Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical sports drama film directed by Hugh Hudson, written by Colin Welland, and produced by David Puttnam. It is based on the true story of 2 British athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell: a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. Ben Cross and Ian Charleson star as Abrahams and Liddell, alongside Nigel Havers, Ian Holm, John Gielgud, Lindsay Anderson, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige, Brad Davis, and Dennis Christopher in supporting roles. Kenneth Branagh makes his debut in a minor role.
Chariots of Fire was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won 4, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score for Vangelis‘ electronic theme tune. At the 35th British Academy Film Awards, the film was nominated in 11 categories and won 3, including Best Film It is ranked 19th in the British Film Institute‘s list of Top 100 British films.
The film’s title was inspired by the line “Bring me my Chariot of fire!” from the William Blake poem adapted into the British hymn “Jerusalem”; the hymn is heard at the end of the film. The original phrase “chariot(s) of fire” is from 2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17 in the Bible.