‘Chariots of Fire’

A surprising and unexpected best film Oscar winner, Chariots of Fire is the loosely true story of two British athletes and the 1924 Paris Olympic Games.

In a world of privilege and hallowed amateur sporting prowess, Cambridge undergraduate Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross – First Knight, Star Trek) looks to the fastest man alive accolade at the 100 metres sprint. But he faces serious competition from another British runner – Scottish missionary Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson – Gandhi, Greystoke). Abrahams looks to his coach, Sam Mussabini (Ian Holm – The Lord of the Rings, The Aviator); Liddell battles with his faith.

As English tradition of the ruling classes is confronted by the rise of the working class and a new world order of professionalism in sport, so the two men must find a way to overcome their differences and represent their country – even if, as a Scot, Liddell finds the British Olympic Committee less than supportive of his religious concerns.

Episodic and predictable, director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke, Revolution) tells the tale effectively with a memorable score from Vangelis. It’s all very polite, occasionally stuffy but still unashamedly rousing.

Nominated for 7 Oscars in 1982 including best director and supporting actor (Holm), won 4 – best film, original screenplay (Colin Welland), soundtrack and costume (Milena Canonero).

Rating: 69%

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