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Salute (2008 film)

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Salute (2008 film)

Directed by Matt Norman
Produced by Matt Norman
Written by Matt Norman
Starring Peter Norman
Tommie Smith
John Carlos
Music by David Hirschfelder
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 17 July 2008 (2008-07-17)
Country Australia
Language English

Salute is a 2008 Australian documentary film written, directed and produced by Matt Norman. It is about Norman's uncle, Australian track athlete Peter Norman, specifically the actions he took at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.


The film provides an insight into and incident at the 1968 Summer Olympics which saw two United States athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, give the black power salute from the victory dais after the 200 metres final. The film focuses on the third man on the dias, silver medal winner Peter Norman, who showed his support for Smith and Carlos by donning an "Olympic Project for Human Rights" (OPHR) badge on his way to the podium. It was also Norman who suggested to Smith and Carlos that they share the black gloves used in their salute, after Carlos had left his gloves in the Olympic Village. This is the reason for Smith raising his right fist, while Carlos raised his left. Asked later about his support of Smith and Carlos' cause by the world's press, Norman said he opposed his country's government's White Australia policy.

The film documents the subsequent reprimand of Norman by the Australian Olympic authorities, and his ostracism by the Australian media. Despite Norman running qualifying times for both the 100m and 200m during 1971/72, the Australian Olympic track team did not send him to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. It also documents Norman's reunion with Smith and Carlos, shortly before his death in 2006.

The film debuted at the Sydney Film Festival on 8 June 2008. It was released Australia-wide on 17 July 2008.


While there had been attempts by American filmmakers to put together a piece on the event, these earlier films had overlooked the actions of Peter Norman. As a result, Matt Norman realised that the full story of his famous uncle had never been told. He began filming Salute at the end of 2002. With no budget, no funding and no help, he went about making a film that he hoped would get picked up by a local film festival.

With the help of the Film Finance Corporation and his local funding body Film Victoria, Norman raised close to two million dollars for post production of the film.

In 2008, Andrew Mackie and Richard Payton of Transmission films were signed on as Australian distributors and later brought on board Paramount Pictures Australia to release the film nationally in cinemas throughout Australia.

Dramatised version

Matt Norman is now working on a dramatised version of the event, entitled 1968. He is currently speaking with film studios in Hollywood to find stars to portray Smith, Carlos and Norman. Matt Norman is currently writing the screenplay of the dramatised version.



  • 2009 – Atlanta Film Festival – Best Social Documentary
  • 2009 – Grand Jury Award: Best Documentary – Santa Cruz Film Festival.
  • 2009 – Nominated Best Documentary by the Australian critics circle awards
  • 2008 – Sydney Film Festival: Audience Choice Award for Best Australian Documentary
  • 2008 – Sydney Film Festival: Runner up "Best Documentary"
  • 2008 – Rhode Island Film Festival: Audience Choice Award – Best Documentary

Box office

Salute grossed $233,411 at the box office in Australia.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links

  • Salute at the Internet Movie Database
  • Official website
  • "In-flight film will urge Olympians to protest". Sydney Daily Telegraph. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  • Maddox, Garry (8 May 2008). The white guy' becomes a hero on film"'".  
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