Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire is a 1981 film, directed by Hugh Hudson. It explores the selection of the 1924 British Olympic team, their preparation, exploits and their eventual accomplishments. In particular, it focuses on the controversy surrounding Jewish runner Harold Abrahams; Eric Liddell, a moral Scotsman who is Abrahams' main rival; and the aristocratic Lord Lindsay, a fictitious character loosely based on the real Lord Burghley.
The title was derived from "Jerusalem", the well-known hymn based on the poem And did those feet in ancient time by William Blake:
- Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold: Bring me my Chariot of fire!
Although based on actual people and events, the film took many artistic liberties with the true story.
Chariots of Fire starred Ben Cross, Nigel Havers and Ian Charleson. It also featured John Gielgud as a bigoted academic, Ian Holm, Nicholas Farrell and Patrick McGee. It won the Best Picture Academy Award for 1981.
The theme tune by Vangelis became an international hit. It is an interesting contrast that Vangelis used electronic music in a movie about the past, while the futuristic Star Wars by John Williams, used only traditional instruments.