Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire

4.3 25
Director: Hugh Hudson

Cast: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers

     
 

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Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire is the internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning drama of two very different men who compete as runners in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a serious Christian Scotsman, believes that he has to succeed as a testament to his undying religious faith. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), is a Jewish EnglishmanSee more details below

Overview

Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire is the internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning drama of two very different men who compete as runners in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a serious Christian Scotsman, believes that he has to succeed as a testament to his undying religious faith. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), is a Jewish Englishman who wants desperately to be accepted and prove to the world that Jews are not inferior. The film crosscuts between each man's life as he trains for the competition, fueled by these very different desires. As compelling as the racing scenes are, it's really the depth of the two main characters that touches the viewer, as they forcefully drive home the theme that victory attained through devotion, commitment, integrity, and sacrifice is the most admirable feat that one can achieve. (Ian Holm was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in his role as Abrahams' coach), and this powerful film ended up with four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Two British track stars -- one a devout Scottish minister, the other a status-hungry English Jew -- compete in the 1924 Olympics in this celebrated drama, a winner of four Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1981. Ben Cross rose to considerable prominence thanks to his portrayal of Harold Abrahams, the son of a Lithuanian immigrant and a fiercely proud man whose painful experience of the British class system casts him in the underdog role. Ian Charleson is equally good as Eric Liddell, the son of missionaries stationed in China who is a decent man and a disciplined athlete. The rivalry between these two charismatic competitors drives Chariots all the way along to their fateful race at the Paris Olympics. And what a run it is: Director Hugh Hudson renders the period with sobriety and stateliness and avoids the usual clichés of sports-themed movies. Ian Holm lends worthy support as Harold’s Italian-Arabic coach, and Sir John Gielgud contributes an amusing cameo. Production-wise, the film is first rate in every way, and the evocative musical score by Vangelis -- an Oscar-winning effort that, for better or worse, long served Madison Ave. as the modern equivalent of Pachelbel’s Canon in D -- works perfectly with David Watkins’s cinematography. A truly inspirational story that unexpectedly captured the hearts of moviegoers, Chariots remains a career high point for all those involved in its making.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
As a handsomely realized and superbly acted story about the multi-faceted drive to win, it was perhaps all the more appropriate that Chariots of Fire (1981) overcame its dark-horse status to take the Best Picture Oscar. Based on the true story of two British runners in the 1924 Olympics, the experiences of Ben Cross' Jewish Cambridge student and Ian Charleson's devout missionary peel away the usual patriotic dross to reveal the complex motives that drive competition. The deeply personal victories at stake are rendered all the more dramatic by debut director Hugh Hudson's dynamic training and racing sequences, beginning with the oft-imitated slow-motion run along the beach to the famous strains of Vangelis' Oscar-winning synthesizer score. Along with Cross and Charleson, the ensemble cast shines, particularly Ian Holm as Cross' track coach; John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson, meanwhile, are the quintessential Cambridge Old Guard snobs. Hailed as an old-fashioned, yet unusually intelligent celebration of human spirit, Chariots of Fire became a much-needed international hit for the British film industry and a personal triumph for producer David Puttnam when it snuck past the favored Reds (1981) in the final 1981 Oscar race. Colin Welland's screenplay and Milena Canonero's exquisite period costumes won Oscars as well.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/01/1992
UPC:
0085392000432
Original Release:
1981
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Cross Harold Abrahams
Ian Charleson Eric Liddell
Nigel Havers Lord Andrew Lindsay
Nicholas Farrell Aubrey Montague
Ian Holm Sam
Daniel Gerroll Henry Stallard
John Gielgud Master of Trinity
Alice Krige Sybil Gordon
Lindsay Anderson Master of Caius
Cheryl Campbell Jennie Liddell
Struan Rodger Sandy
Patrick Magee Lord Cadogan
Dennis Christopher Charles Paddock
Brad Davis Jackson Scholz
Robin Pappas Clare
Ruby Wax Bunty
David Yelland Prince of Wales
Peter Egan Duke of Sutherland
Carole Ashby Actor
Colin Bruce Taylor
Peter Cellier Savoy Head Waiter
Rosy Clayton Linda Wallis
Kim Clifford Sybil's Maid
Richard Griffiths Head Porter, Caius College
Andrew Hawkins Secretary, Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Paul Howard Actor
David John Ernest Liddell
Michel Lonsdale Actor
Alan Polonsky Paxton
John Rutland Caius Porter
Jack Smethurst Sleeping Car Attendant
James Usher Steven Ambrose
Ed Wiley Fitch
Yves Beneyton George Andre
Nigel Davenport Lord Birkenhead
Yvonne Gilan Mrs. Liddell
Gordon Hammersley President, Cambridge Athletic Club
Jeremy Sinden President, Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Benny Young Rob Liddell
John Young Rev J.D. Liddell
Philip O'Brien American Coach

Technical Credits
Hugh Hudson Director
Jonathan Benson Asst. Director
Matthew Binns Asst. Director
Milena Canonero Costumes/Costume Designer
Dodi Fayed Executive Producer
Louise Frogley Costumes/Costume Designer
Roger Hall Art Director
David Puttnam Producer
Terry Rawlings Editor
Vangelis Score Composer
David Watkin Cinematographer
Colin Welland Screenwriter
Clive Winter Sound/Sound Designer

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