a handbag – they said he’d never walk again.”

Director Steven Lisberger next branched out into live-action with the excellent cyberspace film Tron (1982) and then his career stalled with the flop post-holocaust film Slipstream (1989).

Clip from the film here

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