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Film Analysis of “Chariots of Fire” Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021

Introduction

“Chariots of Fire” is a marvelous movie that explores many of the contemporary realities at the time of release. This paper presents the historical accuracy in the presentation of the film and evaluates on how it connects the two different periods revolving around a true historical incidence.

Main Body

The film ‘Chariots of Fire’ is one of the greatest ten films in the history of mankind released in 1981. It was directed by Hugh Hudson and written by Colin Welland. The main theme of the film is the true story of two athletes who contested in the Olympics of 1924. They were Harold Abrahams who ran to change the prejudice being son of a migrant Jew, and Eric Liddell who ran for the glory of God and his father was Scottish missionary worked in China. The film got four Oscars and Academic award for the best picture. It is a beautiful film that describes the relation between two periods. It highlights many of the contemporary facts prevailed at the time of release of the movie. At the same time, it includes some of the scenes which are fabricated with a vision of giving admiration to the actor and to make the audience more exhilarated. Even though the film is revolved around a plot which is rooted in the history, half of the story is fabricated. Some of the important perspectives about this movie are given in the ensuing paragraphs.

The film maker gave emphasis on the period in which it was released tracing to a plot of two true athletes in the Olympics of 1924. It was a period cherishing the ideal of ‘amateurism’ in Britain. It was the need of the time to be a trained and skilled professional in sports. Britain had to meet the trained professionals of America in the contest. Abrahams broke the traditional preservations and received help from a professional. “When the story reaches the Olympics, we see the gentlemen-amateurs of Britain meeting the more professionally-trained Americans; though the playing field is still fairly even, there’s a sense that the British ideal is steadily being washed away in the pursuit of the Olympic goals: faster, higher, stronger.” (Ordway, The Movie, para.6). This film clearly sounds on the contest between two athletes Abrahams and Liddell. The contest is between two ideological perspectives since Abrahams is trained under a professional and Liddell is a representation of ‘amateur’ training. This film brings light on the realties in the period of 1980s.

The film unfolds a number of contemporary realities of the period of its release. It tells about athletes, British aristocracy, anti-Semitism, religion and nationalism taking a plot of a real incident occurred in the history. The old true story reflects numerous inappropriate realities in the community. “Puttnam has already demonstrated his skill at … producing films which strike a neglected chord in the public imagination. The chord being plucked is the reassurance of traditional values at a time of national crisis, the comforting sense that inner strength will win through.” (Carter, Britain, para.5). Other than pointing many of the unsuitable prejudices in the society, it unravels the values of sportsmanship, dedication and commitment to the ideals and personal inspiration that are exemplary to all persons necessary to achieve anything in life.

But, when we leave the film for the critical reflection, we realize that half of the story of the film is fabricated to give admiration to the actor and to take the audience in hand through dramatic narration. Here lies a question following like “who would identify with someone who smoked and drank up until the hour of the big race and had no idea he would win?” (Carter, The Film, para.4). Anti-Semitism is a perspective understated in the film through Abrahams. Abrahams was the son of a Jew and this made Abrahams to pound over the prejudice of the society over him. The film depicts the fact in an outstanding way and it manages to give the same thought prevailed in the society when the film was released. Celebration of sportsmanship is another perspective in the film. Abrahams and Liddell, none of them run for money or glory of themselves but for ‘sport’. They value sports above anything. Therefore, it was a thought that emphasized to regain the lost value of sportsmanship. Today, many of the athletes are after money and popularity. So, the movie will be an ‘index’ of all time. British aristocracy is also one of the features pointed in the film. Liddell is more conservative and he disregarded official announcement on the contest that would be on Sunday. Since he is a zealous, religious, and son of a missionary, he ignored the contest and finally he got an opportunity for 400 meter race. He ran with a noted quotation from the Bible following as “Those who honor me, I also honor” and marked a record in the race. “Liddell is faced with problems of faith when his beliefs come into conflict with his running, and Abrahams has to deal with anti-Semitism and an overdeveloped fear of losing. Both men overcome their respective obstacles and come out winners.” (Vukcevic, para.8).

Conclusion

“Chariots of Fire” is one of the best films that human history has ever seen. It takes the plot of story from the history and presents in relation to the contemporary facts. The writer emphasizes on the historical accuracy and inaccuracy in the film and he thinks that half of the story of the movie is fabricated for may causes.

Works Cited

Carter, Ed. “Chariots of Fire Traditional Values/False History: Britain”. Jump Cut 28(2005): 14-17. Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media. Web.

Ordway, Holly E. Chariots of Fire: Special Edition: The Movie. DVD Talk. 2005. Web.

Vukcevic, Filip. Chariots of Fire: The 1981 Best Picture Winner gets a very nice DVD Treatment. Ign DVD.com. 2005. Web.

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"Film Analysis of "Chariots of Fire"." IvyPanda, 25 Nov. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/film-analysis-of-chariots-of-fire/.

1. IvyPanda. "Film Analysis of "Chariots of Fire"." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-analysis-of-chariots-of-fire/.


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IvyPanda. "Film Analysis of "Chariots of Fire"." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-analysis-of-chariots-of-fire/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Film Analysis of "Chariots of Fire"." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-analysis-of-chariots-of-fire/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Film Analysis of "Chariots of Fire"'. 25 November.

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