Every year when the film awards roll around, arguments ensue over the winner. Critics are ready to voice why the films selected are not worthy. In 1981, the historically inspired Chariots of Fire won multiple awards. It continues to be known for its score and virtue… yet many critics wonder if it was overrated. How do we assess such films that are remarkable for their artistry and message, yet lag in terms of popular appeal? Even more curious: How does a film that positively and overtly features Christian faith become an award winner—not only in Hollywood, but also overseas?
In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss Chariots of Fire, a film on the Never Seen list for them both. Erin was familiar with the film due to her background in running, while Hannah knew of it from the faith community angle. Both were surprised by its gentle, quiet retelling of two amazingly talented runners vying for Olympic Gold in 1924. Eric Liddell is a Christian whose faith frames his quest as part of his life goal of serving God. Harold Abrahams is Jewish, driven to prove his worth through his running feats. Through drastically different approaches to running and life, these two men both earn gold (Eric in the 400M, Harold in the 100M). But the film is about much more than their racing. Instead, it focuses on the inner worlds of two men who seek to live lives of meaning. Discussion covers the unexpected nature of a film about competition and faith, as well as the underlying messages about how we go about our life’s work. How did Chariots of Fire win over the critics to receive such acclaim? What lessons can we learn from these two men? Is this a movie that can be watched without snacks? Listen in for dialogue on issues like these, and continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.
Persuasion 169 Resources & Links
Chariots of Fire (1981)
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