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Chariots of Fire (1981)

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



(original screenplay)
4,537 ( 1,268)
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


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


Two men chasing dreams of glory! See more »


Biography | Drama | 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?


Brad Davis and Dennis Christopher appeared as a favor to producer David Puttnam, waiving their fees, in order to attract finance from backers who wanted "marquee names." See more »


(at around 30 mins) Just before Abrams and Montague register at the Porters' Lodge of "Caius College, Cambridge 1919" their taxi is seen driving along a street and stopping at "the" College entrance. The street is Trinity Lane at the back of Caius College and the entrance is not that of Caius College but of Trinity Hall. Even the Trinity Hall crescent can be seen above the entrance. 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 »


Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) See more »


La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
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.


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Would Chariots of Fire have won Best Picture without the theme song? Vega_Lyra
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