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Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian born to Scottish missionaries in China, sees running as part of his worship of God's glory and refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias, but neglects his beloved sweetheart Sybil (Alice Krige) in his single-minded quest.

Cast & Crew

Ben Cross
Harold M. Abrahams
Ian Charleson
Eric Liddell
John Gielgud
Master of Trinity (as Sir John Gielgud)
Nigel Havers
Lord Andrew Lindsay
Nicholas Farrell
Aubrey Montague
Ian Holm
Sam Mussabini
Lindsay Anderson
Master of Caius
Nigel Davenport
Lord Birkenhead
Cheryl Campbell
Jennie Liddell
Alice Krige
Sybil Gordon
Jonathan Benson
Assistant Director
Colin Welland
Writer (Original Screenplay)
Dodi Fayed
Executive Producer
Jake Eberts
Executive Producer
David Watkin
Cinematographer
Esta Charkham
Casting
Anna Ridley
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Chariots of Fire

Critic Reviews for Chariots of Fire

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (13)

  • It reminds us of the affirmative aspects of life, of the hope that endures in it as well as the cynicism.

    April 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Despite its bombastic tendencies, Chariots has a healthy glow that's charming.

    August 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • The film is not just about the race between Abrahams, the Jewish law student (Ben Cross), and Scottish missionary Eric Liddell (the late Ian Charleson). It's a character study and a social history too.

    February 21, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • From the opening scene of pale young men racing barefoot along the beach, full of hope and elation, backed by Vangelis's now famous anthem, the film is utterly compelling.

    February 21, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Oddly, for a film about triumph over adversity, there's nothing as uplifting as the opening and closing jogs along a windswept beach.

    February 21, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A movie that, with the help of Vangelis Papathanassiou's wonderfully stirring music, lifts the spirits to a new high.

    February 17, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Chariots of Fire

  • Jun 09, 2016
    It is certainly overrated and doesn't justify the many Oscars it won/was nominated to, but still it is technically competent (especially Vangelis' music and the film's editing) even if it is also a bit too conventional and slows down in its second half almost to the speed of a turtle.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2013
    Depth is all you can count on for this historical drama to move you, religious or not.
    Max G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2012
    Okay, so I'm superficial, but the CLOTHES in this movie are breathtaking! As are all the vehicles--cars with wood paneling, sleeper cars in trains with same paneling and little servants who bring tea to that same sleeper car to wake you. It made me long for a world I've experienced only on PBS mini-series and made me long to dress like they do in this movie although I would probably be considered mad. Several social points I thought were brilliantly conveyed: the idea of immigrant as striver; the idea that aristocracy actually loathes outstanding achievement (the gentleman's C--see George W. Bush and all the Kennedys' report cards from Harvard and Yale); and the notion of sports--in this case field and track--as a physical way to prove something about your character, which must be why people get so upset when professional athletes do something that mars that character like take PEDs or give in to carnal urges. One particularly telling moment about class: the Prince of Wales invites the American runner (who is obviously of his class) to lunch at his club, but tells Abrahamson to "do your best, that's all anyone can expect." I found it actually chilling.
    Bathsheba M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2012
    On one hand soapy and fraught with bathos, on another superbly acted. And the music is pretty terrible in a modern context. But chariots of fire DOES work and is a pleasure to watch, albeit sprinkled with some intermittent grimaces.
    Jeff L Super Reviewer

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