7.2/10
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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.

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(original screenplay)
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4,555 ( 280)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Aubrey Montague
... Lord Andrew Lindsay
... Eric Liddell
... Harold Abrahams
... Henry Stallard
... Sam Mussabini
... Master of Trinity (as Sir John Gielgud)
... Master of Caius
... Lord Birkenhead
... Jennie Liddell
... Sybil Gordon
... Charles Paddock
... Jackson Scholz
... Lord Cadogan
... Duke of Sutherland
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 April 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carros de fuego  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,907, 27 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$58,972,904
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kenneth Branagh was a "gofer" for the shoot, and is also in one scene as an extra. He is a Cambridge student in the "Society Day" crowds, wearing a grey knit vest with dark trim, a white shirt, and a dark tie. He's on screen for 20 seconds, starting at about 11:00. See more »

Goofs

In the 1924 the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was not yet using the set and costume designs seen in this film. These designs were executed by Charles Ricketts for the 1926 production of "The Mikado" at the Savoy Theatre. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Friday the 13th Part 2 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Lambert
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User Reviews

 
It IS A Big Deal, In More Ways Than One
2 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

I had never seen this movie until the fall of 1997 and after watching 40 minutes wondered, "What's the big deal?"

Well, the second half of the film and then subsequent viewings have done more than just answer my question.

It's one of the RARE movies in the past 30 years which portrays a Christian in a positive light. Ian Charleson does a convincing job of portraying a 100 percent sincerely good man who walks the talk.

In here is also a good portrayal of a Jewish man, a student at Cambridge, acted well by Ben Cross. This man is too defensive about being Jewish and carries a chip on his shoulder until the end where he comes out a hero and a fine man as well, the bitterness gone.

The story of those two men and their quest for a gold medal at the 1924 Olympics in France makes for an inspiring film. It's also aided by very nice photography and a wonderful score by Vangelis. A recently-issued widescreen DVD finally shows off the award-winning cinematography. The feel- good ending doesn't hurt, either, especially since these main characters were real-life people.

Her extraordinary beauty made Alice Krige an interesting person to watch in the film, and I wonder why she never made it as a "big-name" actress. Perhaps that was her decision.

In summary, a very classy film, that still lives up to its reputation.


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