Chariots of Fire
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Chariots Of Fire is a cinematic classic directed by Hugh Hudson. The movie stars Ben Cross, Ian Charleson and Nicholas Farrell. Hugh Hudson's motion picture received international acclaim and recounts the true story of two British sprinters who vie for gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. The movie won 4 Oscars, Golden Globes, Bafta and Grammy. In the British Film Institute's list as the Top 100 British films, this movie is ranked 19th. One of the most notable fact is the movie's instrumental soundtrack by Vangelis.
The story is about two British athletes, one a devout Christian and the other a determined Jew. Eric, who is a devout Scottish missionary, wants to win gold as it would please God. Harold wants to prove that the Jews are in no way inferior and wants to win the race to assert his supremacy. A warm up 100m race takes place and Eric outruns Harold. Harold utilises the services of a professional trainer to improve his performance. Eric's run is slotted for the Sunday and Eric refuses to run on Sabbath. His University friend swaps races and Eric takes part in the 400m race on Thursday. What happens to both the athletes is told in the rest of the story. The movie brings out the humane side and the sportsmanship displayed by the athletes which is in stark contrast to the uncompromising competitiveness in today's sporting events.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) was released by 20th Century Fox. The movie is available in DVD format with a single disc and carries a U rating. The English language movie has English and Korean subtitles with a runtime of 124 minutes.
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Then again the thing about great movies is that they are so effortless that it feels like you are watching something happen from very close and not made up, hence not difficult, at all!
Yes yes I am getting to it!
The movie is about a group of British athletes in the 1924 Olympics, in particular two runners: Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. The timing is brilliantly set by having the first world war show up in its destructive actions, like in disabled men working as porters at railway stations or in a Duke being bitter about "National Pride".
Abrahams (a Jew with a purpose of "running them off their feet) arrives at Cambridge and the racing tempo of the movie is set in a quaint race around the courtyard! Its a huge "portico and cobbles" type affair which means that it has not been done in 700 years and there are a lot of people gathered, when a second contestant (Lindsey) shows up with a bottle of champagne, smoking a cigarette, saying "shindig, Repton, Eton and Keats" in almost the same sentence.
Liddell ( a devout Christian who wants to be a missionary and rugby player) on the other hand is playing the gentleman starting and giving away prizes to children when his friend suggests that he runs and he does and wins. And then there are other races, which he ends with sermons. Ordinarily I would take exception to this but today I am thinking maybe it is not such a bad thing to judge a faith by its best men, people who believe in ! It's the time of year and the movie. Absolutely them. You see why I had to write this!
4 Cambridge athletes kick up a storm of dust, covered by Abrahams as "Special Correspondent", who also makes it to one of Liddell's races in which he is knocked down but (in classic sport cinematic scene) makes his way back and wins. What is astonishingly engaging is that the scene continues with Liddell collapsing, with close to asthmatic breathing. It's beautiful acting!
From then on the scenes keep coming on thick and fast. There is romance and training and lives being put on hold for a chance to win a "blue" (rather than gold but it means the same!). With brilliant music and super acting the movie moves to the Olympics where each man faces a challenge all his own!