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The Program

THE PROGRAM tells the story of the biggest doping scandal to date very effectively if a tad removed. Ben Foster plays Lance Armstrong as he wins his first races, discovers doping, battles cancer, wins the Tour de France and is exposed as a fraud.


None of the protagonists comes off as very likable in Stephen Frear’s THE PROGRAM, based on David Walsh’s book “Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong.” The closest the film has to a relatable character is the persistent Irish sports journalist and cycling enthusiast David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd). He manages to interview the young up-and-comer Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) at the beginning of the film, and it is clear that his most dominant trait is his tireless ambition even then. Armstrong works on his career systematically. His work towards self-optimization leads him to drugs and to the legendary Italian sports physician Dr. Michele Ferrari, played by Guillaume Canet with a touch of “mad scientist” energy. Ferrari inspects Armstrong and tells him that he is not suited for mountain biking physically but introduces him to “the program” which, in reality, is like a cleverly devised chemical experiment. THE PROGRAM follows the different stages of the largest doping scandal in cycling history to date in a detailed and effective way. The first success is followed by a cancer diagnosis, its remission, and the seven Tour de France wins in a row. While Walsh is looking for evidence of his doping, Armstrong and his team are going strong. The fact that all athletes, even those who don’t use drugs, are part of the system is dizzying. Frears shows a well-oiled machine wherein doping is regarded as par for the course. It is only when Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons) is uncovered that the system begins to crumble.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: The Program
Frankreich/Großbritannien 2015, 103 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sportfilm
Director: Stephen Frears
Author: John Hodge
DOP: Danny Cohen
Montage: Valerio Bonelli
Music: Alex Heffes
Distributor: Studiocanal
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Lee Pace, Jesse Plemons
Release: 08.10.2015




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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