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Picturehouse Cinemas / Sky Atlantic

Executive Producer

John Battsek | James Quinn | Celia Taylor.


Daniel Gordon


Karen Emsley


Matt Wyllie


Grierson 2017

Nominated - Best International single Documentary - International

Broadcasting Press Guild

Nominated - Best Single Documentary

"An intriguing look at the ugly, inglorious side to the Olympics. ★★★★"

The Guardian

"Beautifully shot and brilliantly edited"

The Guardian

"Brilliantly executed film"

The Guardian

"Mesmeric film detailing the collision course between Mary Decker and Zola Budd."

The Guardian

This cinematic feature documentary tells the remarkable untold story of a South African barefoot runner, Zola Budd, an American track and field prodigy, Mary Decker – and the truth behind one of the most memorable sporting moments in Olympic history. Interweaving interview and archive, the film uncovers a shocking tale of betrayal and exploitation, and the blurred lines between politics, media and sport that’s never been revealed before. It’s a story that split governments and divided nations, but at its heart it’s about two young women who just want to run.

Over four years in the making, ‘The Fall’ charts the journey from apartheid in South Africa and the rolling hills of Southern California, to the starting blocks of the women’s 3000 metres at the 1984 L.A. Olympics. Interweaving testimonial interview with fresh archive, it exposes the calculated ‘back room’ tactics used by British newspaper, ‘The Daily Mail’ and British Government ministers to groom a naive seventeen-year-old to run for Britain and go ‘head-to-head’ with one of the greatest American female runners of all time. 

With the world captivated by the stories of the two runners and the media revelling in the hype of an Olympic ‘duel’, the world watched as both women approached the starting blocks. But no one could have ever predicted just how dramatic the concluding headline would be.