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4.3 out of 5 stars52
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 February 2014
This DVD is well made. It is detailed and full of excellent footage.
The production too is impressive. There are many clips with Armstrong
in front of the camera where his personality seems complex and unpleasant.

In essence, Lance is depicted as an aggressive, competitive, demanding and
a 'win at all costs' person. If he is to be believed it is at your own peril.
Many suggest that he lies often or is deluded into constructing complex webs
of nuanced opinions. Even at the end of the DVD Armstrong is satisfied that
in decades time, he will still be remembered for winning seven French tours.

Armstrong's plan to involve so many people worked. He intimidated many to
remain 'on message', to keep to the party line. Needless to say collaborators
were well rewarded. It required a man with a badge and a gun to crack the
nerve of cohorts. Armstrong, with less conscience and more to lose, has held
out on either proclaiming his innocence or guilty with extenuating circumstances.

His claim that his punishment is unfair is ludicrous. The arrogance and
opportunism is seemingly sociopathic and could anger even the most mild
mannered. He obviously has no idea as to the extent and ramifications of
his behaviour.

In fact, the documentary says repeatedly that it was his comeback that
started his demise. He was always under suspicion and attracted negative
publicity but for years was never proven guilty. He involved medical
specialists, team riders, the media and cycling officials in a scheme that
made many a lot of money. This made me wonder repeatedly about other
sports where doping and gambling are suggested to exist. Does this mean
that the professional era of sport, has spawned endless teams and
individuals that look for loopholes to exploit financially? The idea that
a fair contest is increasingly unlikely does not auger well for sports fans.

A minor problem that I had with the DVD is, now a year old, most of the
facts, anecdotes and stories are well known through the media. This is no
fault of the documentary maker of course. It is merely that as news it
doesn't age well. This means if you have followed the Lance saga with
interest, the viewer won't learn anything new. If this is your first attempt
at finding out what the fallen legend is all about, then this is a highly
credible place to start.

That said, as a summary of the story, it stands up well on its own and ends
with irony. Armstrong having alleged to having amassed a fortune of $125 mill,
was in 2013 being sued for 80% of it by the US government and Floyd Landis.
After which, if he loses, he could still come out of the doping scheme very
wealthy. Which makes one wonder if crime still pays. Irrespective, sports
managers have a huge challenge ahead as Armstrong took cheating to a new level.

It seems that participating in this DVD proved to be an indulgence for Armstrong.
Another vain attempt at self promotion and to avoid being made accountable for
his actions. He is not a lovable rogue, far from it. He has harmed people and
pretends not to know it.

Watch this DVD, if nothing else, Armstrong's psychology is riveting.
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Like many of you, I was a complete Lance Armstrong fan. I was receiving chemo and radiation therapy for breast cancer in 2004 at the height of Armstrong's fame. I proudly wore one of the first 'Live Armstrong' yellow bands, and one of the research projects I was involved in was funded by Live Armstrong. It wasn't until 2010 when the rumors of Armstrong's cheating and doping became too much to ignore that I finally admitted my hero was a cheat.

In this documentary, Alex Gibney follows Armstrong on his comeback to the Tour de France. Along the way we follow Armstrong as Gibney films everything he can. This started out as a positive spin and ended up as the truth spin. Two hours and three minutes of the blues, then the truth as Armstrong sees it. The people he hurt and lives he destroyed speak. We meet everyone from the Italian physician who fashioned the doping that was not traceable to the cyclists involved and the trainers and everyone but Armstrong's family. Three of his children are seen bicycling with him. I wonder how they deal with this mess. What do they think of their father. He spun the winnings so many times that he actually came to believe he won Le Tour honestly. Why everyone was doing it, doping. It wasn't the doping as much as the abuse of power. The constant lying, the constant cheating.

We follow Armstrong from his cancer diagnosis through the end of the tour in 2012, and finally his moment of truth with Oprah Winfrey. We believed his blues, but no more. I have no pity for Lance, he deserves whatever comes his way. It will be difficult for anyone go believe in heroes from here on, what a lasting legacy.

Recommended. prisrob 02-25-14
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on 3 January 2014
"The Armstrong Lie" (2013 release; 122 min.), originally intended to document the comeback of Lance Armstrong in 2009 after a 4 year absence from the sport, instead is now the chronicle of the astonishing fall from grace by Armstrong, leading to his lifetime ban and stripping of his 7 Tour de France victories. As the documentary opens, Lance is talking to director Alex Gibney just hours after Lance has confessed the Big Lie on the Oprah Winfrey show on January 14, 2013. The documentary then goes into depth as to how Armstrong was able to get away with the Big Lie for so many years, while also looking back at some of his major accomplishments, most notably his survival of almost fatal testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brains in 1996, and his subsequent return to professional biking and winning the Tour de France an unprecedented 7 consecutive times. The documentary also gives insights as to why (and how) Armstrong came back in 2009, and doing an extended one-on-one interview with Armstrong in June of '13 to confront him in depth with all the facts and allegations.

Several comments: first and foremost, more than one person interviewed made this comment: "the doping was bad, but the abuse of power was worse", and "it's not about the doping, it's about the power". Indeed, by now it is well documented that in the 1990s, all of professional biking was immersed by doping, EPO in particular, very similar in the way baseball was immersed by steroids at that time. "A generation of riders used EPO", comments someone. Most of them were caught, but not Armstrong. How? By massive intimidation (some say "bullying") and very advanced doping techniques, as it turns out. It wasn't until after his comeback in 2009 that many finally dared to speak out, most notably former teammates (and disgraced dopers themselves) Floyd Landis and Frankie Andreu. It is the latter and his wife Betsy who are most damaging to Armstrong. How? Just watch! Yet despite all that, we also see Armstrong doing good, with his never-ending battle against cancer through his Livestrong Foundation, raising hundreds of millions of dollars and giving hope to even more people. Which makes all of this even more of a Greek tragedy.

As an aside, the documentary contains great "behind the scenes" footage of the 2009 Tour de France comeback. Watch team manager Johan Bruyneel go ballistic when Alberto Contador goes attacking from a group containing his team mate Armstrong. Priceless. I don't know how well the documentary will play for audiences not particularly interested in professional biking. Having grown up in Belgium, I am a lifelong fan of the sport, and I found this documentary riveting and the 2 hours just flew by. This movie played briefly last month at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati and I couldn't wait to see it. The screening I saw this at was not particularly well attended (only a handful of people). Doesn't matter. This is a must-see documentary, even if you don't care for professional biking or the Tour de France, as it is a fantastic study of the fall from grace of someone who used to be an icon in today's society. "The Armstrong Lie" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on 26 July 2014
Very interesting look at a large section of Armstrongs career and the fall out from his eventual indictment on drugs charges.

The documentary about Armstrong was being made for years whilst he was a cyclist (and not charged with doping) and therefore uses this footage alongside interviews with his former team mates and other people around at the time.

Its also probably one of the only documentaries that actually features a lot of interviews with Lance himself and whilst he never really comes clean about the whole affair you do get a fair bit of information from him.

The other thing I found very interesting about this documentary was the in depth interviews they had with Dr Ferrari, the doctor widely credited with helping Armstrong and many other pro athletes to push their physical ability. After reading Tyler Hamilitons book I thought I was about to see a devil in doctors clothing - however what comes across is a medical nerd obsessed with pushing the boundaries of human performance...and unfortunately this includes doping. However it also looks into how Dr Ferrari looked at Lance as a physical specimen and looked at his attributes and how they calculated by increasing his cadence they could maximise performance...in this respect its a very interesting look at cycling performance and physiology.

All in all an interesting look back at a crooked era, when pretty much all the pro teams were doping and it was really about who had the best medics revving the engines!
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Whatever your opinion of Lance Armstrong, this is an outstanding piece of work and comes highly recommended. There are different opinions of course - a man who cheated his way to seven Tour de France victories (he may disagree but I think cheat is the right word) but also a man who beat cancer and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to help others do the same. All this is covered in this excellent doc.

Armstrongs famous interview with Oprah Winfrey when he finally came clean about his copious drug use is used as a framing device for the film, we flash back to various points in his career from this starting point. The main body of the picture is in depth coverage of Armstrongs comeback in 2009, the filmmaker Alex Gibney was granted (almost) full access to make a documentary about this period of time. As he says in his intro, the drug rumours and case blew up considerably shortly after this comeback and the film suddenly becomes something entirely different. Right place right time I guess.

The all access pass to the 2009 Tour de France is a real selling point and the finer points of the tour and the tactics of team cycling are all nicely explained. You won't need an in depth knowledge of the intricacies of cycling going into this. Likewise, there are also good explanations of the drugs we're dealing with - how they're used, what impact they have and how you may avoid detection. It's all covered.

There are numerous interviews with most of the interested parties - ex team mates, friends, journalists, coaches, scientists and of course the man himself. We see years worth of angry confrontational denials of drug use from Armstrong as well as a recent sit down interview with Gibney where he attempts to explain the rationale behind his deception. Again, you may accept his reasons, you may find it cringingly hilarious, infuriating or maybe just depressing.

Overall I'd class this as essential viewing to get an insight into the case and make up your own mind.
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on 21 June 2014
Lance Armstrong, possibly the biggest American cycling legend of all time, comes across as an arrogant, self obsessed, spiteful individual in this film about his Tour winning obsession. I, like many others, was taken in by his rhetoric and denial of doping, believing that he was physiologically superior to many in his first Tour victory, but with his second time winning, I had my doubts. Third, fourth; clean? yeah, right.
His treatment and bullying of those around him and his own self obsession could only lead to one end, even if he saw his actions as 'leveling the playing field'. His complacency over his 'Lie', evident in several one-to-one interviews shown, is staggering given the friends, family, fans and 'Livestrong' Cancer sufferers he mislead. Riveting to watch, this will leave you in no doubt that he will get all he deserves.
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on 16 August 2014
Lance Armstrong has moved from marmite to nuclear waste. And as with nuclear waste, we cannot just bury it and ignore it.

This makes for compelling viewing and it is difficult not to root for Lance in his 'clean' comeback.

Despite the record books being wiped clean of Lance Armstrong, cycling fans' memories are not so easy. I therefore recommend that you watch this. It is fascinating.
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on 2 February 2015
This is a really great documentary, even for someone like me who had no interest in cycling.
Only writing the review and giving 4 stars because there are no subtitles in parts of the film spoke in Italian! Although not a huge problem, it still means that part of the story is lost - in one instance very irritatingly as it seems to be an important piece of evidence.
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on 24 October 2015
Excellent documentary because it covers 2 very different times in Armstrong's life. 2009 his so called clean come back Tour and the aftermath of his exposure as a drug cheat and liar in 2013 that quite rightly brought his house of cards crashing down.
I have seen much of the 2009 material before though I couldn't say where but probably TV sometime ago. However in this documentary 2009 and 2013 are neatly and effectively interwoven so it that it all takes on a new relevance in the light of what we probably suspected but now know!
There are many unique and exclusive interviews with Armstrong both in 2009 but in particular 2013 when he might even be talking honestly though it is difficult to be certain!!
Rented it on my Kindle Fire Stick but wish I'd bought it!
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on 16 January 2016
Not only did this guy dope he had must of the tour de france in his back pocket many people knew he doped but did not dare say anything he ruined careers and destroyed peoples dreams.
he was very intimidating if you were in his cycle team you had too dope he forced you too dope or would kick you out of the team. he knew things that nobody else knew he had so much power in the tour de france that he was being tipped off and knew when he would be tested he knew how too beat the system. you need to watch this blu ray. i cant wait for the program too come out on blu ray its a movie played by a actor about Armstrong.
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