Eddie the Eagle is a 2016 biographical sports dramedy film directed by Dexter Fletcher. The film stars Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, a British skier who in 1988 became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken also star. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2016.
The film was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States on 26 February 2016 and by Lionsgate in the United Kingdom on 28 March 2016.
In 1973, ten-year-old Eddie Edwards dreams of Olympic glory, practising various Olympic events and failing miserably. His mother unconditionally supports him, while his father constantly discourages him. As a young teen, he gives up his dream of participating in the Summer Games in favour of skiing in the Winter Games. Although successful at the sport, he is rejected by British Olympic officials for being uncouth. Realizing he could make the team as a ski jumper (a sport in which the United Kingdom had not participated in six decades), he decamps to a training facility in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The more seasoned jumpers, specifically those on the Norwegian team, belittle him.
He self-trains, and after successfully completing the 15-metre (49 ft) hill on his first try, he injures himself on his first try from a 40-metre (130 ft) hill. Drunken snow groomer Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) encourages Eddie to give up, but Eddie’s tenacious spirit and shared feelings of ostracisation from the other jumpers there convince him to train Eddie. Peary is a former champion American ski jumper who left the sport in his 20s after a conflict with his mentor, famous ski jumper Warren Sharp (Christopher Walken), which Eddie learns from Petra (Iris Berben), the kindly owner of a nearby tavern. With very little time to qualify for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Eddie and Bronson employ various unorthodox methods to condition and refine Eddie’s form, and he successfully completes the 40m hill.
Due to the long-unedited rules of the British Olympic division regarding ski jumping, Eddie only needs to complete a 70-metre (230 ft) jump in order to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Not long after, he is able to successfully land a 38-metre (125 ft) jump, thus winning a place on the British Olympic Team. However, the officials, in an effort to keep Eddie from sullying the Winter Games with his amateurish skillset, decide to change the rules and demand that he jump at least 61 metres (200 ft). Though discouraged, Eddie decides to continue training and performs on a circuit, his jumps increasing in length each time, but unable to meet the Olympic requirements. During a practice jump at the final event before the cutoff date for qualification, he lands a 61m jump exactly, but on his official jump, he falls and is disqualified. Eddie is devastated and resolves to return home to work with his father as a plasterer, but he receives a letter claiming that his qualifying practice jump is valid, and he happily tells Bronson that he’s eligible to compete in the Winter Olympics. Bronson tries to dissuade him, promising that he will make a complete fool of himself and his country if he goes, but Eddie is undeterred, noting that competing in the Olympics was always enough for him.
Upon arriving in Calgary, he receives instant scorn from the other British athletes, who get him drunk and nearly provoke him into fighting after he is subsequently absent from the opening ceremonies. Despite finishing last in the 70m jump with 60.5 metres (198 ft), Eddie sets a British record. His triumphant celebrations win the audience over, and the media embrace him as Eddie “The Eagle”. Over the phone, Bronson criticises Edwards for not taking the sport seriously. Edwards publicly apologizes to the press for his antics, and wanting to ensure he does not leave the games as little more than a novelty, he enters the 90-metre (300 ft) jump, which he had never attempted before. Bronson decides to travel to the games and support him. After an encouraging conversation with his idol Matti “The Flying Finn” Nykänen on the lift to the top of the hill, Eddie barely manages to land a 73-metre (240 ft) jump. Once again, he scores last in the event, but is nonetheless cheered by the audience as well as millions around the world, which includes a playful salute in the closing speech of the President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Frank King. British Olympic officials grudgingly accept him.
Warren Sharp reconciles with Bronson, who was present, and Edwards returns home a national hero to the cheers of his fans at the airport, his mother rushes to him embracing him. And as Eddie looks to his father, he reveals a jumper declaring his support before then embracing Eddie as well.