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Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Sport  |  9 April 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 37,688 users  
Reviews: 210 user | 85 critic

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



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lord Andrew Lindsay
Henry Stallard
Master of Trinity (as Sir John Gielgud)
Master of Caius
Jennie Liddell
Patrick Magee ...
Lord Cadogan
Duke of Sutherland


The story, told in flashback, of two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics. Eric, a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God. Harold, the son of a newly rich Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society. In a warmup 100 meter race, Eric defeats Harold, who hires a pro trainer to prepare him. Eric, whose qualifying heat is scheduled for a Sunday, refuses to run despite pressure from the Olympic committee. A compromise is reached when a nobleman allows Eric to compete in his 400 meter slot. Eric and Harold win their respective races and go on to achieve fame as missionary and businessman/athletic advocate, respectively. Written by Joe Jurca

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


With Wings on their Heels and Hope in their Hearts See more »


Drama | History | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 April 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carros de fuego  »

Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)


$58,800,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First cinema film of Nicholas Farrell. See more »


Outside the church , there are cars with number plates that end in 75 ( the Paris region number plate in France ) , but these didn't come into effect until 1950 , 26 years after the Paris Olympics. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Parks and Recreation: Go Big or Go Home (2011) See more »


There Lived a King
(1889) (uncredited)
from "The Gondoliers"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
See more »

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User Reviews

This is one of the Oscar best pictures that actually deserved the honor.
18 February 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I happened to be flipping channels today and saw this was on. Since it had been several years since I last saw it I clicked it on, but didn't mean to stay. As it happened, I found this film to be just as gripping now as it was before. My own kids started watching it, too, and enjoyed it - which was even more satisfying for me considering the kind of current junk they're used to. No, this is not an action-packed thriller, nor are there juicy love scenes between Abrahams and his actress girlfriend. There is no "colorful" language to speak of; no politically correct agenda underlying its tale of a Cambridge Jew and Scottish Christian.

This is a story about what drives people internally - what pushes them to excel or at least to make the attempt to do so. It is a story about personal and societal values, loyalty, faith, desire to be accepted in society and healthy competition without the utter selfishness that characterizes so much of the athletic endeavors of our day. Certainly the characters are not alike in their motivation, but the end result is the same as far as their accomplishments.

My early adolescent son (whose favorite movies are all of the Star Wars movies and The Matrix) couldn't stop asking questions throughout the movie he was so hooked. It was a great educational opportunity as well as entertainment. If you've never seen this film or it's been a long time, I recommend it unabashedly, regardless of the labels many have tried to give it for being slow-paced or causing boredom. In addition to the great story

  • based on real people and events - the photography and the music are

fabulous and moving. It's no mistake that this movie has been spoofed and otherwise stolen from in the last twenty years - it's an unforgettable movie and in my opinion its bashers are those who hate Oscar winners on principle or who don't like the philosophies espoused by its protagonists.

116 of 136 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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