Touched by Gold is the story of the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers and how that team put together one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. The film features interviews from players like Jerry West, Pat Riley, Gail Goodrich and many other key figures. The archival video footage is fantastic and gets the viewer right in on the action.
Most of the first half of the film is about the history of the Lakers and how their plight in losing so many Finals series in the 60's and 70's helped lead to this championship season. Mychal Thompson is the narrator and he talks about how tough it was for the Lakers to deal with Bill Russell's Celtics without their own elite big man. The Lakers acquiring Wilt Chamberlain is discussed as is the disappointing (from a Lakers perspective) 1969 Finals, in which the underdog Celtics once again beat the Lakers in a game 7.
We get a section of the film devoted to Bill Sharman, the former Celtics player who was named head coach of the team before the '71-'72 season. After that the Elgin Baylor dilemma is discussed, along with the fact that the team's 33-game winning streak began the day he decided to retire. The second half of the film is devoted to the Lakers' magical streak and playoff run. There is footage of some of their practices and archival interviews with Wilt Chamberlain that I found particularly fascinating.
The film is somewhat similar to the annual championship films that the NBA puts out every year, although this one is blessed with 40 years of context and hindsight. The runtime is just over an hour and is a breeze to watch. Every Laker fan should see this and it will be excellent viewing for NBA history junkies. I recently posted my review of Jack McCallum's new book, Golden Days, that features this team and this film acts as a perfect companion piece for that book.