Cinema Express: Chariots of Fire (1981)

What better time to watch a Best Picture winner about 1924 British Olympic runners than during this year’s London Olympics? Chariots of Fire has become famous for its score and its classic running-on-the-beach scene but it still is a movie of unique power. It’s a story about men who can run fast, but it’s also a movie that depicts the struggles that come with representing God and country in sports. The movie touches on many topics at a leisurely speed. Faith, unity, patriotism, and prejudice are all put on display at one point or another. The film’s critics would argue that the story is stretched farther than it can reach and some Americans would say that the movie itself is too British for them. There isn’t a lot of story to suffice for a two-hour movie, but the film is primarily most interested in the internal thoughts and desires of its characters. That’s what makes Chariots of Fire universal. The runners are willing to sacrifice anything but their faith and honor in the process of becoming champions. What country would not be proud to be represented by such admirable men?

Hugh Hudson’s feature debut is one of the most beloved sports movies ever made. Because I enjoy reading several different takes on movies, I was scrolling through the IMDb user reviews of Chariots and time after time, I found such high acclaim as “simply the greatest movie ever made,” “second only to Casablanca…,” and “one of the most inspirational movies ever.” Today, it seems uncommonly humble for a sports film. It shows talented athletes who consider themselves men first and who understand that sports is one of the best ways on Earth to honor their family, their country, and their God. They really don’t make movies about sports like this anymore.

B+

4 responses to “Cinema Express: Chariots of Fire (1981)

  1. Encouraging to hear many of the athletes in the current Olympics talk about their faith. Glad to know they are continuing the dedication you spoke of from the film in your post.

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