Chariots Of Fire

 (3,609)7.22 h 4 min1981X-RayPG
HD. Two runners are driven by personal compulsions to win at the 1924 Olympics in this 1981 Best Picture Oscar(R) winner.
Hugh Hudson
Ben CrossIan CharlesonNigel Havers
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Cheryl CampbellAlice KrigeLindsay AndersonDennis ChristopherNigel DavenportBrad DavisPeter EganJohn GielgudIan HolmPatrick Magee
David Puttnam
Warner Bros.
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

3609 global ratings

  1. 81% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Francis Booth LynchReviewed in the United States on February 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
It told its wonderful story
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Movie 7 of 1981 and 87 overall in my journey through films of my lifetime.

One day, when I was a kid, my Dad came home and told me about this movie he just saw and how inspirational it was. I didn't understand exactly what it was he liked about it but I made note of it. It was "Chariots of Fire" of course. I never had any obvious opportunity to watch the film, I would have had to go out of my way. Over the years the only things I knew about it was: dudes on a beach running, music that had been memed to the ends of the space-time continuum, and a reputation for being good. Obviously I wasn't sold.

Now the aim of this project is to view movies from my spectrum now, not in the historical context of the movie. Well I can confidently say that time has been great to "Chariots of Fire." Hollywood could never produce something this inspirational today. Indeed it was inspirational and that makes this the first movie in this retrospective that I regret not seeing. It advocates such honorable traights (you know those things that toxic males like lol) like working hard and letting your actions speak about who you are. I don't influence easy but I fully embrace this film's message. "Chariots of Fire" reminded me of how powerful cinema can be. Today, in 2020, that is sorely needed! I suppose our society doesn't produce the kind of humans that can even fathom such incredible qualities never mind making a great story about them! The Oscars was this past weekend and it was same old lectures from people unworthy of mine or anyone else's attention. I'm so glad I spent my time with something worthy of everyone's attention! By the way, it never preached, judged, or lectured. It just told its wonderful story!

-as meaningful of a movie as one could hope
-incredible at almost all levels
-entertaining while thought provoking

-music a little dated (but still some great music as well)

1981 has been one of the hardest years to review in this series but it was worth it just to see this!
42 people found this helpful
AmericanReviewed in the United States on October 18, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
For the Serious Minded Only
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Here's a story (truth is always better than fiction, and a bit stranger, too!) that never ceases to fatigue nor fade! This story speaks powerfully to the heart, about issues of identity, identity, and identity! Yes -- about issues of faith, conviction, overcoming adversity, the power of love, for others, and that special one, the willingness to do the hard work, that indispensable prerequisite for winning the prize, for leaving the legacy behind, for creating goodwill amongst others!

Never have I watched this film without tears and a heart-tug within! Very moving story indeed -- for it touches the invisible part of you - deep down within your soul, where nobody else sees, but yourself.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for those who still have a spark of hope inside, and for those who've lost hope in this world. This wonderful story will re-charge your spirit, and re-awaken your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations! Bravo!
70 people found this helpful
Joy C.Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best movie ever!
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My all-time favorite movie (and I'm a "movie person") - the MUSIC, the acting, the story, the costumes, the directing, the scenery. I went to see it when it came out only because my husband wanted to see it. I didn't even feel like going out that night. The second it started, I was completely taken in by it. The night of the Oscars, when it won Best Picture (after it had won several other categories), I gleefully ran around the house, yelling!
36 people found this helpful
WeAreUsReviewed in the United States on March 15, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
BIG Disapointment!
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Chariots of Fire
…where to start? Best Picture of Year? Seriously? So many problems with this movie. In no particular order….
Abrahams gets a note from the American competitor before his final race. We see him clench it in his hand….So?? What does that all mean? We never see it again. Does he throw it away? Hold it tightly through his race? What? Why even show it if the director/writer is going to do nothing with it.
The final 400 race should’ve been a huge dramatic finish to the movie with lots of time devoted to it. The American coach said “he’ll fade at 300 meters”. Okay, then let’s show Liddell at 300 and see what happens. No build on this race at all.
Speaking of lack of build…..Abrahams 100 race was also lacking drama. And, if I hadn’t read the synopsis beforehand, who knew he had lost races before? It was spoken in passing by someone.
Let’s talk about characters: How are we supposed to know that Liddell had a sister? Who is she? Where did she come from? At first, it seems like she’s his girlfriend. She just keeps showing up and we finally find out who she is.
What about that silly race around the courtyard? What was the significance? Never fully explained.
We had to turn on captions in order to understand the dialogue. First, it was the British accent, then the Scottish accent….geez.
Okay, we get it that Liddell did not want to run on the Sabbath, but, what about war time? Do you not fight on the Sabbath when all your buddies are fighting? Silly excuse.
The “romantic” scenes between Abrahams and Sybil….never blossomed. No magic.
I had to keep telling my wife what was going on….the plot just kept jumping around from person to person, from past to present. Herky jerky throughout.
Lastly, as a runner myself, Liddell’s running style was so awkward…Liddell ran like a girl with his arms flailing out like he did.
I’ve always meant to see this movie, Best Picture and all but….Big disappointment!
2 people found this helpful
Kathryn DaneReviewed in the United States on September 4, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Chariots of Fire (Blu-ray)
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I placed this DVD on my Wishlist in 2010, before the Blu-ray version was even available. I finally decided that I needed to purchase the video. I am so glad I did. I saw the movie when it originally came out and have watched it on VHS and DVD several times, but this is a classic that must be owned. The subject matter is engaging, and the attitudes are worth examining. Well worth the price.
13 people found this helpful
Mark BarryReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Bring Me My Arrows Of Desire...Bring Me My Chariot Of Fire..."
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Little will prepare fans of "Chariots Of Fire" for this BLU RAY reissue - the picture quality is SENSATIONAL - and for a British film made on a budget in 1981 - that says a lot. Also - re-watching it in 2012 (the year of the 30th Olympiad in England) - it's nice to find that this homage to Sporting achievement and human spirit hasn't lost any of its capacity to stir the soul and bring a tear to the eye. It was nominated for 7 Oscars at the time and won 4 - including Best Picture.

The first thing to note is that even though the print quality and abundant extras are the same for the UK and US versions - they differ greatly in their 'packaging' and there's actually 3 variants of the BLU RAY to choose from. The UK issue comes in two versions - a simple uninspiring plastic clip-case with just 1 disc at around ten pounds (type in barcode 5039036052344 into the Amazon Search Bar) and a second issue with the music CD as well for a few quid more (type in barcode 5039036051163).

This US Warner Brothers version (at about twenty pounds) that I'm reviewing however comes in a beautifully presented 36-page embossed hardback 'Book Pack' (or Digibook as its sometimes called) with an outer page attached to the rear (type in barcode 883929093946 into Amazon). Regardless of which issue you buy or where you live - ALL are 'REGION FREE' - so will play on every machine.

The booklet for the US variant is beautiful - featuring articles and pictures on Producer David Puttnam, Director Hugh Hudson and Writer Colin Welland. There's also text and photos on the principal cast members as well as notable supporting roles by John Gielgud, Ian Holm, Alice Krieg and Cheryl Campbell. There's also a page on the huge contribution made by Greek keyboardist VANGELIS - whose musical score has been both revered and parodied in equal measure ever since (most notably in the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics just a few days ago).

This US issue and the UK double also house a 4-track music CD by VANGELIS (13:47 minutes) that features 2006 remasters of "Titles" (A Number 1 US hit in February 1982), "Abraham's Theme", "Eric's Theme" and "Jerusalem" (Vangelis with The Ambrosian Singers).

But the big news is the print - which has been FULLY RESTORED and defaulted to 1.85:1 aspect ratio - thereby filling your entire screen. Even in the notoriously difficult-to-light indoor sequences there is only slight blocking and grain - but on all outdoor scenes (of which there are many) - the clarity is exemplary. The DTS-HD Master Audio is English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Subtitles are English for Hard-Of-Hearing and French. Extras are discussed below...

Taking its name from William Blake's preface to the epic "Milton: A Poem" - it focuses on the team who secured 4 medals for Britain in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris - in particular the two Gold winners - Eric Liddell for the Men's 400 metres and Harold Abrahams for the Men's 100 meters. Nicholas Farrell (as Aubrey Montague), Nigel Havers (as Lord Andrew Lindsay) and Daniel Gerroll (as Henry Stallard) make up the other runners. Blink and you'll miss them cameos are - two sightings of American Comedienne Ruby Wax as a lady spectator in the Olympic crowds towards the end of the movie and an uncredited Stephen Fry in the "HMS Pinafore" chorus line-up.

Born in China but raised in Edinburgh - Eric Liddell (nick-named "The Flying Scotsman" after the famous steam train) was the son of a devout Missionary - and like his father before him cherished and practiced his religious convictions. Played to perfection by Scotsman Ian Charleson - Liddell often said that he was 'running for God' or 'felt His pleasure' as he speeded around track after track leaving all in his wake. Both King and Country would sorely test these implacable beliefs in Paris when they asked him to run on the Sabbath - and he refused. A little jiggering of racing dates saved face and the day...but it was the measure of the man that he withstood all that pressure and still won...

His principal rival was Harold Abrahams (played with huge gusto by Ben Cross) - a Jewish Cambridge University intellectual determined to deal with society's bigotry towards his kind by crushing all detractors in his path - including Liddell - whom he both feared and admired. But when he finally faces Liddell in a run and looses by a ticker-tape inch - the outsider is crushed. But help is at hand in the shape of an unorthodox Jewish coach called Sam Mussabini (a fabulous turn by veteran actor Ian Holm) who promises to make Harold faster and better (and does).

These indomitable boors inhabit a world of privileged chums wearing boater hats and striped blazers - men who sing Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore" songs with alarming relish. This is Britain after the senseless generation-depleting butchery of World War I - but still with that inbred sense of Empire coursing through their veins. You'd be right in thinking that all this snobbish elitism could become quickly tedious (and it threatens to do so for the first half hour), but the script rightly concentrates on something all the more compelling - their dedication, self-sacrifice and guts. Genuinely inspiring a country hungry for something noble to celebrate - you could even say that these athletes joined Christianity and Judaism on the Sports field for the National good. And on it goes to the 8th Olympics Games in 1924 and a funeral in London in 1978 (making it contemporary).

The wad of extras are superb - modern day interviews with all the protagonists - Ben Cross and Nigel Havers particularly animated and witty and pouring praise on Ian Charleson who sadly passed away in 1990. And again when they use the old stock footage of the film - you see just how glorious the full restoration truly is.

Like "The King's Speech" in so many ways - "Chariots Of Fire" is filled with British pride - but in a good way. This is a story about people worth remembering - their struggles - their heartbreaks and triumphs - their journey. Having not seen it in probably 30 years - I found it moving, inspirational and not in the least bit dated. And now it has the transfer and format it deserves. I know the US version may cost twice as much as the UK issue - but if you can go the few quid - then do so.

When Screenplay Writer Colin Welland accepted his Oscar - he famously announced "The British Are Coming!" Well, they're back...because this really is a fantastic reissue of a great movie.

I'm off now to run in slow motion by the sea and surf with that synth riff pounding through my very tight Speedos...oh dear!

BLU RAY versions:
UK 1 disc - barcode 5039036052344
UK 2 disc - barcode 5039036051163
USA 2 disc 'Book Pack' - barcode 883929093946
72 people found this helpful
Rob IllingworthReviewed in the United States on August 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Inspirational and Exciting
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I got this to replace a VHS copy, but as good as I remembered it + better play quality.

I really like the greater focus of the film being not as much on Eric Liddell's Olympic victory, but more on his refusal to compromise his standard of obeying God--even in front of Britain's prince (future King Edward VIII); almost immediately, a young athlete, Lord Lindsay gave the answer, "Let Eric run in my place". And seconds before the final race, an American champion handed him a note, "It says in the Old Book, 'He that honors Me, I will honor.' Good Luck". And then--God gave Eric the resounding victory in that final race. It's obvious even his colleagues & competitors knew of & admired Eric's stand; the resulting gold medal is a lasting testament to that!
2 people found this helpful
Mary E. SchulzReviewed in the United States on March 26, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the Best Movies Ever....Inspiring
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One of my most favorite movies. It is good to have captions finally, as the British accent creates some difficulty at times and captions give you every word. This is such an inspiring movie. I saw it in the early 80's when it came out in the theaters, and never forgot it. Uplifting, deep and very beautiful, inspiring and very soul filled.
5 people found this helpful
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