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Chariots of Fire [VHS]
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Product Description

The come-from-behind winner of the 1981 Oscar for bestpicture, Chariots of Fire either strikes you as either a cold exercise in mechanical manipulation or as a tale of true determination and inspiration. The heroes are an unlikely pair of young athletes who ran for Great Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics: devout Protestant Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a divinity student whose running makes him feel closer to God, and Jewish Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a highly competitive Cambridge student who has to surmount the institutional hurdles of class prejudice and anti-Semitism. There's delicious support from Ian Holm (as Abrahams's coach) and John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson as a couple of Cambridge fogies. Vangelis's soaring synthesized score, which seemed to be everywhere in the early 1980s, also won an Oscar. Chariots of Fire was the debut film of British television commercial director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke) and was produced by David Puttnam. --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • still has not arrived
    I can't review - product still has not arrived - I would recommend dealers who do not use USPS but UPS instead - or DHL is better....more info
  • science student
    This is one of my favorite films. However, several reviewers make an understandible mistake. Eric Liddell was a science student, not a divinity student in university. He subsequently taught science in the Anglo-Chinese school in Tianjin in a building which now houses an amazing open(TSPM)church. Devotion to God is not in opposition to science....more info
  • Wide-Screen Finally!
    Before this wide-screen edition of CHARIOTS OF FIRE was released, I was extremely reluctant to recommend buying this DVD. Now that it is out, and that the sound has been made crisper, there is nothing that should prevent anyone from buying this product.

    We all know the story. It's one of those films that no one can seem to find a middle ground on. Either you love it or it bores you. For me, CHARIOTS OF FIRE is one of those great films that stays with you for years. I had seen it when it was first released in theaters way back when. Upon viewing it again, after 25 years, I felt as if I'd remembered every scene, as if it were yesterday. And in an era that was just beginning to see films dominated by computerized effects, director Hugh Hudson pulled out the unexpected: an upbeat story, with a cast of mostly no-names (Gielgud and Holm, excepted), that features real characters.

    Director Hudson's commentary is insightful without patting himself on the back. The Easter eggs are cute. And the Making of Chariots of Fire was a nice gimme. Like I said, there is nothing that should prevent anyone who loves this film from buying it NOW!...more info
  • Splendid and Troubling
    Chariot's is one of my favorite movies. The character presentations are very good. Eric is one of the most likable people on the screen. He manages to make sanctity attractive. Honor is easily made attractive in movies and has been done hundreds of times. But sanctity is easily confused with sanctimoniousness. Moreover even when one sees it it is frightening in some ways. But Eric is not merely a good person. You really can feel God in him even in a movie. And yet he does not seem forbidding. He seems like someone you can talk to. He does not, even unintentionally talk down to people, and his sermons are splendid examples of the rhetorical art.
    Abrahams is the troubling one. Some reviewer said that many Jews were annoyed by the characterization of Abrahams. Harold is intense, determined and perpetually angry except in those few momments when he softens. He has a ruthless determination. He is also perpetually suspicious and can't quite bring himself to return friendship. Every time I watch the movie I think "pity the poor Arabs!" You can pity him, and respect him, but you can't like him. But that is not the troubling part. For Harold in the movie, reminds one of something C.S. Lewis once said. If you do wrong to someone, the wrong doesn't merely consist of what was taken from him by the act itself, but the fact that one has momentarily taken the position of Satan and done harm to his soul. You have not merely hurt him, you have taught him to hate. The boys at Cambridge are actually very friendly. But they weren't what made Harold like that. It was the boys in earlier schools where the natural cruelty of boys toward any who is different was tolerated. The best expression of this thought is the scene where he swears to "run them off their feet" to the background of He is An Englishman. Harold was indeed an Englishman but England had forgotten what that meant in his case.
    Another scene which few have noticed was the scene of the Prince of Wales urging Eric to put Country before God. What is not noticed is that he was Edward the VIII-the same one who later became involved with fascist politics(to be fair it was probably mostly shallow celebrity-foolishness then anything else). Mr Patriotism indeed! Which shows that if you exagerrate a normal and healthy loyalty out of place, that loyalty can itself become corrupted. The Prince demanded loyalty to country in the place of God-and in the end failed to be loyal to country.
    For the rest the show was a splendid display of an idealization. That is not a denigration but a praise. The fact that aspirations are impossible does not mean that one should not aspire to them. Chariots shows the spirit of friendship between young men. This is shown when Lindsey joins Harold on the dash, "I run beside my friend", to support him.
    The movie also shows the kind of patriotism that depends on a love of ones country and has nothing to do with hatred of others. The "cosmopolitanism" of the games as shown is the celebration of each nation and the pleasure taken in it by others-the joy of all in the love each has for what is their own. It is not "multiculturalism" in the modern sense, for to often that appears forced or depends on rivalry-is simply another form of "nationalism" in it's worse connotations. While the Olympics are by definition competitive, they are(as pictured) not competitive in the sense of requiring animosity. It is a picture of men and nations sharing friendship by their competition a paradox which many find hard to understand.
    Chariots is a fine and splendid movie. It is not an action movie. It is far more.

    Jason Taylor(son of John Taylor)...more info
  • A gift
    I purchased for my husband, I wasn't able to find anywhere else. I placed my order very close to christ-mas yet IT came right on time,THANK U
    My husband was well pleased....more info
  • Games like they were...
    One of the things that will strike you after you see this classic is how honest and wholesome the races feel. It is not hard to fathom this - there are no ads to be seen anywhere! In the stadia, you see only athletes competing minus all the promotional paraphernalia and gaudy uniforms. And yes, drug abuse is unheard of. This is a wonderful story that will take you back to the days when games were played for their own sake and to fulfil an inner urge - and definitely not for money.

    The music - ah! Vangelis knows how to capture the spirit of the story. The title track is well known (only downside is it is almost impossible to get it out of your head!) but be sure to pay attention to the rest of the score which is just as good.

    This movie is truly one for the ages for any sports fan or for anyone who loves drama....more info
  • What belief can do
    This is one of my favorite movies!

    Great acting, wonderful settings, very realistic.

    A story about people who are driven by their desire to find fulfillment in giving it their very best at whatever they do.

    The story I find very inspiring; Eric Liddle is my hero, the kindest of persons, he is truly devoted to the people, and shares his kindness with them. There is such beauty in seing him run, in honor of God.

    The way friendship and support of loved ones, along with respect for others, are shown in this masterpiece, is very touching.

    Truly a classic for years to come....more info
  • Believe us...
    Please believe us that this DVD advertised as "widescreen" is indeed just the full screen with the top and bottom cut off to make it look widescreen. Very false advertising. The movie is, of course, one of the best ever made - especially about sport. This version, however, is not satisfactory!...more info
  • dvd purchase
    It was a great product, and timely arrival. Price was good as well. I would recommend them....more info
  • Inspiring and uplifting!
    This movie may leave you puzzled right at first but stick with it. It is so inspiring and uplifting that it will make you want to be a better person. ...more info
  • almost as exciting as watching golf on tv
    ok, i have an admission to make: i have always said this is one of the most boring movies ever made, but i never actually saw it til now. not that i didnt pay my way into the theater because i did. but i fell asleep after 20 minutes or so and never actually SAW the movie. now i have. worse movies have won the oscar: "gandhi", "kramer vs kramer", "the english patient", maybe a few more. but i dont think theres ever been a duller movie. that said, i gave it 2 stars instead of one to honor the all-too-brief shots of dennis christopher who was dreamycreamy back then, but is only on screen about 5 minutes. frankly, i found the two "heroes" to be a pair of self-centered religious zealots, and prigs to boot. and god, i loathe that vangelis music that played constantly for the decade after the movies release. my gawd, this thing beat "reds" for a best picture oscar?!?!? maybe i shall go back and take away the second star ......more info
  • DVD- Chariots of Fire
    Fantastic movie with a great moral lesson. RPoduct received very timely. Highly recommend this seller....more info
  • One of the all-time greats
    This is simply an amazing movie, inspiring in a way that few are. I am fascinated by Mr. Liddel, and my only disappointment was that the movie portrayed his lovely sister in an entirely unrealistic light. She did in fact support her brother's running wholeheartedly and was one of his biggest fans. I suppose the screenwriter felt the need to add a little additional tension to a remarkable life.

    To me, Chariots of Fire captures all that is right with athletics. The spirit of the amateur gentleman athlete has slipped away to a large degree, but it can still be found in the endless hours logged by athletes in non-professional sports. It's easy to slip into the trite "good-old-days" mentality, but when it comes to athletics, something truly has been lost. Chariots of Fire captures the amazing spirit of camaraderie and selflessness that pervaded the British Olympic team in the early 20th Century. Truly a fantastic movie....more info
  • Chariots of Fire
    What an amazing film! This is the story of a real olympics and the participants who represented Great Britain in track. The main characters are really well developed and include Abraham who is attending Cambridge University and besides being a stellar student of law has been graced with the ability to sprint. He is Hebrew in a Christian world son to a financier. He enrolls a coach named Mr. Masanbini who admits he can't put in what god left out but none the less agrees to train the young Ben.

    The second major character is Eric Liddell of Scotland he grew up in China as the son of a missonary. He is Christian through and through but besides that he runs like the wind. Despite a calling to take up the missionary he decides to participate in the Olympics for England and Scotland.

    This movie is epic it has little comparisons in my mind and is something that makes me shiver. It is inspiring and I can remember watching it hundreds of times over the years. The movie is complemented by an amazing soundtrack by Vangelis who also did Bladerunner. This movie describes a period when England and the world were in the shadow of what may have been the most horrific war man has ever seen and from this shadow a few of Englands brightest young men shone inspiring not only their nation but the world. Really this is a must have!

    ...more info
  • Chariots of Fire
    Bought this for my 17 year old grandson. Not sure if he has reviewed the DVD yet, but it appears he is satisfied with the product, since I have not heard different....more info
  • Be Warned: This DVD is NOT a true wide-screen!
    My God. They created this wide-screen version of "Chariots of Fire, Two Disk Special Edition" by chopping off the top and bottom (or just the bottom) of the old full-screen version of the same title. In other words, the old full-screen version has more screen to watch.

    I don't think they even bothered to remaster this from the original tape, because the old full screen version is actually sharper on my monitor screen than this wide screen version if I watch them side by side. So, I'm giving one star for this their shady business, even though I believe that the film itself is one of the best films ever made. Let's hope that they will do it right for Blu-ray version, assuming that someone will publish a Blue-ray version....more info
  • Finally, A DVD That Gives This Movie Justice
    I had never seen this movie until the fall of 1997 and after watching 40 minutes wondered, "What's the big deal?" Well, the second half of the film and then subsequent viewings have done more than just answer my question.

    It's one of the RARE movies in the past 30 years which portrays a Christian in a positive light. Ian Charleson does a convincing job of portraying a 100 percent sincerely good man who walks the talk.
    In here is also a good portrayal of a Jewish man, a student at Cambridge, acted well by Ben Cross. This man is too defensive about being Jewish and carries a chip on his shoulder until the end where he comes out a hero and a fine man as well, the bitterness gone.

    The story of those two men and their quest for a gold medal at the 1924 Olympics in France makes for an inspiring film. It's also aided by very nice photography and a wonderful score by Vangelis. A recently-issued widescreen DVD finally shows off the award-winning cinematography. The feel- good ending doesn't hurt, either, especially since these main characters were real-life people.

    Her extraordinary beauty made Alice Krige an interesting person to watch in the film, and I wonder why she never made it as a "big-name" actress. Perhaps that was her decision.

    In summary, a very classy film, that still lives up to its reputation and this two-disc special edition DVD is very satisfying....more info