I’ve mentioned before the many and varied iconic moments in film, and here is yet another one: a group of young men in white running attire jogging across a beach to the tones of Vangelis, a theme anybody who watches film will instantly remember. Like most films with iconic moments, though, Chariots of Fire is more than its opening sequence; it went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and today still stands the test of time, especially among its fellow sports films. It is also still one of the most inspiring films to ever come out of cinema, and thankfully, the public embraced it as much as the critics did.
For those that don’t know this film aside from the image of the running men on the beach, Chariots of Fire tells the story of two young British men, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, who are sprinters training for the 1924 Summer Olympics, for fame, for sport, and for their passion for running. Each has a multifaceted story to be told, with their own obstacles standing in the way of their faith and their inspiration, and success, and though rarely do the two intertwine, the two men, thanks to the structure of this film, are seemingly brothers-in-arms. Being a British film, the cinematography comes across as very muted and washed out, almost to capture the apparently dreary weather and climate of Britain; I wouldn’t know the climate myself, having never been to Britain, but from what I’ve seen of British films that portray the real world as realistically as possible, it stands to reason why I would think such a notion. Thankfully, the story itself, coupled with the script, the fine camerawork, and the editing, make this more than an entertaining watch for just about anybody.
I can see how this won Best Picture, quite easily. It’s a film that is in fine form all around, and while I wouldn’t call it Oscar bait, it does come really close to such a line; it’s just made of that special something that critics and Academy members always seem to adore. It’s a proud tale, one of conviction and determination, and following your beliefs; all honorable notions, indeed, and thanks to Chariots of Fire, I can say that these ideals have been encapsulated in celluloid, and need not be brushed upon too completely again. This film has taken care of that. This isn’t one I would say everyone will take to, but for those that love a fine film when it does come around, Chariots of Fire will have a lot to offer you. Just don’t look down on it for its ideals; it’s largely thanks to this film that such concepts have permanently entered cinema’s lexicon.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10