Chariots of Fire
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Chariots of Fire is one of the best films of recent years, a memory of a time when men still believed you could win a race if only you wanted to badly enough.
The filmmaking is immaculate and the emotional wallop undeniable.
A bold, intelligent, romantic film with all the lineaments of a classic, and a score by Vangelis as instantly hummable as the music for Jaws.
The New York Times
Unashamedly rousing, invigorating but very clear-eyed evocat ion of values of the oldfashioned sort that are today more easily satirized than celebrated...It's an exceptional film, about some exceptional people.
New York Daily News
Chariots of Fire reasserts the importance of the so-called old-fashioned virtues of moral courage and personal integrity and, as such, it is a movie that, with the help of Vangelis Papathanassiou’s wonderfully stirring music, lifts the spirits to a new high. The actors seem to have been born to play their roles.
The casting is pin point. Charleson and Cross, neither meaningful to film fans up to now, come over as plausible types rather than stereotypes. John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson contribute sharply as university officials dismayed by the upstart young Jew. Nigel Davenport is very good as the Olympic squad’s titular leader, and Patrick Magee is excellent in a brief turn as a blimpish peer of the realm.
There's barely a whiff of melodrama in Chariots of Fire, which makes the film-watching experience all the more effective -- director Hugh Hudson shows respect for the integrity of his material and the intelligence of his audience. The absence of mawkish moments provides the narrative with a genuine quality that supports its factual background.
The beautifully told but predictable story of two athletes who competed in the 100-meter dash for England in the 1924 Olympics...The film has received choruses of praise prior to its nationwide opening this week. Although it is extremely well made, I frankly don't understand what the shouting is about. Good, yes; great, no. [25 Dec 1981, p.56]
TV Guide Magazine
A pleasant, mildly inspirational movie but hardly worthy of all the accolades it received.
Despite its blatant mediocrity, this 1981 British film knocked 'em dead everywhere, which makes me suspect that audiences weren't responding to the film itself as much as to the attitudes that underlie it.
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