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Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Sport  |  9 April 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 37,111 users  
Reviews: 209 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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Chariots of Fire (1981) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 16 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?


Producer David Puttnam was looking for a story in the mold of A Man for All Seasons (1966), regarding someone who follows their conscience; he felt sports provided clear situations in this sense, and happened upon the story by accident while thumbing through an Olympic reference book in a rented house in Los Angeles. Screenwriter Colin Welland took out advertisements in London newspapers seeking memories of the 1924 Olympics. Many athletes were still living, and Aubrey Montague's son sent him copies of the letters his father had sent home - which gave Welland something to use as a narrative bridge in the film. See more »


In the first Cambridge scene, set in 1919, passengers are seen on the railway station's footbridge. In fact, pressure from 19th century Cambridge University leaders opposed to railways led to special conditions being imposed on the station before it was constructed, and one of these was that it must have no footbridges; although one was added later, it was demolished again in 1863 and since then the station has had level access to all platforms. In 2011 work began on a second platform which will be connected to the original platform by a pedestrian bridge. 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 »


Featured in Oscar's Greatest Moments (1992) See more »


He is an Englishman
(1878) (uncredited)
from "H.M.S. Pinafore"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
See more »

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User Reviews

A movie about the fire within
18 February 2001 | by (Bloomington, IN) – See all my reviews

Much more than just another sports movie, CoF analyzes the very different reasons two men have for devoting so much of their lives to training for the Olympics. This in an era when there were no commercial sponsors and no lucrative endorsement contracts. Though there is always fame and personal satisfaction, it seems to be implied that these things alone are insufficient to explain the special forces that drive these two men so much more than all the others.

This is a truly beautiful movie about a different era, about competition and what may serve as motivation to compete--and perhaps about what kinds of motivation are healthy and what kinds are not.


37 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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