Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire

Hugh Hudson (1981)

PG Certificate
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Our Score
Unfairly dismissed by some as an empty exercise in cheap schmaltz, this has an old-fashioned innocence that celebrates the human spirit with a lot of careful detail. It's a powerful tale about two British athletes - one a contemplative Scottish missionary, the other an anxious Jewish student - aiming for glory in the 1924 Olympics, and it contains a compelling study of their characters and those of their competitors. Their experiences are drawn in thoughtfully by Hugh Hudson's direction and Colin Welland's Oscar-winning script. Indeed, it was Welland who exclaimed at the Oscar ceremony that "the British are coming!". The performances of leads Ian Charleson (as the missionary) and Ben Cross (as the student) prove that, at a time when British cinema had such talent to fall back on, Welland should have been right.


Oscar-winning drama based on the true story of British runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, going for gold at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. The two athletes are driven by very different impulses - Liddell is inspired by his devout Christian faith, while Abrahams hopes to triumph over the anti-Semitism he has endured all his life. Starring Ian Charleson, Ben Cross, Nigel Havers, John Gielgud and Ian Holm. Vangelis provides the soundtrack.

Cast & Crew

Harold Abrahams Ben Cross
Eric Liddell Ian Charleson
Lord Andrew Lindsay Nigel Havers
Aubrey Montague Nicholas Farrell
Sam Mussabini Ian Holm
Master of Trinity John Gielgud
Master of Caius Lindsay Anderson
Lord Birkenhead Nigel Davenport
Jennie Liddell Cheryl Campbell
Sybil Gordon Alice Krige
Charles Paddock Dennis Christopher
Jackson Scholz Brad Davis
Lord Cadogan Patrick Magee
Duke of Sutherland Peter Egan
Sandy McGrath Struan Rodger
Prince of Wales David Yelland
Head Porter, Caius College Richard Griffiths
Henry Stallard Daniel Gerroll
Bunty Ruby Wax
Director Hugh Hudson
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Co. LtdGuidance: Some swearing and brief nudity.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 13 Jul 2012