Chariots of Fire
Director: Hugh Hudson
Cast: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson , Nigel Havers , Nicholas Farrell, Daniel Gerroll, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige, John Geilgud , Lindsay Anderson, Nigel Davenport, Ian Holm , Patrick Magee.
Scotland: The beach used for the team training scene was St Andrews (the home of Golf) in Fife
Central England: Shot on location in Cambridge
The 1981 British film 'Chariots of Fire' tells the tale of two British athletes overcoming all odds to prepare for, and compete in, the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. The movie captured the hearts and imagination of the fitness-obsessed generation that was beginning to evolve in the early 1980's. The electronica theme tune by Vangelis topped the pop music charts, being released as it was at the height of the synth-pop era. Such was the effect of this film that it became entrenched in the popular culture of the time.
The theme tune was used in the popular video game (undoubtedly made more popular by the film) Track and Field, released by Konami; even Rugby League star Martin Offiah came to be nicknamed 'Chariots' Offiah.
The all star cast included Ben Cross who played the Jewish Englishman Harold Abrahams , and Ian Charleson who played the Scottish missionary Eric Liddell known as 'The Flying Scotsman'. In addition, the cast includes Nigel Havers and Sir John Gielgud.
The film is loosely based on true events, and tells the struggle of the two men to overcome obstacles caused by their beliefs and the prejudice of others. The film mostly centres on Abrahams, with his struggle to overcome anti-Semitism being a key factor in the film.
The Great Court, Trinity College Cambridge is the scene of the traditional Trinity Great Court run, which Abrahams succeeds at on his arrival at Cambridge in 1919. The aim is to run around the court in the time it takes the clock to strike twelve. The Great Court is just one of the many magnificent buildings in the famous University City of Cambridge. The city is full of beautiful architecture which is linked to the Church, the University or both. Apart from studying, one of the popular pastimes for visitors to Cambridge is taking a punt along the River Cam from which the city gets its name.
Chariots of Fire also has scenes filmed in Scotland, including the breathtakingly beautiful Sma Glen at Crief, near Perth. The filming of the 1926 Highlands of Scotland race took place here. St Andrews Golf Course is also featured and there is now a plaque commemorating the filming there. The location used for the 'Carlton Hotel, Broadstairs, Kent' is actually at St Andrews Golf course and the opening scene on the beach is a few miles north of St Andrews. Edinburgh is also used in the scenes where Eric is hurrying to a religious meeting. This was actually filmed at the Church of Scotland building on The Mound in Edinburgh.
A Picture of Britain