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Chariots of Fire (1981) Poster

Quotes

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Eric Liddell: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

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Eric Liddell: You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.

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Reverend. J.D. Liddell: You can praise God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don't compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil. Run in God's name and let the world stand back and in wonder.

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Eric Liddell: God made countries, God makes kings, and the rules by which they govern. And those rules say that the Sabbath is His. And I for one intend to keep it that way.

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[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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Harold M. Abrahams: You, Aubrey, are my most complete man.

Harold M. Abrahams: You're brave, compassionate, kind: a content man. That is your secret, contentment; I am 24 and I've never known it.

Harold M. Abrahams: I'm forever in pursuit and I don't even know what I am chasing.

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Lord Cadogan: That's a matter for the committee!

Lord Birkenhead: We *are* the committee.

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Duke of Sutherland: A sticky moment, George.

Lord Birkenhead: Thank God for Lindsay. I thought the lad had us beaten.

Duke of Sutherland: He did have us beaten, and thank God he did.

Lord Birkenhead: I don't quite follow you.

Duke of Sutherland: The "lad", as you call him, is a true man of principles and a true athlete. His speed is a mere extension of his life, its force. We sought to sever his running from himself.

Lord Birkenhead: For his country's sake, yes.

Duke of Sutherland: No sake is worth that, least of all a guilty national pride.

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Harold M. Abrahams: If I can't win, I won't run!

Sybil Gordon: If you don't run, you can't win.

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Harold M. Abrahams: And now in one hour's time I will be out there again.

Harold M. Abrahams: I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. But WILL I?

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Lord Birkenhead: Liddell, he is your future king, are you refusing to shake his hand? Does your arrogance extend that far?

Eric Liddell: My arrogance, sir, extends just as far as my conscience demands.

Lord Birkenhead: Fine, then let's hope that is wise enough to give you room to maneuver.

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Lord Cadogan: Hear, hear. In my day it was King first and God after.

Duke of Sutherland: Yes, and the War To End Wars bitterly proved your point!

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HRH Edward, Prince of Wales: There are times when we are asked to make sacrifices in the name of that loyalty. And without them our allegiance is worthless. As I see it, for you, this is such a time.

Eric Liddell: Sir, God knows I love my country. But I can't make that sacrifice.

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Sam Mussabini: Eric Liddell? He's no real problem...

Harold M. Abrahams: [Eric has already beaten Harold once] You could have fooled me.

Sam Mussabini: Yeah, he's fast! But he won't go any faster. He's a gut runner, digs deep! But a short sprint is run on nerves. It's tailor-made for neurotics.

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Lord Cadogan: Don't be impertinent, Liddell!

Eric Liddell: The impertinence lies, sir, with those who seek to influence a man to deny his beliefs!

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Master of Trinity: ...name after name which I cannot read. And which we, who are older than you, cannot hear without emotion. Names which will be only names to you, the new college, but to us summon up face after face full of honesty and goodness, zeal and vigor.

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Harold M. Abrahams: Aubrey, I've known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.

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Sam Mussabini: Do you want to know why you lost today?

[Harold nods]

Sam Mussabini: You're over striding.

[Sets coins in a row]

Sam Mussabini: Now these coins represent the steps in your sprint.

[Pushes coins together]

Sam Mussabini: Can you find me another two coins, Mr. Abraham?

[Harold looks up]

Sam Mussabini: Remember, over striding. Death for the sprinter

[shakes his head]

Sam Mussabini: . Knocks you back.

[Slaps Harold across the cheek. Harold winces]

Sam Mussabini: Like that!

[Slaps Harold again]

Sam Mussabini: And that!

[Sam laughs and grabs Harold by the arm]

Sam Mussabini: .

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Harold M. Abrahams: That was the miscalculation of my life.

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Henry Stallard: [the athletes are playing cricket in the ballroom of their hotel. Henry Stallard is the umpire; Aubrey Montague bowls a delivery to Eric Liddell, batting] No ball!

Harold M. Abrahams: [desperate to get into bat] Come on, Aubrey, the old leg-break!

Harold M. Abrahams: [Aubrey bowls another delivery, which deceivingly appears to have gotten Eric out] HowZAT!

Henry Stallard: Not out!

Harold M. Abrahams: What do you mean, not out? You could've heard it from bloody Bournemouth! Come on, Liddell, my innings.

Eric Liddell: I didn't touch it, I swear it, must've been the crack of my wrist!

Harold M. Abrahams: He's out I tell you, you're all deaf - deaf and bloody blind! Aubrey I ask you, for God's sake!

Harold M. Abrahams: [No response from Aubrey, dramatic pause]

[punching the air]

Harold M. Abrahams: It's not FAIR!

[the athletes break into laughter, Abrahams eventually joining them]

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Sybil Gordon: Do you love running?

Harold M. Abrahams: I'm more of an addict. It's a compulsion, a weapon.

Sybil Gordon: Against what?

Harold M. Abrahams: Being Jewish I suppose.

Sybil Gordon: [laughs incredulously] You're not serious!

Harold M. Abrahams: You're not Jewish, or you wouldn't have had to ask.

Sybil Gordon: Fiddlesticks. People don't care.

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Reverend. J.D. Liddell: Sandy, the Kingdom of God is not a democracy. The Lord never seeks re-election. There are no referenda on which road to take. There's one right, one wrong, one absolute ruler.

Sandy McGrath: A dictator you mean?

Reverend. J.D. Liddell: Aye, but a benign loving dictator.

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Lord Andrew Lindsay: Protocol, Monty, Protocol, he is here to show us what may be done and more essentially what may not be.

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Lord Birkenhead: Ah, Liddell! I was afraid you weren't here.

Eric Liddell: I'm afraid I am, sir.

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Harold M. Abrahams: [making a toast] To Sam Mussabini, the greatest trainer in the world.

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Harold M. Abrahams: Aubrey, I've known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.

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Sybil Gordon: The great Harold Abrahams. My brother will be insanely jealous.

Harold Abrahams: So will mine.

Sybil Gordon: You don't look very ruthless.

Harold Abrahams: Should I?

Sybil Gordon: According to my brother. Tim says that's why you always win. - Why running?

Harold Abrahams: Why singing?

Sybil Gordon: My job. No, that's silly. I do it because I love it.

Sybil Gordon: Do you love running?

Harold Abrahams: I'm more of an addict. It's a compulsion, a weapon.

Sybil Gordon: Against what?

Harold Abrahams: Being Jewish, I suppose.

Sybil Gordon: [LAUGHS] You're not serious?

Harold Abrahams: You're not Jewish, or you wouldn't ask.

Sybil Gordon: Fiddlesticks. People don't care. Anyway, being Jewish hasn't done you any harm.

Harold Abrahams: I'm what I call semi-deprived.

Sybil Gordon: That sounds clever... What does it mean?

Harold Abrahams: It means they lead me to water but they won't let me drink.

Sybil Gordon: You're a funny old stick, Mr. Harold Abrahams. Funny...... but fascinating.

Harold Abrahams: I'll settle for the fascinating.

Sybil Gordon: Life isn't that gloomy, is it?

Harold Abrahams: [SOFTLY] Not tonight... You're so beautiful.

Sybil Gordon: Like you.

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Jennie Liddell: I don't want his work spoiled with all this running talk, do you hear?

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Sandy McGrath: What we need now is a muscular Christian to make folks sit up and notice.

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Harold M. Abrahams: Perfect. You can be Queen of the Fairies!

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Eric Liddell: When we were in China, my father here was always waxing lyrical about his wee home in the glen. But being Oriental-born myself, like my brothers and my sister here, I suffered from a natural incredulity. But looking about me now, the heather and the hills, I can see he was right. It's very special.

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Master of Trinity: This Abrahams. What do you know about him?

Master of Caius: Repton chap. Jewish. His father's a financier in the city.

Master of Trinity: Financier. What's that supposed to mean, I wonder?

Master of Caius: I imagine he lends money.

Master of Trinity: Exactly. And what do they say about the son?

Master of Caius: Academically sound. Arrogant. Defensive to the point of pugnacity.

Master of Trinity: As they invariably are.

Master of Caius: Yet possessing a keen sense of duty and loyalty.

Master of Trinity: Do they say he can run?

Master of Caius: Like the wind.

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Sam Mussabini: So you've traveled 300 miles just to see me?

Harold M. Abrahams: You and Liddell. I'd heard you were both the best.

Sam Mussabini: And what do you think now?

Harold M. Abrahams: Eric Liddell? I've never seen such drive, such commitment in a runner. He runs like a wild animal. He unnerves me.

Sam Mussabini: So he should. Frightens the living daylights out of me.

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Aubrey Montague: You're quite an advocate.

Harold M. Abrahams: Hey. A rare ethnic advantage. It's called the gift of the gab.

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Harold M. Abrahams: It's an ache, a helplessness, an anger. One feels humiliated. Sometimes I say to myself, "Hey, steady on, you're imagining all this." And then I catch that look again. Catch it on the edge of a remark, feel a cold reluctance in a handshake.

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Master of Caius: It's said that you use a personal coach.

Harold M. Abrahams: Mr. Mussabini, yes.

Master of Trinity: Is he an Italian?

Harold M. Abrahams: Of Italian extraction, yes.

Master of Trinity: I see.

Harold M. Abrahams: But not all Italian.

Master of Trinity: I'm relieved to hear it.

Harold M. Abrahams: He's half Arab.

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Master of Trinity: My dear boy, your approach has been, if I may say so, a little too plebeian. You are the elite - and are therefore expected to behave as such.

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Master of Trinity: Here in Cambridge, we've always been proud of our athletic prowess. We believe, we've always believed that our games are indispensable in helping to complete the education of an Englishman. They create character they foster courage, honesty and leadership. But most of all an unassailable spirit of loyalty, comradeship, and mutual responsibility. Would you agree?

Harold M. Abrahams: Yes, sir. I would.

Master of Trinity: Abrahams, there is a growing suspicion in the bosom of this university and I tell you this without in any way decrying your achievements in which we all rejoice, that in your enthusiasm for success you have perhaps lost sight of some of these ideals.

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Sybil Gordon: If you can't take a beating, it's for the best.

Harold M. Abrahams: I don't run to take beatings. I run to win.

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Master of Trinity: For the past year, you've concentrated wholly on developing your own technique in the headlong pursuit, may I suggest, of individual glory. Not a policy very conducive to the fostering of esprit de corps.

Harold M. Abrahams: I am a Cambridge man, first and last. I am an Englishman, first and last. What I have achieved, what I intend to achieve, is for my family, my university, and my country. And I bitterly resent your suggesting otherwise.

Master of Caius: Your aim is to win at all costs, is it not?

Harold M. Abrahams: At all costs, no. But I do aim to win within the rules.

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Harold M. Abrahams: Gentlemen, you yearn for victory just as I do. But achieved with the apparent effortlessness of gods. Yours are the archaic values of the prep-school playground. You deceive no one but yourselves. I believe in the pursuit of excellence - and I'll carry the future with me.

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Lord Birkenhead: You Americans have a number of men who are rated as world-beaters; but, this contest is in Europe, not in the rarefied climes of the United States.

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Eric Liddell: [reading from Isaiah, Chapter 40] "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up - with wings as eagles. They shall run - and not be weary."

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Aubrey Montague: We're here for Britain and we know it. I'm here for you, Ma. You and Pa. I hope I do you proud.

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Sandy McGrath: The heats for the 100 are on Sunday after the opening ceremony. The semis and final, a couple days after. It's only a heat. Does it make all that difference?

Eric Liddell: Yeah. Yeah, it does.

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Lord Birkenhead: My boy, as things stand, you must not run. But I want you to hold your fire for a while, Liddell. Leave everything to me. Say nothing. Wait until we get to Paris. I'll have a word with the French. I'm not without a certain pull. And we fought in the war together. They do owe us something.

Eric Liddell: I don't understand.

Lord Birkenhead: They're not a very principled lot, the Frogs. But when faced with a stand like yours, one never knows. I might get through. I just might possibly persuade them.

Eric Liddell: The French, sir? What could they do?

Lord Birkenhead: Shift that bloody heat of yours, of course.

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Lord Birkenhead: May I remind you, you are the favored few. You constitute what is without doubt the most powerful athletic force ever to leave these shores. You are to face the world's best. Brown and yellow, white and black, young and ardent as yourselves, fleet of foot and strong of limb, from every civilized nation on the face of the Earth. I have no doubt, that you will acquit yourselves honorably and with distinction. Good luck to you all.

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Lord Andrew Lindsay: Now, one of these days, Monty, you're going to win yourself. And it's pretty difficult to swallow.

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Choir: [singing] Bring me my bow of burning gold, Bring me my arrows of desire, Bring me my spear, O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire...

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Master of Trinity: Life slips by, Abrahams, life slips by!

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