Chariots of Fire

1981 film by Hugh Hudson

Chariots of Fire is a 1981 film about two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, who compete in the 1924 Olympics. The film was the winner of four Academy Awards including best picture.

Directed by Hugh Hudson. Written by Colin Welland.
Two men chasing dreams of glory!taglines

Eric Liddell

  • You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.
  • I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
  • [to a competitor] Good luck. Don't suppose I'll see you 'til after the race...

Harold M. Abrahams

  • I am a Cambridge man, first and last. I am an Englishman, first and last. What I have achieved – what I intend to achieve – is for my family, my university, and my country.
  • You, Aubrey are my most complete man. You're brave, compassionate, kind: a content man. That is your secret, contentment; I am 24 and I've never known it. I'm forever in pursuit and I don't even know what I am chasing.
  • And now in one hour's time, I will be out there again. I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my existence. But will I?
  • That was the miscalculation of my life.
  • He is a strong man but is unsure about his religion.
  • Aubrey, I've known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.

Lord Andrew Lindsay

  • [about the Prince of Wales] Protocol, Monty, protocol. He is here to show us what may be done, and, more essentially, what may not be.


Sybil Gordon: Why running?
Harold M. Abrahams: Why singing?
Sybil Gordon: My job. [pause] No. No, that's silly. I do it because I love it.
[Harold nods]
Sybil Gordon: You love running?
Harold M. Abrahams: I'm more of an addict.

Harold M. Abrahams: If I can't win, I won't run!
Sybil Gordon: If you won't run, you can't win.

Harold M. Abrahams: [About Eric Liddel] I've never seen such drive, such devotion in a runner. He runs like a wild animal. He unnerves me.
Sam Mussabini: As well he should. He frightens the living daylights out of me. [chuckles]
Harold M. Abrahams: Yes, well, I want you to help me take him on.
Sam Mussabini: [thinks a moment] Tell me, Mr. Abrahams, are you married?
Harold M. Abrahams: No. Why?
Sam Mussabini: Well, when the right woman comes along, how would you feel if she pops the question? [quiet laugh] Ya'see, Mr. Abrahams, like the bridegroom, it's the coach should do the asking.
Harold M. Abrahams: [very serious] Mr. Mussabini...I can run fast. With your help I believe I can run even faster. I want that Olympic medal. Now I can see it there. It's waiting for me. But I can't get it on my own.

Sam Mussabini: Eric Liddell? He's no real problem...
Harold M. Abrahams: You could have fooled me.
[Eric has already beaten Harold once]
Sam Mussabini: Yeah, he's fast! But he won't go any faster; not in the dash, anyway. He's a gut runner, all heart, digs deep! But a short sprint is run on nerves. It's tailor-made for neurotics.
Harold M Abrahams: [deadpan] Thanks very much.

Sam Mussabini: Do you want to know why you lost today?
[Harold nods]
Sam Mussabini: You're over striding. Just a couple of inches.
[Sets coins in a row]
Sam Mussabini: Now these coins represent the steps in your sprint.
[Pushes coin together]
Sam Mussabini: Have you got another two coins, Mr. Abrahams? Well, maybe we can find 'em.
[Harold looks up]
Sam Mussabini: Remember, over striding – death for the sprinter.
[shakes his head]
Sam Mussabini: Slap in the face, each step you take. Knocks you back.
[Slaps Harold across the cheek. Harold winces]
Sam Mussabini: Like that!
[Slaps Harold again]
Sam Mussabini: And that!
[Sam laughs and grabs Harold by the arm]

Sam Mussabini: [to Harold in training] I want you to pretend you're running on hot bricks: if you leave your feet too long on the ground, they'll get burned! Pop, pop, pop! Light, light, light as a feather!

[The athletes are playing cricket in the ballroom of their hotel. Henry Stallard is the umpire; Aubrey Montague bowls a delivery to Eric Liddell, batting]
Henry Stallard: No ball!
Harold M. Abrahams: [desperate to get into bat] Come on, Aubrey, the old leg-break!
[Aubrey bowls another delivery, which deceivingly appears to have gotten Eric out]
Harold M. Abrahams: How zat!
Henry Stallard: Not out!
Harold M. Abrahams: What do you mean, not out? You could have heard it from bloody Bournemouth! Come on, Liddell, my innings.
Eric Liddell: I didn't touch it, I swear; it must've been the crack of my wrist!
Harold M. Abrahams: He's out I tell you, you're all deaf - deaf and bloody blind! Aubrey I ask you, for God's sake!
[No response from Aubrey, dramatic pause]
Harold M. Abrahams: [punching the air] It's not FAIR!
[The athletes break into laughter, Abrahams eventually joining them]

Lord Birkenhead: Ah, Liddell! I was afraid you weren't here.
Eric Liddell: I'm afraid I am, sir.


  • 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 honour.
  • Two men chasing dreams of glory!
  • With Wings on their Heels and Hope in their Hearts.


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