CHARIOTS OF FIRE


2h 1m 1981
CHARIOTS OF FIRE

Brief Synopsis

Committed long-distance runners strive for the 1924 Olympics.

Film Details

Also Known As
Triumfens ögonblick, chariots de feu
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Biography
Sports
Release Date
1981
Location
Scotland, United Kingdom; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m

Synopsis

In the 1924 Paris Olympics, a Jew and a Scotsman run for Britain. Eric Liddell is a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew, runs to overcome prejudice.

Crew

Dave Allen

Other

Tony Allen

Tailor

Jonathan Amberston

Art Director

Dorothy Andrew

Casting

Nadia Arthur

Wardrobe

Graham Attwood

Photography

Diane Bates

Assistant Art Director

Jonathan Benson

Assistant Director

Matthew Binns

Assistant Director

Simon Bosanquet

Location Manager

Don Bradburn

Props

Paul Bradburn

Props

Des Bradley

Other

John Brady

Wardrobe Assistant

Kenteas Brine

Makeup

Jane Buck

Continuity

Richard Burgess

Researcher

Alison Campbell

Production Assistant

Milena Canonero

Costume Designer

Ray Caple

Matte Painter

Ana Cardosa

Other

Esta Charkham

Casting

Michael Connor

Camera Assistant

James Crawford

Associate Producer

Hazel Crombie

Accounting Assistant

Marina Drecker

Wardrobe Assistant

Roy Evans

Construction Manager

Dodi Fayed

Executive Producer

Terence Fitch

Assistant Director

Bryony Foster

On-Set Dresser

Roland Fowles

Sound

Dennis Fraser

Grip

Louise Frogley

Assistant Costume Designer

Dave Garrett

Wardrobe

Derek Gatrell

Electrician

Pat Gilbert

Sound Editor

John Gorham

Graphics

John Gorham

Titles

Alan Grayley

Electrician

Alan Groush

Electrician

Roger Hall

Art Director

Maureen Hannaford-naisbitt

Hair

Les Healey

Assistant Editor

Kate Healy

Hair

John Hemmings

Liaison

Joyce Herlihy

Production Manager

Mary Hillman

Makeup Supervisor

Joan Hills

Hair

Roger Hucharde

Researcher

Dewi Humphreys

Camera Operator

Len Huntingford

Art Director

Dushko Indjic

Sound

Gill John

Wardrobe Assistant

John Kelly

Titles

John Kelly

Graphics

Brian Kemp

Electrician

Kate Kilroy

Production

Eddie Knight

Electrician

John Leunenberger

Property Master

Jennie Liddell

Technical Advisor

Melvin Lind

Assistant Director

Imogen Magnus

Wardrobe Assistant

Tom Mcnab

Consultant

Billy Merrill

Electrician

Ray Merrin

Sound

Diana Morris

On-Set Dresser

David Murphy

Wardrobe Supervisor

Caroline Neame

Location Manager

John New

Carpenter

Hugh O'donnell

Assistant Director

John O'driscoll

Titles

John O'driscoll

Graphics

Elizabeth Bain Orr

Production Assistant

Maggie Phelan

Accounting Assistant

Les Phipps

Other

Ron Phipps

Production Accountant

Ray Potter

Electrician

David Puttnam

Producer

Harry Rabinowitz

Music Coordinator

Jennie Raglan

Other

Terry Rawlings

Editor

Douglas Regan

Other

Simone Reynolds

Casting

Anna Ridley

Art Director

Peter Robinson

Other

Bill Rowe

Sound

Bill Rudgard

Assistant Director

Andrew Sanders

Art Director

Jackson Scholz

Technical Advisor

Paul Schoolman

Other

Arnold Schulkes

Researcher

Claudine Sellars

Production Assistant

Jim Shields

Sound Editor

Ros Siely

Assistant Editor

Iain Smith

Location Manager

Lynda Smith

Production Assistant

Terry Smith

Wardrobe

Claire Sorrell

Costumes

Hilary Steinberg

Makeup

Jacqueline Tager

Other

Vivian Tozer

Wardrobe Assistant

Anthony Turner

Production

David Watkin

Director Of Photography

David Watkin

Dp/Cinematographer

Colin Welland

Screenplay

Clive Winter

Sound

Photo Collections

Chariots of Fire - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Chariots of Fire (1981). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Chariots Of Fire (1981) - The College Dash Ben Cross as Harold Abrahams and Nigel Havers as the fictional Lindsay attempt the famous Great Court Run, shooting at Eton College, Cambridge, though the true location is Trinity College, and the real Abrahams never tried it, in Chariots Of Fire, 1981, John Gielgud, observing.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) - A Muscular Christian Ian Charleson as Scot Eric Liddell, encouraged by his missionary father and brother (John Young, David John) to pursue athletics for the greater good, touring with his devoted sister (Cheryl Campbell), ending with a speech written by the actor, in director Hugh Hudson’s Chariots Of Fire, 1981.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) - May The Best Man Win After much build-up, the fictional first competitive meeting between between the missionary-athlete Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), arriving from Scotland, and Cambridge man Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross, with friends, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers), in Chariots Of Fire, 1981.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) - Scotland's Finest Wing Beginning the back-story for Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), born to missionary parents in China, already a rugby star in Scotland, appearing at a highland fair, his sister (Cheryl Campbell) attending and friend Sandy (Struan Rodger) promoting an exhibition, in Chariots Of Fire, 1981.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) - Those Few Young Men The opening from director Hugh Hudson, Nigel Havers and Nicholas Farrell as the matured Lindsay and Montague, then the beach sequence, shot in Scotland, featuring leads Ben Cross and Ian Charleson, and the much-lauded theme by Vangelis, from Chariots Of Fire, 1981.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Triumfens ögonblick, chariots de feu
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Biography
Sports
Release Date
1981
Location
Scotland, United Kingdom; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m

Award Wins

Best Costume Design

1981
Milena Canonero

Best Original Screenplay

1981

Best Picture

1981

Best Score

1981

Award Nominations

Best Director

1981
Hugh Hudson

Best Editing

1981
Terry Rawlings

Best Supporting Actor

1981
Ian Holm

Articles

Chariots of Fire


In 1981, the British motion picture industry released a film based on a story everyone considered too dated, a project no production company would back, with unknown actors as leads, and a one-man synthesizer band to provide all the music . . . and it was a massive hit. Chariots of Fire (1981) triumphed at the Oscars with wins in Best Picture, Costume Design, Music, and Writing categories. It was the opening film at the New York Film Festival, the British entry at the Cannes Film Festival, and ultimately grossed just under sixty million worldwide. As the English might say, that's a bit of an all right.

Producer David Puttnam first conceived the idea for the film when reading an Olympic record book. In it, he learned of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, two track stars that ran for England in the 1924 Olympics. Both were social outcasts of a kind: Liddell was a Scottish Christian supremely devout in his faith, and Abrahams was an English Jew relentless in his quest for social acceptance. Both, however, used running as the means to their goals: Liddell sought to honor God, while Abrahams wanted to destroy class elitism. Inspired by the history, Puttnam sought to bring the story to celluloid; as he explains, "sport is such a clean simple metaphor."

He enlisted the writing skills of Colin Welland to script the project. Through newspaper advertisements seeking information on the men, Welland tapped into a network of athletes and graduates with memories, news clippings, and letters about the 1924 Olympics and the two runners. The letters became the narrating backdrop for the film. Connections with a studio president garnered three million towards the financing, and a few months later Allied Stars, a production company headed up by Dodi Fayed, matched the amount. Fayed would gain his greatest exposure, however, with the tragic 1997 Paris auto accident that killed him and his companion Princess Diana. Puttnam hired novice director Hugh Hudson to helm the picture, a man whose previous experience was mainly television commercials. Nevertheless, Hudson pulled off the whole thing for six million.

In order to maintain a strong sense of realism, the filmmakers wanted to use unknown actors as the leads. Ian Charleson was cast as Liddell. Although he had had limited exposure in some BBC productions, he was chosen for his calm demeanor and the ability to project a sense of grace under fire. Ben Cross, with considerable experience from the Royal Shakespeare Company, was cast for his sensitivity and boundless energy, qualities exemplified by his character Abrahams. More notable actors were cast in supporting roles: Ian Holm plays Abrahams' Italian-Arabic running coach, and Sir John Gielgud appears as a crusty, anti-Semitic Cambridge master. Holm was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but in a twist, Gielgud won for his performance as Hobson the butler in Arthur (1981). On a random note, Ruby Wax shows up in a bit part 0 she would later achieve English celebrity with a popular talk show series.

Vangelis, who used a single moniker (probably for the best, his last name was Papathanassiou), composed, arranged, and performed the entire soundtrack using only a keyboard. Although some critics denounced the inequity of a period piece punctuated by synthesized sound, Vangelis collected an Academy Award for Best Score for Chariots of Fire and the soundtrack has endured as one of the most popular soundtracks of all time. The first few bars of the opening pieces invariably bring to mind the slow motion shot of the men running on St. Andrew's beach.

William Blake's Milton is credited for inspiring the film's title; in it he asks, "And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green?" Two stanzas down he urges:

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

As if stirred by these powerful words, a group of underdog filmmakers exploded out of the blocks and onto the screen for a sprint no one could quite believe until the race was over and the victors declared. Chariots of Fire is a lesson in the spirit of human perseverance, both on and off screen.

Producer: David Puttnam
Director: Hugh Hudson
Screenplay: Colin Welland
Cinematography: David Watkin
Costume Design: Milena Canonero
Film Editing: Terry Rawlings
Original Music: Vangelis
Principal Cast: Ben Cross (Harold Abrahams), Ian Charleson (Eric Liddell), Nigel Havers (Lord Andrew Lindsay), Nicholas Farrell (Aubrey Montague), Alice Krige (Sybil Gordon), Daniel Gerroll (Henry Stallard),Ian Holm (Sam Mussabini), John Gielgud (Master of Trinity), Nigel Davenport (Lord Birkenhead), Dennis Christopher (Charles Paddock), Brad Davis (Jackson Scholz).
C-125m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Eleanor Quin

Chariots Of Fire

Chariots of Fire

In 1981, the British motion picture industry released a film based on a story everyone considered too dated, a project no production company would back, with unknown actors as leads, and a one-man synthesizer band to provide all the music . . . and it was a massive hit. Chariots of Fire (1981) triumphed at the Oscars with wins in Best Picture, Costume Design, Music, and Writing categories. It was the opening film at the New York Film Festival, the British entry at the Cannes Film Festival, and ultimately grossed just under sixty million worldwide. As the English might say, that's a bit of an all right. Producer David Puttnam first conceived the idea for the film when reading an Olympic record book. In it, he learned of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, two track stars that ran for England in the 1924 Olympics. Both were social outcasts of a kind: Liddell was a Scottish Christian supremely devout in his faith, and Abrahams was an English Jew relentless in his quest for social acceptance. Both, however, used running as the means to their goals: Liddell sought to honor God, while Abrahams wanted to destroy class elitism. Inspired by the history, Puttnam sought to bring the story to celluloid; as he explains, "sport is such a clean simple metaphor." He enlisted the writing skills of Colin Welland to script the project. Through newspaper advertisements seeking information on the men, Welland tapped into a network of athletes and graduates with memories, news clippings, and letters about the 1924 Olympics and the two runners. The letters became the narrating backdrop for the film. Connections with a studio president garnered three million towards the financing, and a few months later Allied Stars, a production company headed up by Dodi Fayed, matched the amount. Fayed would gain his greatest exposure, however, with the tragic 1997 Paris auto accident that killed him and his companion Princess Diana. Puttnam hired novice director Hugh Hudson to helm the picture, a man whose previous experience was mainly television commercials. Nevertheless, Hudson pulled off the whole thing for six million. In order to maintain a strong sense of realism, the filmmakers wanted to use unknown actors as the leads. Ian Charleson was cast as Liddell. Although he had had limited exposure in some BBC productions, he was chosen for his calm demeanor and the ability to project a sense of grace under fire. Ben Cross, with considerable experience from the Royal Shakespeare Company, was cast for his sensitivity and boundless energy, qualities exemplified by his character Abrahams. More notable actors were cast in supporting roles: Ian Holm plays Abrahams' Italian-Arabic running coach, and Sir John Gielgud appears as a crusty, anti-Semitic Cambridge master. Holm was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but in a twist, Gielgud won for his performance as Hobson the butler in Arthur (1981). On a random note, Ruby Wax shows up in a bit part 0 she would later achieve English celebrity with a popular talk show series. Vangelis, who used a single moniker (probably for the best, his last name was Papathanassiou), composed, arranged, and performed the entire soundtrack using only a keyboard. Although some critics denounced the inequity of a period piece punctuated by synthesized sound, Vangelis collected an Academy Award for Best Score for Chariots of Fire and the soundtrack has endured as one of the most popular soundtracks of all time. The first few bars of the opening pieces invariably bring to mind the slow motion shot of the men running on St. Andrew's beach. William Blake's Milton is credited for inspiring the film's title; in it he asks, "And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green?" Two stanzas down he urges: Bring me my bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire: Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire. As if stirred by these powerful words, a group of underdog filmmakers exploded out of the blocks and onto the screen for a sprint no one could quite believe until the race was over and the victors declared. Chariots of Fire is a lesson in the spirit of human perseverance, both on and off screen. Producer: David Puttnam Director: Hugh Hudson Screenplay: Colin Welland Cinematography: David Watkin Costume Design: Milena Canonero Film Editing: Terry Rawlings Original Music: Vangelis Principal Cast: Ben Cross (Harold Abrahams), Ian Charleson (Eric Liddell), Nigel Havers (Lord Andrew Lindsay), Nicholas Farrell (Aubrey Montague), Alice Krige (Sybil Gordon), Daniel Gerroll (Henry Stallard),Ian Holm (Sam Mussabini), John Gielgud (Master of Trinity), Nigel Davenport (Lord Birkenhead), Dennis Christopher (Charles Paddock), Brad Davis (Jackson Scholz). C-125m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Eleanor Quin

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer September 1, 1981

Released in United States October 1981

Released in United States September 1981

Released in United States July 1984

Shown at New York Film Festival September 1981.

Released in United States Summer September 1, 1981

Released in United States October 1981

Released in United States September 1981 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 1981.)

Released in United States July 1984 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (50 Hour Sports Movie Marathon) July 5¿20, 1984.)

Released in USA on video.

The United Kingdom