A first class movie for anyone that loves a winner that strives by the sweat of his brow, and all the adrenalin he can muster, in order to win the International Olympic Gold Medal. This film stars Ian Charleson and Ben Cross as two long distance runners struggling to compete in early 20th century Great Britain.

Fueled by disparate desires, Eric Liddell (played by Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (played by Ben Cross) compete in arduous training to bring Olympic fame to Great Britain.

Liddell is a man of strong Christian faith and feels God has given him a gift, of being very fast. He runs “like a mad man” as one of the spectators describes him in the movie. Liddell yearns to have victory for God first, and then for Great Britain.

On the other hand, Harold Abrahams views winning as a repudiation of the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. As a student at Cambridge, he contends by using a professional trainer outside of the school’s athletic department. This causes a row within the school, but he prevails by making his point to the president of the school: “You want what I want and that is to win, and that takes a professional trainer, not an amateur.”

Both men train by running after cars, through the beautiful english country side, through the water on the beach, in both rain and sunny skies alike. Each struggle with extreme workouts to build and tone their bodies to be the best. In the interim, both men must sacrifice their private lives to completely devote their time to training in order to get that extra few seconds of speed over each other, and every other rival.

In the movie Harold Abrahams falls in love with a popular actress and singer that doesn’t understand his obsession with always winning every race. It is interesting to watch, however, as later she decides to wait for him as he trains for the Olympics, even if it means that he will be leaving her for a long extended period.

Eric Liddell works feverishly at both his missionary cause and his running, until he decides to let his fellow lady missionary and love, take over their mission, that is, at least until he wins at the Olympics for God.

The story shows a great deal of how the English culture, filled with pomp and circumstance brought down from many generations of tradition and royalty, affects both men. Even the Prince of Wales, the future King of England, gets involved with Eric Liddell in a politically sensitive matter. Thankfully help arrives, but from a totally unexpected source.

This is a riveting tale based on a true story.

Chariots of Fire won the 1981 Oscar Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and is rated PG.