After years of training, two driven track athletes are accepted to represent Great Britain at the 1924 Olympics. On the one hand is Eric Liddell (Charleson), a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God; and on the other is Harold Abrahams (Cross), a Jewish Englishman who runs to overcome prejudice…
Despite being parodied to death over the years, Chariots Of Fire‘s famous opening scene – where the chaps run through the surf in slow motion to the strains of Vangelis’ instantly-recognisable score – remains a beautiful and exhilarating sequence. That said though, there’s more to the movie than slow-mo jogging and memorable synth, as Hugh Hudson’s Oscar-winning British classic is still considered (quite rightly) as the best film about athletics ever made. While a bit stuffy and dated at times, there are a number of genuinely stirring and inspirational moments dotted throughout, while the likes of Nigel Havers’ champagne-swiller and Ian Holm’s wise coach ensure that it’s also funnier than expected. Still, Chariots ultimately works due to its portrayal of two driven men staying true to their beliefs, with both Ben Cross and the late Ian Charleson turning in transfixing performances.
While parodied to death over the years and a bit stuffy at times, Chariots Of Fire remains a stirring, iconic and inspirational athletics movie.