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The 50 Greatest Sports Movies
We rank the very best sports films

Back Page 49 of 50 Next

Chariots Of Fire (1981)

DIRECTOR Hugh Hudson
STARS Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Ian Holm, Nigel Havers

Few films have influenced the way cinema has staged sport like Chariots Of Fire. Yet most flicks have taken the surface stuff — the slow motion, Vangelis heroic score — and left behind the approach. For in dramatising the athletic pursuit of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, Hugh Hudson doesn't stage the races to elicit cheers or punch the air moments. Instead they are designed to capture the efforts, exertions and joys of sport and more importantly to reveal character, be it Abrahams' drive or Liddell's spirit: Abrahams' first defeat at the feet of Liddell is replayed and replayed, a loop of agony in Abrahams head. It is also remarkable to the extent that the actors look like proper athletes — compare this to the shameless use of body doubles in this summer's Fast Girls.
Read Empire's review

Should Chariots Of Fire be higher or lower on the list?

The Stats
Running really fast.
Harold Abrahams (Cross), Eric Liddell (Charleson)
In the 400 metres of a Scotland vs. France contest, Eric Liddell is tripped by the French runner and sent flying off the track. With his competition now at least 20 metres in front of him, Liddell gets up and runs down the entire field, collapsing at finish line.
For Abrahams, it is not over-striding and not looking for his competitors when he reaches the tape. For Liddell, it is putting his head back and "feeling God's pleasure". Both also never shy from a calculated use of slow motion.
Back Page 49 of 50 Next


Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.

Your Comments

1 Underdog film
Dodgeball certainly remains one of the classic underdog films, not just for its inspirational value, but its usual comedy, too. And perhaps some of the others could make this list too: ranker-film Read More

Posted on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 18:51 by Imperion

2 See Also
Karate Kid, The Waterboy, The foot fist way, Hot rod, Caddy Shack, The mighty ducks, coach carter, blades of glory, mean machine, leatherheads, the ringer, nacho libre, kicking and screaming, baseketball, remember the titans, brians song, don king: only in america, cinderella man, million dollar baby, somebody up there likes me, the boxer, knuckle, bend it like beckham, fever pitch, zidane Read More

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 18:42 by bnicholson50

3 RE: What the Hell!?
l largely an excuse for Chaplin to show off his legendary slapstick skills and rubbery physical abilities while poking fun at sports clichés and underdog stories, but it's still more entertaining than most of the films it skewers. ow exactly does Chaplin, in 1915, skewer films that are very very far from being made and poking fun at sports clichés that do not yet exist? Read More

Posted on Wednesday July 25, 2012, 00:42 by Evil_Bob

4 RE: Rocky - third place
BASEketball should totally be in here. Okay it's not a real sport, but it is a sport movie. And it's funny as shit wise a pretty damn solid list. (Rocky 2-4 should be included as well, but maybe that's being a bit greedy...) Read More

Posted on Tuesday July 24, 2012, 13:55 by Whistler

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