7.2/10
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Chariots of Fire (1981)

Trailer
1:30 | Trailer
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director:

Hugh Hudson

Writer:

Colin Welland (original screenplay)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Farrell ... Aubrey Montague
Nigel Havers ... Lord Andrew Lindsay
Ian Charleson ... Eric Liddell
Ben Cross ... Harold Abrahams
Daniel Gerroll ... Henry Stallard
Ian Holm ... Sam Mussabini
John Gielgud ... Master of Trinity (as Sir John Gielgud)
Lindsay Anderson ... Master of Caius
Nigel Davenport ... Lord Birkenhead
Cheryl Campbell ... Jennie Liddell
Alice Krige ... Sybil Gordon
Dennis Christopher ... Charles Paddock
Brad Davis ... Jackson Scholz
Patrick Magee ... Lord Cadogan
Peter Egan ... Duke of Sutherland
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Storyline

It's the post-WWI era. Britons Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell are both naturally gifted fast sprinters, but approach running and how it fits into their respective lives differently. The son of a Lithuanian-Jew, Harold, who lives a somewhat privileged life as a student at Cambridge, uses being the fastest to overcome what he sees as the obstacles he faces in life as a Jew despite that privilege. In his words to paraphrase an old adage, he is often invited to the trough, but isn't allowed to drink. His running prowess does earn him the respect of his classmates, especially his running teammates, and to some extent the school administration, if only he maintains what they consider proper gentlemanly decorum, which isn't always the case in their minds. Born in China the son of Christian missionaries, Eric, a Scot, is a devout member of the Church of Scotland who eventually wants to return to that missionary work. He sees running as a win-win in that the notoriety of being fast gives him... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two men chasing dreams of glory! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

15 May 1981 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Carros de fuego See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,907, 27 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$58,972,904
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the athletes are running off the beach (in reality West Sands at St. Andrews in Scotland) they run towards a large red building clearly marked as a hotel. This is, in fact, Hamilton hall of residence, a student accommodation hall belonging to the University. The white picket fence that they jump, borders the first and eighteenth holes of the old course, famed for many British Golf Opens. See more »

Goofs

Some historical details (some minor, some not) have been altered for the sake of the narrative. We're inclined towards leniency. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
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 of us - young Aubrey Montague and myself - who can close our eyes and remember those few young men with hope in our hearts and wings on our heels.
See more »

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. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Уилл и Грейс: Alley Cats (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music by John Stafford Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still a wonderful film!
2 March 2004 | by SylSee all my reviews

I loved the soundtrack to this film and I was glad to watch it on Oscar Sunday. It is worthy of its' Oscars and is based on a true story. The music can be haunting and beautiful at the same time. Vangelis is a musical genius. The cast is stellar with some new faces of actors and actresses like Alice Krige and even Ruby Wax if you look closely. The 1924 Olympics is the climax of the film. It's still a beautiful and wonderfully entertaining and educational film to be seen. I loved the cast including Sir Ian Holm, Sir John Gielgud, and the young aspiring Olympic athletes including Brad Davis, Ian Charleson, and Ben Cross. The story is beautifully told in writing and the direction is brilliant to convey the beauty of the story. This is a feel good classic film from 1981.


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