Alexis “Lexie” Winston is a young girl from a small town in Iowa who dreams of becoming a champion figure skater. Her boyfriend, Nick Peterson, dreams of being a hockey player.
Coached by a family friend and former skater, Lexie enters a regional championship over her father’s protests. There she is discovered by an elite coach who sees her potential despite a lack of training and a relatively advanced age for figure skaters. Over her father’s objections, Lexie moves from her home in Waverly, Iowa to train at the legendary Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
She becomes unpopular with the other female skaters in training because of the attention lavished on her natural talent and the media attention her coach obtains for her in an effort to make her known to the skating world. Lexie proves and enhances her skating abilities and qualifies for the senior championship level. Lexie’s life changes drastically in the process. She becomes a star, alienates her boyfriend and begins dating an older man, Brian, who is a television broadcaster, following her training.
Lexie becomes uncomfortable with the changes in her life and in herself. Lexie leaves a party for skating sponsors and goes down to the outdoor rink nearby to skate. Her coach and the party goers notice her, and are watching through the windows as Lexie skates. She attempts a difficult triple jump, but lands off the ice onto a set of tables and chairs that are chained together near the edge of the rink. Lexie suffers a serious head injury, with a blood clot in her brain that robs her of her eyesight. She can see only light and blurry shapes. The doctor is uncertain if her injury is permanent.
Ice Castles is a 1978 American romantic drama film directed by Donald Wrye and starring Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robby Benson. A paperback novelization of the screenplay, by Leonore Fleischer, was released in conjunction with the film. It is the story of Alexis “Lexie” Winston, a young figure skater, and her rise and fall from super stardom. Tragedy strikes when, following a freak accident, Lexie loses her sight, leaving her to hide away in the privacy of her own despair. She eventually perseveres and begins competing in figure skating again.
The work was filmed on location in Colorado and Minnesota. Its theme song “Through the Eyes of Love” was made famous by Melissa Manchester and was nominated for the 52nd Academy Awards (April 1980).
Ice Castles (1978)
Directed by: Donald Wrye
Starring: Lynn-Holly Johnson, Robby Benson, Colleen Dewhurst, Tom Skerritt, Jennifer Warren, David Huffman, Diane Reilly
Screenplay by: Donald Wrye, Gary L. Baim
Production Design by: Joel Schiller
Cinematography by: Bill Butler
Film Editing by: Michael Kahn, Melvin Shapiro, Maury Winetrobe
Costume Design by: Richard Bruno
Set Decoration by: Joanne MacDougall
Music by: Marvin Hamlisch
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 31, 1978