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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 37,711 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


This is the story of two men who run...not to run...but to prove something to the world. They will sacrifice anything to achieve their goals...Except their honor. 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?


Colin Welland was researching Twice in a Lifetime (1985) shortly before the Oscars ceremony. When he entered the bar in the Pennsylvania steel town where he was carrying out the research, the regulars would call, "Watch your wallets, the British are coming!" This partly inspired Colin Welland's remarks at the end of his Academy Award acceptance speech. See more »


Early in the film (at about 10 minutes in) the narration says "Thursday October the tenth, 1919...". That date was in fact a Friday that year. 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 »


Spoofed in Hysterical (1983) 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

Still a wonderful film!
2 March 2004 | by (United States) – See 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.

22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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