Chariots of Fire

Still of Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of FireStill of Alice Krige and Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross and Ian Charleson in Chariots of FireStill of John Gielgud, Lindsay Anderson and Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross in Chariots of FireStill of Ben Cross and Nigel Havers in 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.

Release Year: 1981

Rating: 7.2/10 (20,260 voted)

Hugh Hudson

Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell

The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. One is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice.


Nicholas Farrell

Aubrey Montague

Nigel Havers

Lord Andrew Lindsay

Ian Charleson

Eric Liddell

Ben Cross

Harold Abrahams

Daniel Gerroll

Henry Stallard

Ian Holm

Sam Mussabini

John Gielgud

Master of Trinity

(as Sir John Gielgud)

Lindsay Anderson

Master of Caius

Nigel Davenport

Lord Birkenhead

Cheryl Campbell

Jennie Liddell

Alice Krige

Sybil Gordon

Dennis Christopher

Charles Paddock

Brad Davis

Jackson Scholz

Patrick Magee

Lord Cadogan

Peter Egan

Duke of Sutherland

This is the story of two men who run…not to run…but to prove something to the world. They will sacrifice anything to achieve their goals…Except their honor.

Release Date: 9 October 1981

Filming Locations: Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,500,000


Opening Weekend: $68,907
(27 September 1981)
(3 Screens)

Gross: $58,972,904

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


On the sign outside the Paris church where Eric Liddell delivers his sermon, screenplay author Colin Welland's name is listed above as giving the preceding service.


Before the 400 m race, the crowd can be heard chanting "U-S-A!" This chant did not appear until the late 1970s, and was not popularized until the 1980 Summer Olympics.


[first lines]

Lord Andrew Lindsay:
Let us praise famous men and our fathers that begat us. All these men were honoured in their generations and were a glory in their days. We are here today to give thanks for the life of Harold Abrahams. To honour the legend. Now there are just two of us – young Aubrey Montague and myself – who can close our eyes and remember those few young men with hope in our hearts and wings on our heels.

User Review

This is one of the Oscar best pictures that actually deserved the honor.

Rating: 10/10

I happened to be flipping channels today and saw this was on. Since it
been several years since I last saw it I clicked it on, but didn't mean to
stay. As it happened, I found this film to be just as gripping now as it
was before. My own kids started watching it, too, and enjoyed it – which
was even more satisfying for me considering the kind of current junk
used to. No, this is not an action-packed thriller, nor are there juicy
love scenes between Abrahams and his actress girlfriend. There is no
"colorful" language to speak of; no politically correct agenda underlying
its tale of a Cambridge Jew and Scottish Christian.

This is a story about what drives people internally – what pushes them to
excel or at least to make the attempt to do so. It is a story about
personal and societal values, loyalty, faith, desire to be accepted in
society and healthy competition without the utter selfishness that
characterizes so much of the athletic endeavors of our day. Certainly the
characters are not alike in their motivation, but the end result is the
as far as their accomplishments.

My early adolescent son (whose favorite movies are all of the Star Wars
movies and The Matrix) couldn't stop asking questions throughout the movie
he was so hooked. It was a great educational opportunity as well as
entertainment. If you've never seen this film or it's been a long time, I
recommend it unabashedly, regardless of the labels many have tried to give
it for being slow-paced or causing boredom. In addition to the great
– based on real people and events – the photography and the music are
fabulous and moving. It's no mistake that this movie has been spoofed and
otherwise stolen from in the last twenty years – it's an unforgettable
and in my opinion its bashers are those who hate Oscar winners on
or who don't like the philosophies espoused by its protagonists.