Chariots of Fire
The evening of the 1981 Oscars, was one of the proudest nights of my life; it was the night that a film my son Dodi had had the foresight to back, won four Oscars, including Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. That film was Chariots of Fire. And it would never have been made if it hadn’t been for Dodi, its executive producer.
When Dodi first came across the script, it had been collecting dust on a shelf somewhere, because no-one else wanted to invest in it. But Dodi was a filmmaker of real vision, and when he showed me the script I knew it was something special.
Chariots was unlike any other film being made at the time; a story of loyalty, determination and standing up for what you believe in; refusing to be knocked down when everyone around you wants you to fall. These were principles Dodi and I shared; principles I have lived my life by. There was no question, we wanted this story to come to life in film, and put the money forward so it could be made.
David Puttnam, now Lord Puttnam, did a fantastic job producing Chariots of Fire, and in his Oscar acceptance speech, he thanked Dodi and I for “putting [our] money where [his] mouth was”. It was money well spent. It was a privilege to be able share with the world this story of two athletes devoted to their faith, and it was an honour to be recognised for it at the Oscars. We made some good friends on set at Chariots – friends I am still in touch with today.
I am delighted to learn that in the year London is hosting the Olympics, Chariots of Fire is being digitally remastered in order to be shown, once more, on the big screen. I hope you will take the time to go to see it in its full glory; if you do, you will be in for a treat; and through this incredible true story you will see that with courage and character you can overcome anything.
About Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire tells the story of two athletes - a sincere Christian man called Eric Liddell, and a Jewish man called Harold Abrahams. At the Paris Olympics in the 1920s, Liddell refused to run on a Sunday because of his faith; he did not bow to pressure, stuck to his principles and sacrificed winning the gold medal. He entered in a different race on another day and triumphed. Abrahams suffered from the snobbery and racism that was so common at that time, but he too triumphed, winning the 100 metres in superb style and in a record time. Twentieth Century Fox is bringing a new digitally re-mastered version of the film to over 100 cinema screens nationwide this year thanks to BFI funding. Read More>>
The day after the premiere of the digitally remastered print of Chariots of Fire, Michael Cole, the Director of Public Affairs at the Harrods from 1988/98, sent this letter to The Times in response to a film review by Kate Muir. read>>