Beyond the fact that Americans Charles Paddock and Jackson Scholz are favored in the event, the much anticipated head to head between Harold and Eric may be further shadowed by other issues, especially as it affects Eric's Christian beliefs.
Sign In. Edit Chariots of Fire Jump to: Summaries 2 Synopsis 1. Head Waiter-Savoy Stephen Mallatratt Watson Colin Bruce Taylor Alan Polonsky Paxton Edward Wiley Fitch Philip O'Brien American Coach Ralph Lawton Harbour Master John Rutland Caius Porter Alan Dudley Caius Manservant Tommy Boyle Reporter Kim Clifford Sybil's Maid Wallace Campbell Highland Provost Patrick Doyle Jimmie as Pat Doyle David John Ernest Liddell Tess Dignan Schoolgirl as Teresa Dignan Ruby Wax Bunty Michael Jeyes Footman David Kivlin First Scots Boy Eddie Hughson This was based on fact; the actual race was the yards at a Triangular Contest meet between Scotland, England, and Ireland at Stoke-on-Trent in England in July His achievement was remarkable as he had already won the and yard events that day.
The film, however, suggests that Abrahams himself sought Mussabini's assistance. Abrahams and Liddell did race against each other once, but not quite as depicted in the film, which shows Liddell winning the final of the yards against a shattered Abrahams at the AAA Championship at Stamford Bridge. In fact, they raced only in a heat of the yards, which Liddell won, five yards ahead of Abrahams, who did not progress to the final. In the yards, Abrahams was eliminated in the heats and never raced against Liddell, who won the finals of both races the next day.
Liddell's sister was several years younger than she was portrayed in the film. Her disapproval of Liddell's track career was creative licence; she actually fully supported his sporting work.
Jenny Liddell Somerville cooperated fully with the making of the film and has a brief cameo in the Paris Church of Scotland during Liddell's sermon. At the memorial service for Harold Abrahams, which opens the film, Lord Lindsay mentions that he and Aubrey Montague are the only members of the Olympic team still alive.
However, Montague died in , 30 years before Abrahams' death. The film takes some liberties with the events at the Olympics, including the events surrounding Liddell's refusal to race on a Sunday. In the film, he doesn't learn that the metre heat is to be held on the Christian Sabbath until he is boarding the boat to Paris. In fact, the schedule was made public several months in advance; Liddell did however face immense pressure to run on that Sunday and to compete in the metres, getting called before a grilling by the British Olympic Committee, the Prince of Wales, and other grandees ,  and his refusal to run made headlines around the world.
The decision to change races was, even so, made well before embarking to Paris, and Liddell spent the intervening months training for the metres, an event in which he had previously excelled.
It is true, nonetheless, that Liddell's success in the Olympic m was largely unexpected. The film depicts Lindsay, having already won a medal in the metre hurdles, giving up his place in the metre race for Liddell.
In fact Burghley , on whom Lindsay is loosely based, was eliminated in the heats of the hurdles he would go on to win a gold medal in the hurdles at the Olympics , and was not entered for the metres. The film reverses the order of Abrahams' m and m races at the Olympics. In reality, after winning the metres race, Abrahams ran the metres but finished last, Jackson Scholz taking the gold medal.
In the film, before his triumph in the m, Abrahams is shown losing the m and being scolded by Mussabini. And during the following scene in which Abrahams speaks with his friend Montague while receiving a massage from Mussabini, there is a French newspaper clipping showing Scholz and Charley Paddock with a headline which states that the metres was a triumph for the United States.
In the same conversation, Abrahams laments getting "beaten out of sight" in the The film thus has Abrahams overcoming the disappointment of losing the by going on to win the , a reversal of the real order.
Eric Liddell actually also ran in the m race, and finished third, behind Paddock and Scholz. This was the only time in reality that Liddell and Abrahams competed in the same race. While their meeting in the AAA Championship in the film was fictitious, Liddell's record win in that race did spur Abrahams to train even harder.
Abrahams also won a silver medal as an opening runner for the 4 x metres relay team, not shown in the film, and Aubrey Montague placed sixth in the steeplechase , as depicted.
In the film, the m bronze medallist is a character called "Tom Watson"; the real medallist was Arthur Porritt of New Zealand, who refused permission for his name to be used in the film, allegedly out of modesty, and his wish was accepted by the film's producers, even though his permission was not necessary. With the exception of Porritt, all the runners in the m final are identified correctly when they line up for inspection by the Prince of Wales.
Jackson Scholz is depicted as handing Liddell an inspirational Bible-quotation message before the metres final: "It says in the Old Book, 'He that honors me, I will honor. Producer David Puttnam was looking for a story in the mold of A Man for All Seasons , regarding someone who follows his conscience, and felt sports provided clear situations in this sense.
Screenwriter Colin Welland , commissioned by Puttnam, did an enormous amount of research for his Academy Award -winning script.
Among other things, he took out advertisements in London newspapers seeking memories of the Olympics, went to the National Film Archives for pictures and footage of the Olympics, and interviewed everyone involved who was still alive.
Welland just missed Abrahams, who died 14 January , but he did attend Abrahams' February memorial service, which inspired the present-day framing device of the film.
Except for changes in the greetings of the letters from "Darling Mummy" to "Dear Mum" and the change from Oxford to Cambridge, all of the readings from Montague's letters are from the originals. Welland's original script also featured, in addition to Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, a third protagonist, Olympic gold medallist Douglas Lowe , who was presented as a privileged aristocratic athlete. However, Lowe refused to have anything to do with the film, and his character was written out and replaced by the fictional character of Lord Andrew Lindsay.
Initial financing towards development costs was provided by Goldcrest Films , who then sold the project to Allied, but kept a percentage of the profits. Ian Charleson wrote Eric Liddell's speech to the post-race workingmen's crowd at the Scotland v. Ireland races. Charleson, who had studied the Bible intensively in preparation for the role, told director Hugh Hudson that he didn't feel the portentous and sanctimonious scripted speech was either authentic or inspiring.
Hudson and Welland allowed him to write words he personally found inspirational instead. The film was slightly altered for the U. A brief scene depicting a pre-Olympics cricket game between Abrahams, Liddell, Montague, and the rest of the British track team appears shortly after the beginning of the original film.
For the American audience, this brief scene was deleted. In the U. Puttnam chose Hugh Hudson , a multiple award-winning advertising and documentary filmmaker who had never helmed a feature film, to direct Chariots of Fire. Hudson and Puttnam had known each other since the s, when Puttnam was an advertising executive and Hudson was making films for ad agencies. In , Hudson had also been second-unit director on the Puttnam-produced film Midnight Express.
Director Hugh Hudson was determined to cast young, unknown actors in all the major roles of the film, and to back them up by using veterans like John Gielgud , Lindsay Anderson , and Ian Holm as their supporting cast. Hudson and producer David Puttnam did months of fruitless searching for the perfect actor to play Eric Liddell. They then saw Scottish stage actor Ian Charleson performing the role of Pierre in the Royal Shakespeare Company 's production of Piaf , and knew immediately they had found their man.
Unbeknownst to them, Charleson had heard about the film from his father, and desperately wanted to play the part, feeling it would "fit like a kid glove". In addition to having a natural pugnaciousness, he had the desired ability to sing and play the piano.
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As the film ends, onscreen text explains that Abrahams married Sybil and became the elder statesman of Chariots Of Fire (Brasco Remix Extended) athletics. While their meeting in the AAA Championship in the film was fictitious, Liddell's record win in that race did spur Abrahams to train even harder. However, Montague died in30 years before Abrahams' death. Except for changes in the greetings of the letters from "Darling Mummy" to "Dear Mum" and the change from Oxford to Cambridge, all of the readings from Montague's letters are from the originals. Share this page:. Where Did They Film That? Clear your history. Vangelis finally convinced Hudson he could create a new and better piece for Chariots Of Fire (Brasco Remix Extended) film's main theme — and when he played the now-iconic "Chariots of Fire" theme for Hudson, it was agreed the new tune was unquestionably better. It's the post-World War I era.
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