096 - Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire tells the story of the competition between two runners for Olympic glory in the 1924 games held in Paris.

Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian missionary born in Scotland finds he has a natural talent for running and, after changing from being a rugby winger to a sprinter, puts his ability down to being something gifted from God.

Meanwhile, Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a Jewish student studying at Cambridge, quickly asserts himself as a speed runner by beating off his fellow student competition.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia

During any review of Chariots Of Fire the first thing that should be mentioned is the soundtrack. While slow running to that song has become synonymous with spoofs of races worldwide, here was where it began - in a serious running environment.

Besides the infamous tune, Chariots Of Fire has much under the hood that it offers. The storyline, for one, is more about two men's battle for inner peace. Liddell, out to impress himself and his God, and Abrahams, out to try and settle an old score whilst battling the constant anti-semitic demons.

The charm of the film lies in its innocence. The characters personal lives are left completely untouched - there is no violence and, barring the occasional peck, all sexual behaviour is left completely alone.

Of course, a film is nothing without a set and Chariots Of Fire has it all; using the beautifully contrasting scenery of the rolling hills of Scotland and the ancient, elegant structure of Cambridge University, followed by the slightly humbling nature of the apologetic Parisian stadium that is overtly basic by modern standards.

Ridiculed by some for being - ironically - slow, Chariots of Fire is not one for the action-lovers, but is definitely one for a rainy day.