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Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire

1982

In 1920s Britain, two disparate souls converge for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell, a Scottish missionary's son, harmonizes running with faith, refusing to compete on Sundays. Meanwhile, Harold Abrahams, fueled by determination and passion, battles societal prejudice, sacrificing love and identity in his pursuit of athletic greatness.

Runtime: 125 min

Box Office: $59M

Language:

Directors:

Ratings:

Metacritic

78

Metascore

6.9

User Score

Metacritic
review

83%

TOMATOMETER

review

80%

User Score

Metacritic

68.0

%

User Score

Check out what happened in Chariots of Fire!

As the mourners gathered in London to pay their respects to Harold Abrahams in 1978, a poignant flashback transported them back to the sun-kissed shores of his youth. It was 1919, and Abrahams had just arrived at the University of Cambridge, where he would soon discover that the ivory towers of academia were not immune to the scourge of antisemitism.

As he navigated the hallowed halls, Abrahams found solace in the Gilbert and Sullivan club, where his passion for music and performance flourished. Little did anyone know that this same boundless energy would propel him onto the track, where he would shatter records and claim victory after victory. His name became synonymous with triumph, as he conquered the Trinity Great Court Run and left a trail of defeated rivals in his wake.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Eric Liddell was living a life driven by faith and purpose. Born in China to Scottish missionary parents, he had grown up with a deep understanding of the importance of devotion. Yet, despite his sister Jennie's disapproval, Liddell saw running as a way to glorify God before returning to China to carry on the family legacy.

As Abrahams and Liddell first crossed paths, their rivalry was sparked not by malice, but by a shared desire to push themselves to new heights. When they faced off in competition, Liddell emerged victorious, leaving Abrahams reeling from the unexpected defeat. It was then that Sam Mussabini, a seasoned trainer, offered his expertise to help Abrahams refine his craft.

However, this decision would not go unchecked by the Cambridge college authorities, who deemed it unbecoming for an amateur to seek guidance from a professional coach. Abrahams, ever the pragmatist, saw through their protestations of gentlemanly conduct, recognizing them for what they truly were – thinly veiled prejudices born of antisemitism and class bias.

As Liddell struggled to reconcile his faith with his passion for running, Jennie's rebukes only served to further complicate matters. Eric found himself torn between his duty to God and his desire to honour the divine by pursuing his athletic calling. In the end, he would come to realize that not running at all would be a betrayal of his deepest convictions, and that it was precisely in the pursuit of excellence on the track that he could best glorify the Almighty.

As the curtain rises on the 1924 Olympics in Paris, two stalwart athletes from Great Britain, Eric Liddell (character not specified) and Harold Abrahams (character not specified), are primed to represent their nation with honor. Their camaraderie is strengthened by the inclusion of Cambridge acquaintances Andrew Lindsay (character not specified), Aubrey Montague (character not specified), and Henry Stallard (character not specified). However, Liddell's deeply ingrained Christian convictions come to the forefront when he discovers that his 100-metre heat falls on a Sunday. Despite the weight of national expectation and pressure from the Prince of Wales and the British Olympic Committee, Liddell refuses to compromise his faith by running on the Lord's Day. In a remarkable display of team spirit, Lindsay offers to yield his spot in the 400-metre race to Liddell, allowing him to compete on the following Thursday. This extraordinary act of selflessness sparks a media frenzy worldwide, as Liddell delivers a powerful sermon at the Paris Church of Scotland, drawing inspiration from Isaiah 40.

Meanwhile, Abrahams faces a daunting challenge when he is thoroughly outclassed by the American heavyweights in the 200-metre dash. Recognizing his last opportunity for Olympic glory lies in the 100 metres, Abrahams pours his heart and soul into training, ultimately securing a triumphant victory. His long-suffering coach, Mussabini (character not specified), is overcome with emotion at the culmination of their years-long partnership, as Abrahams' unwavering dedication yields a well-deserved Olympic gold medal. With this monumental achievement behind him, Abrahams can now rekindle his romance with Sybil and return to a life free from the all-consuming demands of competitive athletics.

As the British team prepares for Liddell's 400-metre event, their American counterparts are quick to dismiss Liddell's chances, citing the significant distance difference between his original 100-metre specialty and the far longer 400-metre race. However, one thoughtful American runner, Jackson Scholz (character not specified), takes the time to offer Liddell a heartfelt note of encouragement, drawing inspiration from 1 Samuel 2:30. Undaunted by the odds, Liddell proceeds to defy expectations and claim the gold medal, his remarkable victory sending shockwaves throughout the athletics community.

In the aftermath of their Olympic triumph, Abrahams and Liddell return home as heroes, their names etched in the annals of British sporting history. Years later, Abrahams settles down with Sybil, becoming a respected elder statesman within the world of athletics, while Liddell's remarkable life takes a profound turn when he embarks on a career of missionary work. His untimely passing in Japanese-occupied China serves as a poignant reminder to all who knew him of his enduring spirit and selfless dedication to his faith.