Chichester Cinema at New Park

Chariots of Fire

The story of two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics.

The true story of Eric Liddle (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) who ran for British and Scottish gold in the 1924 Olympics despite great personal obstacles. Liddle, a devoutly religious man, would not run his qualifying heat because it fell on a Sunday, while Abrahams, who was Jewish, faced anti-Semitism.

It seemed a triumph of film-making on its 1981 release and it's the film about which writer Colin Welland famously announced 'The British are coming' in his Oscar acceptance speech. Now, 20 years later, in this new digitally restored print it's a little dated.

In some ways that actually benefits the film as its true age somehow helps its 1920ís setting. It's an examination of whether Liddle and Abrahams were made by their beliefs or shackled by them. No athlete today would take Liddle's stance and the film knew that even 20 years ago so there is a poignancy to the principle, a nostalgic air that remains moving.

UK Flag UK · 1981 · Hugh Hudson · 124min


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