Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, Sport


Chariots of Fire (1981) Poster

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

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7.2/10
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  • Ben Cross and Nigel Havers in Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Alice Krige and Ben Cross in Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of Fire (1981)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


26 January 2003 | Julie-30
9
| Truly an outstanding film.
I beg to differ with several previous reviewers. This film is neither bland nor is it solely about professionalism vs. amateurism.

This film is about what drives people to do what they do. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) runs for the glory of God, whereas Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) runs to prove his worth to a society that was anti-Semitic. Even though they run for different reasons, their drive and determination spur them on. They stand up for what they believe in and refuse to sacrifice their principles because it is the easy way out.

The supporting cast is also extraordinary, with Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Holm and Sir John Gielgud all making important contributions to the final product.

There is absolutely nothing unnecessary in this film. The writing, the direction, the acting, the dialogue are all outstanding. And then there's that haunting score.

Once again, this is truly an outstanding film. One with universal themes that transcend time and place.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Charleson wrote Eric Liddell's inspiring speech to the post-race workingmen's crowd. Charleson, who had been studying the Bible in preparation for the role, told Director Hugh Hudson that he didn't feel the scripted sanctimonious and portentous speech was either authentic or inspiring. Charleson was uncomfortable with performing the words as scripted. It was decided that Charleson should write words that he was comfortable speaking, and thus came the most inspiring speech of the movie.


Quotes

Lord Andrew Lindsay: Let us praise famous men and our fathers that begat us. All these men were honoured in their generations and were a glory in their days. We are here today to give thanks for the life of Harold Abrahams. To honour the legend. Now there are just two ...


Goofs

In the 1920s, American flags had 48 stars, not 50.


Alternate Versions

There is at least one slightly different version of the movie, issued in Europe on homevideo. The beginning is different - shorter - and introduces Harold Abrahams while playing cricket with his colleagues. The scene in the train station, where Monty meets Harold is absent, as well as the loading of the baggage in the taxi they share. We simply see Monty writing a letter to his parents, mentioning that "Harold is as intense as ever" (cut to the cricket scene, maybe 30 seconds long), and then continues with "I remember our first day... we shared a taxi together" (cut to the two students unloading their stuff from the car). This alternate version also have slightly different end credits, and does not mention Harold marrying Sybil. The differences are minor (the U.S. version provides a more shocking memento of WWI, when it shows crippled baggage handlers in the station); one of the reasons the cricket scene was dropped in favour of the station one was due to the distributor's worry that the American market would not understand it.


Soundtracks

Three Little Maids from School Are We
(1885) (uncredited)
from "The Mikado"
Music by
Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama | Sport

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