Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
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
The film does not mention that Harold Abrahams had competed in the 1920 Olympics, but was not very successful. He finished fourth in the 4x100 relay, twentieth in the long jump, and was eliminated in the quarter-finals of both the one-hundred-meter and two-hundred-meter races. See more »
Eric momentarily loses the crumpled paper from his hand during the 400m race at the Olympics. See more »
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.
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I beg to differ with several previous reviewers. This film is neither bland nor is it solely about professionalism vs. amateurism.
This film is about what drives people to do what they do. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) runs for the glory of God, whereas Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) runs to prove his worth to a society that was anti-Semitic. Even though they run for different reasons, their drive and determination spur them on. They stand up for what they believe in and refuse to sacrifice their principles because it is the easy way out.
The supporting cast is also extraordinary, with Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Holm and Sir John Gielgud all making important contributions to the final product.
There is absolutely nothing unnecessary in this film. The writing, the direction, the acting, the dialogue are all outstanding. And then there's that haunting score.
Once again, this is truly an outstanding film. One with universal themes that transcend time and place.
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