Chariots of Fire

October 9th, 1981


Chariots of Fire

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Still of Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of FireStill of Alice Krige and Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of FireStill of John Gielgud, Lindsay Anderson and Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross and Nigel Havers in Chariots of Fire

The story of two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Release Year: 1981

Rating: 7.2/10 (20,260 voted)

Director: Hugh Hudson

Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell

The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. One is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice.

Nicholas Farrell - Aubrey Montague
Nigel Havers - Lord Andrew Lindsay
Ian Charleson - Eric Liddell
Ben Cross - Harold Abrahams
Daniel Gerroll - Henry Stallard
Ian Holm - Sam Mussabini
John Gielgud - Master of Trinity (as Sir John Gielgud)
Lindsay Anderson - Master of Caius
Nigel Davenport - Lord Birkenhead
Cheryl Campbell - Jennie Liddell
Alice Krige - Sybil Gordon
Dennis Christopher - Charles Paddock
Brad Davis - Jackson Scholz
Patrick Magee - Lord Cadogan
Peter Egan - Duke of Sutherland

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.

Release Date: 9 October 1981

Filming Locations: Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $68,907 (USA) (27 September 1981) (3 Screens)

Gross: $58,972,904 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

On the sign outside the Paris church where Eric Liddell delivers his sermon, screenplay author Colin Welland's name is listed above as giving the preceding service.

Anachronisms: Before the 400 m race, the crowd can be heard chanting "U-S-A!" This chant did not appear until the late 1970s, and was not popularized until the 1980 Summer Olympics.

[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.

User Review

This is one of the Oscar best pictures that actually deserved the honor.

Rating: 10/10

I happened to be flipping channels today and saw this was on. Since it had been several years since I last saw it I clicked it on, but didn't mean to stay. As it happened, I found this film to be just as gripping now as it was before. My own kids started watching it, too, and enjoyed it - which was even more satisfying for me considering the kind of current junk they're used to. No, this is not an action-packed thriller, nor are there juicy love scenes between Abrahams and his actress girlfriend. There is no "colorful" language to speak of; no politically correct agenda underlying its tale of a Cambridge Jew and Scottish Christian.

This is a story about what drives people internally - what pushes them to excel or at least to make the attempt to do so. It is a story about personal and societal values, loyalty, faith, desire to be accepted in society and healthy competition without the utter selfishness that characterizes so much of the athletic endeavors of our day. Certainly the characters are not alike in their motivation, but the end result is the same as far as their accomplishments.

My early adolescent son (whose favorite movies are all of the Star Wars movies and The Matrix) couldn't stop asking questions throughout the movie he was so hooked. It was a great educational opportunity as well as entertainment. If you've never seen this film or it's been a long time, I recommend it unabashedly, regardless of the labels many have tried to give it for being slow-paced or causing boredom. In addition to the great story - based on real people and events - the photography and the music are fabulous and moving. It's no mistake that this movie has been spoofed and otherwise stolen from in the last twenty years - it's an unforgettable movie and in my opinion its bashers are those who hate Oscar winners on principle or who don't like the philosophies espoused by its protagonists.


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